10 Iconic San Francisco Destinations


When it comes to visiting iconic destinations within San Francisco, the list can get rather long. We’ve narrowed down the list to ten places you must visit in The City.

Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Lands End

The Golden Gate Bridge is single-handedly the most iconic attraction in San Francisco. On par with the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome, The Golden Gate Bridge is known all around the world and it is an absolute must visit. You can drive across, walk across, or both but don’t miss a visit to the bridge during your trip.

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Alcatraz Island and the prison that is perched upon it are also San Francisco legends. A trip to the island includes a wonderfully curated guided audio tour. Reservations for the tour book up weeks in advance so make sure to plan ahead and reserve your tickets prior to your trip.

Cable Car

San Francisco’s cable cars aren’t only for tourists. They are a fantastic way to get around the hilly city and many residents use them to traverse the city. You can catch a ride from one of the cable car turnarounds but if you want to avoid the long lines, walk up a few blocks and catch them at the many stops they make along their route.

Located along Alamo Square Park are the famous Painted Ladies, Victorian homes. Featured in numerous movies and television shows they are probably most recognized from the opening credits of the television show, Full House. Tour buses are not allowed to drive in this neighborhood so if you want to see them you will have to drive yourself or take public transportation.
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Haight/Ashbury is probably most synonymous with The Summer of Love. The summer of 1967 when young people let go of their inhibitions and started what would become a social movement that is still present in many aspects of society today. The free spirited nature of the neighborhood is still alive and well and is reflected in the eclectic shops and restaurants that line the streets.

Ghiradelli Interior

Ghiradelli Square was once the headquarters of the Ghiradelli Chocolate Company. Converted into retail shops and restaurants in the 1960s, it’s now a great place for an ice cream sundae and a stroll through history.

Lombard Street is touted at the crookedest street in the world. While this isn’t exactly true, Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill neighborhood is actually more crooked, Lombard Street, between Hyde and Leavonworth is still worth the visit. It’s paved with beautiful red bricks and comes alive with gorgeous hydrangeas in full bloom in the summer.

Union Square

Considered the shopping mecca of San Francisco, Union Square and the surrounding area is the place in town to indulge in some retail therapy. Clothing, toys, shoes, house wares, you name it, you can find it here. Named for the rallies held here in support of the Union Army during the American Civil War, the square itself is now a nice place to grab a coffee and relax after a long day of shopping.

Transamerica Pyramid

While not exactly a place you can visit, The Transamerica Pyramid is definitely the most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. A visitors center and gift shop is located at the plaza level at 600 Montgomery Street but otherwise the building is only accessible to tenants.

Reaching skyward atop Telegraph Hill is Coit Tower. Commissioned as a memorial to Lillie Hitchcock Coit and paid for by her estate, the tower commands the skyline due east of the North Beach neighborhood. A trip to the top provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city and San Francisco bay.

Coit Tower

There are many more attractions, neighborhoods, and vistas to visit during a trip to the city. During our trip we used the San Francisco CityPASS to ride the iconic cable cars and for entrance to several attractions not included on this list. You can check out that story here.

For more information on planning your own Iconic San Francisco Road Trip, consult SanFrancisco.travel, or check out some of the coolest hotels in San Francisco to go along with your cool destinations.

Ashley JorgensenAshley Jorgenson is a part-time interior designer and full time mom who enjoys writing about travel. A native Californian, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children. For more from Ashley, visit her blog at www.SeeAsh.com.

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