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The Best Things to Do in San Francisco

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To really know San Francisco, explore its neighborhoods. Look for taquerias and techies in the Mission, rainbow flags above the Castro, earnest hippie vibes in the Haight, and beachy quietude in the Sunset. This walkable, welcoming city awaits.
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Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park was formed out of an expanse of sand dunes to the west of the city in the nineteenth century—a history that is still discernible in the rolling topography of much of the park’s more than 1,000 acres. Over 13 million...
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50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
The de Young Museum, with its perforated copper facade and spiraling tower in the center of Golden Gate Park, is as dramatic outside as it is inside. Follow the widening crack in the sidewalk into the atrium. It's an Andy Goldsworthy–created...
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San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Alcatraz—the very name conjures dark images of impregnable prisons, infamous criminals, and daring escape attempts. But the island is not all murder and mayhem. “The Rock,” set a few kilometers offshore in the San Francisco...
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Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

An estimated 48,000 houses were constructed in San Francisco from 1848 to 1915 in the style typical of the day, with ornate woodwork characteristic of so-called Queen Anne design. Earthquakes and fires, most notably those of 1906, destroyed...

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Dolores St &, 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Mission Dolores Park, aka Delores Park, is one of the most popular parks in San Francisco, especially when the sun is out and the mercury is up. On a sunny weekend, you'll be hard pressed to find a patch of green to plant yourself on, but that's...
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Twin Peaks, San Francisco, CA, USA
The best views of San Francisco are from the top of Twin Peaks, the two hills that are located in the geographic center of the city. Only from Twin Peaks can you get a 360-degree view of the entire city. If you are lucky, on a clear day you can...
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San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Most people driving through San Francisco's Sunset District head to Sutro Baths, the Cliff House, and Ocean Beach. However, if you take a subtle right turn at Fort Miley you will find a beautiful coastal trail that offers unbelievable views of the...
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Pier 15 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Ask anyone you know who grew up in the Bay Area about the Exploratorium, and they’ll likely be able to share stories of class trips and seeing their hair stand on end at an installation about electricity or fun-house mirrors that...
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55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

The California Academy of Sciences is an unfortunately stuffy name for an institution that is anything but staid. The country's largest natural-history museum includes an aquarium, a planetarium, an enormous rain-forest exhibit under a...

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1004 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
While hiking through the Lands End area of San Francisco I came across this gem. Built in the late 19th century as the world's largest indoor swimming pool complex, visitors could take a dip in one of the seven pools or take a stroll through a...
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151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
It had been a long wait for modern art lovers, but after a three-year closure and a $305 million renovation and expansion, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopened in May 2016, and was it ever worth the wait. A new 10-story...
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One, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Outdoor markets always tell a story about their city: what goods are for sale, what foods are locally grown and how the residents interact with one another as they buy and sell their wares. San Francisco's Saturday Market at the Ferry Terminal...
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Filbert St, San Francisco, CA, USA
In a city as steep and hilly as San Francisco, it’s no surprise there are some noteworthy stairways. On the east side of Telegraph Hill, the Filbert Steps reign as some of the most popular in the city. They wend their way up to the iconic Coit...
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540 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Crazy for Kerouac? Mad for Ginsberg? Head to the Beat Museum in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, where many of the writers, artists, and thinkers you’ll be learning about spent their time drinking and carousing in the 1950s...
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375 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
If you're a book lover, you'll be intrigued and delighted by this rare space dedicated entirely to the appreciation and teaching of the art of traditional bookmaking. The first center of its kind on the West Coast, San Francisco Center for the...
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0-11, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
The '60s and '70s in San Francisco were synonymous with psychedelic "hobbies," but tripping in the new millennium on Pier 39 is something you can now enjoy, legally, with the entire family. This labyrinth of 77 mirrors and black lights...
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1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Woods National Monument, a 554-acre park; old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, cover 295 of those acres. Peaceful and lush, the forest is ideal for simply communing with...
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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

While Japanese gardens have come to be an expected feature of many botanical parks around the world, the Japanese Tea Garden, which opened in 1894, was the first public tea garden in the United States. The original plot consisted of less than half...

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Presidio, San Francisco, CA, USA
For more than 200 years, the Presidio of San Francisco was one of the most important military posts on the West Coast. Now it's 1,491 acres of prime real estate, sporting amazing views and so much to do that you could easily spend a weekend and...
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Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA, USA
It's a street, it's a music venue, it's a district, and...it's a fun way to spend a day or weekend in San Francisco. Hemmed in on the east by Japantown, on the south by the Fillmore Jazz District, and on the north by swanky Pacific Heights with...
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San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Once a U.S. Army airfield, Crissy Field has undergone an amazing transformation over the past 20 years and is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A popular spot for dog walkers, bikers, runners, and families, the 1.5-mile...
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Tiburon, CA 94920, USA
Hop aboard the ferry at Pier 41 in San Francisco, or from the town of Tiburon, and spend a day on the largest and most beautiful island in the bay—Angel Island State Park. You can bring your own bike, or rent one when you arrive, and ride...
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Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Musée Mécanique, at Pier 45 in Fisherman’s Wharf, is one of the largest privately held collections of vintage mechanical arcade machines in the world. Displaying some 200 pieces from the more than 300 acquired by Edward G....
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1805 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
If walls could talk, you’d be stuck in conversation with the Fillmore for hours. The building was a dance hall when it opened in 1912 and a roller rink during the 1940s, and led its first concerts in 1952 with artists like James Brown and...
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3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
Standing out in San Francisco's Marina District, this historic landmark is a leftover from the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Expo and was designed by Bernard R. Maybeck, a student of the École des Beaux-Arts. His vision was to...
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680 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
San Francisco is not only a beautiful city, but it is also home to some exquisite natural landscapes, such as Lands End. I will never forget the first time I hiked the main Coastal Trail: I couldn't believe I was still in a city because of the...
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83 Marina Green Dr, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
Head to this jetty near the Golden Gate Yacht Club in the Marina district and simply listen. The Wave Organ, a wave-activated sculpture made of granite and marble culled from the demolished Laurel Hill Cemetery, provides an enchanting...
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At Pier 39, more than 20,000 sea creatures from the San Francisco Bay and California coastline await your visit. Walking through the aquarium's transparent tunnels immerses you in the bay's diverse aquatic life, as you come eye-to-eye with the...
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415 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
The American Conservatory Theater, a thriving community of artists and audiences, celebrates a tradition of live theater in San Francisco. A.C.T. was the first theater to win a Tony Award for the quality of its training program, as well as...
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1192 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but if you can't make it to the Great White Way, don't worry, the Orpheum Theatre brings Broadway to San Francisco, hosting the biggest touring shows every season. Built in 1926 as a showcase for...
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419 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Sleight of hand, mind-reading, astonishing tricks, and comedy— master magician, mentalist, and comic Jay Alexander does it all four nights a week near Union Square. It was a trunk in Alexander's grandparents' attic that launched his magical...
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201 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
For longtime lovers of jazz, or those curious to learn about the history of America’s music, the 35,000-square-foot SFJAZZ Center in the Hayes Valley neighborhood is a do-not-miss. Opened in January 2013, the cultural center and stage is...
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934 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
If you'd like to deck your walls with local art, then SF Open Studios can help out. Sponsored by ArtSpan,SF Open Studios is the largest and longest-running open-studio program in the U.S. The city-wide art extravaganza spreads over four weekends...
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429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
This single-screen movie house is not just one of San Francisco’s most beloved landmarks, it’s also one of the country’s oldest operating movie theaters. The 1922 theater's Spanish Colonial exterior was designed to evoke a...