What to see in San Francisco? A California jewel

12 Dec 14:44

San Francisco, with its whimsical character, is a city full of places to visit and offers the opportunity to participate in unique and interesting activities. This article will tell you more about this well-known Californian city and the must-see attractions if you’ve decided to visit it on your next trip. Do you want to know what must-see attractions in San Francisco? Continue reading to learn about all of our suggestions.

San Francisco: climate, location and when to go

The climate

San Francisco is the most populous city in the homonymous bay, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and has a population of approximately 7 million people. San Francisco Bay provides the city with an almost Mediterranean climate, with four distinct seasons. Despite the frequent rains, temperatures remain mild in winter, which tend to decrease with the arrival of spring.

The summer, however, is the best time to visit the city. Temperatures rise during this period, rarely exceeding a maximum of 28 degrees, and the climate becomes drier. The light morning fog that characterises summer days is undoubtedly one of San Francisco’s peculiarities.

Consider the temperature range when packing your suitcase: in the summer, temperatures can drop dramatically at night and early in the morning.

Where is San Francisco located ?

Perhaps not everyone is aware that the city is built on a series of hills. In fact, San Francisco rises between 50 hills, which give rise to many of the city’s districts. Because of its proximity to the San Andreas fault, the city and its surrounding area are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and seismic movements.

If you plan to explore the city on foot, be prepared for frequent descents and ascents. In any case, we recommend that you wear comfortable shoes, including at least one pair of closed shoes in case of rain or a drop in temperature.

Attractions San Francisco: neighborhoods, bridges and museums not to be missed

San Francisco is regarded as one of the United States’ cultural capitals. Indeed, the diversity of its population is immediately apparent, which has undoubtedly contributed to its fame.

To summarise, only 55% of the city’s residents speak English as their first language, according to a recent census. When at home, the majority of the population speaks their native language, which could be Chinese, Spanish, or Russian.

San Francisco’s cultural diversity is complemented by its residents’ open-mindedness and tolerance. Indeed, movements such as the anti-Vietnam War or the Hippie movement arose right here.

The famous bridges of the city

The Golden Gate Bridge


This bridge has become a symbol of the city since it was completed in 1937. It was the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, connecting the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay. The orange colour, also known as international orange, was chosen to allow for greater visibility even in foggy conditions.

The bridge is always open to the public, and it can be crossed by car or on foot. If, on the other hand, you want to photograph it, we recommend that you go to the following panoramic points:

  • Crissy Field, one of the city’s most beautiful spots;
  • Fortress Point;
  • Baker’s Beach
  • Golden Gate Outlook, possibly the best location for photographs.


The Bay Bridge, considered the second bridge in San Francisco, was completed in 1936 and connects San Francisco and Oakland. This suspension bridge, which also offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, should be photographed and, why not, visited.

Neighborhoods to visit in San Francisco

The Financial District in downtown San Francisco


This neighbourhood was once the financial centre of California, and it is still the economic hub of the entire bay. San Francisco is home to six Fortune 500 companies, which is not surprising. If you enjoy shopping, luxury hotels, and fine dining, this is the San Francisco neighbourhood for you.

We recommend that you visit:

  • Union Square, the city’s central square, is home to numerous hotels, beauty salons, and luxury boutiques. Many Broadway-style venues can also be found around the square.
  • In San Francisco, the Transamerica Pyramid, also known as the Empire State Building, is well worth a visit. It is the city’s tallest building, built in 1972, and offers a breathtaking view.
  • The Exploratorium is an interactive technological-scientific museum ideal for those travelling with children or simply interested in this field.
  • The Ferry Building, with its clock tower, is one of the city’s most recognisable structures. Stop here for a delicious lunch and to admire the Bay Bridge.


In reality, the city has four Chinatowns, but the one on Grant Avenue is unquestionably the most distinctive, as well as the largest outside of Asia. The neighbourhood, which was founded in 1848 and is located near the financial district, now covers 3.5 square kilometres. Here are some things to do in Chinatown:

  • the Tien Hau temple, the neighborhood’s oldest Taoist temple, which stands out for its bright colours;
  • The Dragon Gate of Chinatown San Francisco is a real Asian-style gate that opens between Bush Street and Grant Avenue and is located five minutes from Union Square.
  • the Sing Chong, one of Chinatown’s most distinctive and oldest structures, as well as one of the city’s most photographed;
  • The oldest church in California is Old St. Mary’s Church, which was built in 1854 specifically to spread Catholicism in the city’s Chinatown.
  • Portsmouth Square is Chinatown’s main square, and it is frequently the site of cultural events and demonstrations. There are numerous plaques, statues, and monuments here for a reason.
  • Stockton Street is the neighborhood’s shopping street, where you can find clothing as well as fruits, vegetables, and food.


This neighbourhood is undeniably one of San Francisco’s most distinctive, and its history is no less interesting. Located on the same-named hill, not far from Chinatown, this area was used in the 1800s by Russian merchants looking for gold to bury their companions who died en route. The first settlers named the neighbourhood Russian Hill after discovering tombstones engraved in Cyrillic here.

If you happen to be passing by Russian Hill, you cannot miss:

  • Filbert Street, with a gradient of 31.5%, is the steepest street in the city and one of the most immortalised by directors who choose to film in San Francisco.
  • Macondray Lane is a very narrow paved street with dense vegetation resembling a small forest. Its unusual appearance has also influenced the imagination of writers such as Armistad Maupin, who created an imaginary street inspired by Macondray Lane in his Tales of San Francisco.
  • Lombard Street is most likely one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. In fact, the eight hairpin bends along this road are well-known. The construction of these winding curves to replace the original steep paving was requested by the residents of the area. Later, flower beds and flowers were added to the hairpin bends.

Lombard Street


This neighbourhood, known as one of the most upscale and affluent in the entire city, isn’t just synonymous with luxury and glitz. His story is, in fact, quite intriguing. The name “Nob” is derived from the word “nabob,” a term used by Indians to describe the English who became wealthy as a result of the India Company’s activities.

The neighborhood’s first residents arrived during the mid-nineteenth-century gold rush.

The residents of this area were actually wealthy, and after becoming dissatisfied with the steepness of the hill, which can reach 24.8%, they decided to establish their own cable car company. They were able to move more easily through the neighbourhood streets this way.

  • The following are the main attractions in this area:
  • The San Francisco Cable Car Museum (or Cable Car Museum) is more than just a museum; it is also the command centre for the city’s cable car system. We recommend that you go not only because it is one of the city’s symbols, but also because it is the world’s only operational cable car system.
  • Grace Cathedral is the largest Episcopal cathedral on the United States’ West Coast. Visit it to admire the Gothic architecture and the interior, which is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows.
  • Huntington Park is the neighborhood’s green lung, a great place to get some fresh air or rest after walking around the city.

Visit San Francisco : other attractions and places of interest

In addition to the distinctive neighbourhoods already mentioned, there are numerous other interesting places worth visiting throughout the city. San Francisco never ceases to amaze, from museums to historic landmarks and locations.

Here are the ones we’ve chosen for you:

  • The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, located in the Yerba Buena neighbourhood, is ideal for those interested in modern art. Among the 30,000 pictorial, photographic, video, and design works on display at this museum are works by Andy Wahrol, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, and Paul Klee.
  • Alcatraz, where Al Capone was also imprisoned, is undoubtedly one of the most famous prisons in the world. This prison was purpose-built in the Bay on an island known as The Rock to reduce the possibility of escape. Due to high management costs, the prison was closed in 1969, just over thirty years after it opened, due to its isolated location. It is now possible to visit it on guided tours that depart daily from the San Francisco coast.
  • The Coit Tower is not only one of the city’s viewpoints, but also a symbol of San Francisco culture. Inside, there are murals depicting scenes from everyday life as well as passages from Karl Marx’s writings, all dating from the years following the Great Depression.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf was once a shady dock area. Today, however, it is one of the city’s most important and visited landmarks. The sea lions that can usually be seen at Pier 39 attract thousands of tourists. Those travelling with children will also be able to enjoy museums, water shows, and other family-friendly attractions. Adults will undoubtedly enjoy the numerous shops and restaurants in this area.
  • Muir Woods is a forest of giant sequoias located on the outskirts of San Francisco, making it an ideal stop for nature lovers. The Hollywood film “Planet of the Apes” was shot right among the forest’s thousand-year-old trees.

Fishermans Wharf

Car, subway, tram or on foot? How to best enjoy the city

Here are some pointers for getting around San Francisco. With all of these attractions to see and the unique hilly terrain, it is critical to choose your mode of transportation carefully when visiting San Francisco.

  • car: Unless you want to go on a road trip around San Francisco, we strongly advise against renting a car. As previously stated, the hilly terrain can be intimidating, and traffic can be difficult to navigate. If you absolutely must travel by car, Uber is the way to go.
  • Trains and subways are both convenient and quick modes of transportation, but their stops may not be ideal for tourists.
  • There are numerous cable cars and streetcars in San Francisco. These modes of transportation are extremely efficient and are unquestionably appropriate for tourists. The trams in the city stop near all major attractions. The ticket can be purchased directly on board the vehicle for $2.50, with children under the age of 5 travelling for free. The city’s cable car network also passes through important areas, but the ride costs $7.

Cable Car – symbol of San Francisco

If possible, we recommend exploring the city on foot. That’s right, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the atmosphere of the city and, more importantly, visit all of the areas and attractions that are inaccessible by public transportation.

In closing: San Francisco a real American must see

The city in northern California provides visitors with a diverse range of attractions. From the cultural effervescence associated with the adjacent Silicon Valley to a consolidated cultural scene associated with its theatres, museums, galleries, and 1968 permanencies. From iconic sights like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Cable Cars to ethnic neighbourhoods like Chinatown, San Francisco has a lot to offer.

Check that you have a valid ESTA authorization as well as the all-important health insurance for travelling to the United States before packing your suitcase. Have a safe journey!