Mark Twain was once inaccurately attributed to saying, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." San Francisco, home of sour dough bread and the Golden Gate Bridge, is fondly known for its hilly streets, hippie culture, wacky weather, and one of the most crooked streets in the world. San Fran may be a bit chilly for the sunshine state of California, but the moderate temperature makes it quite enjoyable for the rest of the nation to vacation and with all the sights to see, it's sure to find a place in your heart, too.

Photo Credit: Daniel


The famous island of Alcatraz only housed inmates for 29 years, but its legacy lives on in infamy as is consequently one of San Francisco's most popular tourist attractions. History's most notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Robert Stroud have graced its mysterious walls and the island also holds evidence of the Civil War and American Indian Rights Movement. You may be surprised to know that the island is also home to rare plant species, thousands of birds and marine wildlife. Make sure you book a boat tour early because it is known to sell out!

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco, also known as the "City by the Bay," is known for Fisherman's Wharf which is packed with beautiful sights and things to do. If you're a morning person; head to Fish Alley where the seafood is transported directly from the fishing boats to the vendors at the crack of dawn. Also, make sure to catch a glimpse of the sea lions at Pier 39 and visit the Aquatic Park and Maritime Museum. The wharf gives you spectacular views of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Villar

Ride a Cable Car

The first cable car went down Clay Street August 2, 1873 at 5 am and for $6, you can still ride one of San Francisco's symbolic vehicles today. It's hard to pass up the opportunity to take a ride on a moving piece of history. If you are interested in learning more about these unique automobiles, stop by the Cable Car Museum on Mason Street.

Photo Credit: Chris Parker

Lombard Street

At a 40-degree slope with 8 switch backs, Lombard Street is famous for its extreme crookedness. Watching the buzz of cars and bikes drive up and down this crazy pass is a favorite for those visiting the area. Get a front row seat yourself and take a walk on the twists and turns.

Photo Credit: Nick Ares

Bus Tours

Because of the characteristic sloped roads in San Francisco, get the most out of the charming city by hopping on a double decker bus tour. Open air rides will take you through Lombard Street, Chinatown, Union Square, City Hall and other must-see attractions without having you worry about driving on those crazy, hilly streets.

Photo Credit: David Ohmer

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square is always a great excuse to satisfy your sweet tooth. Located right off the pier, they're famous for their signature chocolate treats and wine. Grab a cup of hot chocolate to warm up and look out for the talented street performers nearby.