San Francisco is a bustling city, boasting plenty of exciting attractions. We’re here to assist you plan your trip and make the most of your time here in this vibrant city.
One of the most iconic experiences in San Francisco is riding the cable cars. There are various routes that will take you from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way up to Nob Hill. After you fly into San Francisco with Cathay Pacific, here’s what you should consider visiting.
Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop is one of San Francisco’s must-visits, offering delectable ice cream sundaes topped with hot fudge made from rich Ghirardelli chocolate. Additionally, visitors can indulge in fountain drinks and other sweet treats at this shop.
This iconic San Francisco ice cream shop is usually packed, especially on weekends. Expect a 10-minute wait in line and maybe have to wait for a table. However, it’s worth it if you want to savor their world-renowned hot fudge sundae (vanilla ice cream topped with handmade hot fudge, whipped cream and cherries) served in an original waffle bowl made on site.
Tourists should check out Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience, their newest store. It’s larger and more upscale than their original shop with views out over San Francisco Bay and makes for a perfect stop to grab some chocolate treats.
The store offers a wide variety of treats and desserts such as peppermint bark, hot cocoa, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel and more. Plus there’s even a pet-friendly outdoor seating area where you can bring your pup along while indulging in some treats!
Ghirardelli Square, situated at the center of Fisherman’s Wharf district and one of San Francisco’s top tourist destinations, is home to both this shop and Ghirardelli Clock Tower. Additionally, there’s a Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory situated beneath the tower.
Golden Gate Park
One of the top activities to do in San Francisco is exploring Golden Gate Park. This expansive urban park offers many attractions, from museums to stunning gardens. Plus, it’s ideal for hiking, biking and running!
In the late 1860s, this park was constructed on what used to be sand dunes. As the city expanded, it decided to transform this space into a recreational haven for its citizens.
Today, this 1,017-acre green space stretches for three miles in length – roughly 20% larger than New York’s Central Park.
It boasts 15 miles of drives, 33 acres of lakes, 130 acres of meadows and 680 forested acres – making it one of the world’s top attractions and a major draw for visitors.
If you’re searching for an exciting way to explore the park, a narrated bus tour is recommended. This will give you access to top attractions such as California Academy of Sciences and de Young Museum without worrying about traffic jams.
Other popular attractions in the park include the Conservatory of Flowers and Japanese Tea Garden, both located on the East end. Both are well worth visiting when you’re there!
The park’s Music Concourse is another must-visit attraction. This plaza, filled with statues and monuments, forms the focal point of Spreckels Temple of Music – a free concert venue open for free events since 1899.
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of San Francisco’s premier tourist destinations, boasting waterfront restaurants, unique museums and an aquarium. Plus it’s home to Pier 39 with plenty of shops and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Fisherman’s Wharf offers great walking routes, making it a great place to explore the neighborhood. Many attractions are close together so you can conveniently walk there from your hotel or other nearby establishment.
History buffs should make a stop at the Maritime Museum. Here you’ll find artifacts of maritime life such as whale harpoons and inlaid figureheads – all free to explore! Plus, since admission to this attraction is complimentary, making it part of your itinerary won’t break your budget either!
Ghirardelli Square is another must-see during your journey to Fisherman’s Wharf. Originally a chocolate factory, this shopping center now houses various retail shops and restaurants.
Experience the history behind this iconic attraction on a tour and purchase some of the original chocolates made here.
Fisherman’s Wharf offers a variety of restaurants to choose from, so it’s wise to select one that you are most interested in. Popular eateries include Boudin Bakery which serves traditional clam chowder in a bread bowl.
If you’re searching for something unique, the Cheese School Of San Francisco should not be missed. This school is renowned for offering fun classes like how to craft a charcuterie board or discover different types of cheese.
Union Square is a great spot to take a leisurely walk and people-watch. It is an historic public park located at the heart of San Francisco’s cultural and shopping district, boasting numerous attractions such as theatres and restaurants.
Union Square was originally designed by Jasper O’Farrell, a civil engineer, in 1847 and quickly became one of San Francisco’s central public plazas. It later transformed into an upscale residential district during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1903, the city erected a monument to commemorate Admiral Dewey’s victory at Manila Bay during the Spanish American War – featuring a 95-foot granite column topped by Lady Victory triumphantly holding her trident and wreath in her hand.
Over the years, the square has become one of the city’s most beloved tourist spots. It serves as a venue for various events and activities such as concerts, art sales and skating.
Union Square’s high-end retailers include Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. Maiden Lane, Union Square’s most renowned shopping street, is a two-block long pedestrian mall featuring Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent – to name just a few.
Westfield San Francisco Centre is another popular shopping destination in the area, boasting an array of retailers such as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks.
If you’re searching for something truly unique, the Fraenkel Gallery in Union Square offers an impressive range of exhibitions focusing on photography. Open since 1979, its collection includes both classic and modern works.
In addition, San Francisco’s TIX Bay Area operates near the square and sells discounted tickets to performing arts performances. This is an excellent way to save money when planning your San Francisco travel plans.
Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is one of the finest museums, boasting an impressive collection that includes masterpieces from China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia.
The collection galleries are organized by region and chronology, making it easy to explore the diverse cultures found throughout Asia. Highlights include stunning Chinese bronze sculptures, a room filled with Persian ceramics and metalwork, as well as an assortment of Buddha statues from different parts of Southeast Asia.
Regularly, there are various special exhibits that focus on a particular area or culture. Past examples have included Korean art, yoga and an exhibition of traditional Sikh saris.
Free self-guided multimedia tours are available in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean; or join a free docent tour offered throughout the day. Alternatively, the museum has its own app with audio and video guides in six languages.
The museum, housed in the former city library, houses over 18,000 pieces of artwork that span 6,000 years. Its collections are organized geographically and chronologically with thematic displays that tell stories from multiple perspectives.
This museum can get very crowded, especially the first Sunday of each month. So if you’re thinking about visiting, it’s wise to arrive early.
The museum boasts a large gift shop that sells items related to the exhibitions on view, such as copperware tea sets and bamboo-and-goat-hair calligraphy brushes. It’s ideal for picking up souvenirs or finding gifts for family members back home. Plus, visitors can stop by the cafe on site to grab a bite to eat.