There is always something to do in a city as exciting as San Francisco, but just in case you need some inspiration, here is a list of 10 fun things to do in SF.
10 Fun Things to Do in San Francisco
#1: Eat at the Ferry Building Marketplace
The San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace is where local merchants (farmers, cheese makers, and producers of other food products) come together alongside restaurants and cafes. If you want to learn more about the incredible produce, meats, cheeses, breads, wine, and other products created in Northern California, this is the place to go!
What is there to do when you visit? Get a coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee, learn about California’s award-winning cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery, grab a pastry from Dandelion Chocolate, and browse the books at Book Passage. If you feel like eating lunch, try one of the many restaurants: there are cafes and restaurants specializing in oysters, Mexican cuisine, Japanese cuisine, Argentine empanadas, donuts, and more. The marketplace also has ceramics shops, wine retailers, fishmongers, butchers, and stores selling honey, olive oil . . . the list goes on! And the location is incredible: the market is located inside the Ferry Building, which was the first place people arrived when they came to San Francisco (the only way to arrive to the island at that time was by boat!). The clock tower of the building is a famous landmark that you might see in many old photos of SF.
#2: Explore Golden Gate Park
There is so much to see and do at Golden Gate Park that it needed an article of its own, which is why we wrote the article 10 Activities While Visiting Golden Gate Park. Go explore the lakes, museums, gardens, and more that are offered in this stunning and peaceful location.
#3: Ride a Cable Car
If you come to San Francisco and don’t ride a cable car, have you really experienced San Francisco? The cable car isn’t just a great opportunity for an Instagram-worthy photo: it’s actually a real method of transportation in the city! A ride will get you around Downtown, Chinatown, Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, North Beach, Russian Hill, and more. Visit the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency (SFMTA) website about cable cars for routes and information.
#4: Hike in Muir Woods
It is hard to believe that beautiful Muir Woods is so close to the bustling city of San Francisco. This serene and beautiful location is an escape from urban life, and a great way to exercise. Read our article Tips for Visiting Muir Woods for more information on how to get there and what to do and see. Bring your hiking shoes!
#5: See vibrant Mission District
The Mission District is home to San Francisco’s oldest building, the Mission San Francisco de Asis. The church is an important part of California history, and it is also the reason this neighborhood is named the “Mission District.”
The neighborhood may have the oldest building and one of the oldest churches in California, but the rest of the Mission District is trendy, vibrant, and young. The Latino and Latina families that have resided in the Mission District for decades have created a neighborhood filled with colorful murals, delicious Mexican restaurants, and an exciting art scene. While visiting, try the Mission burrito, which was created in this neighborhood. It is delicious!
#6: Enjoy the view from Twin Peaks
You haven’t seen San Francisco until you’ve seen it from Twin Peaks! The view from the top of these mountains is stunning and the perfect place to take a photo of the sunset. Read our article Best Parks in San Francisco for information on how to visit Twin Peaks (and some tips, like what to wear).
#7: Relax on Baker Beach
San Francisco is often connected to shopping, commerce, and culture, but there are also beaches . . . and they are beautiful! Baker Beach is a great location to spend the day with friends. Read our Guide to San Francisco’s Beaches for some tips on visiting Baker Beach.
#8: Shop in Union Square
Union Square is the heart of Downtown San Francisco. Here, you can find many designer stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks, Tiffany & Co, Barney’s New York, and Bloomingdale’s. The square also hosts many events and has many restaurants and cafes. It’s a great place to people-watch! Visit the Union Square website for more information on shops, restaurants, and events.
#9: Visit Alcatraz
Visiting Alcatraz is a “must” for anyone who spends time in the Bay Area! The island is a piece of San Francisco history, and visiting Alcatraz provides a great view of San Francisco from the water. Read our Guide to Visit Alcatraz for some tips about how to buy tickets and where to take the Alcatraz ferry. You will also learn some great idioms related to jail.
#10: See a Giants game at AT&T Park
Go Giants! There is nothing more American than baseball, and there is no park more beautiful than the new park where the Giants play! Ask IEC@DVC if there are plans to attend a game: students usually have access to discounted tickets! Before you go, read our articles about Baseball Idioms and Baseball Vocabulary.