With so much to see and do in San Francisco, planning a tour of the city can often be quite overwhelming. However, thanks to the way in which San Francisco is so compact, it is actually very possible to see the main highlights of the city in just one day, and this itinerary will show you exactly how to do that.
While Union Square may be steeped with history, it is best known today for being the heart of San Francisco’s shopping district. This open square is surrounded by high end boutiques, as well as a few independent stores, but be sure to keep an eye on the time so that you do not spend hours indulging in retail therapy, as there is still plenty more to see.
San Francisco Cable Cars
The San Francisco cable car system is the last manually operated cable car system in the world, and is iconic when it comes to San Francisco. The best route travels up the steep gradient of Nob Hill, passing through Chinatown before making its way down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Depending on how much time you have to spare, it could be worth disembarking at the intersection between Lombard and Hyde Streets, so that you can take a stroll along the meandering Lombard Street and enjoy the spectacular backdrop of the bay.
This world-famous prison is set on its very own island, and is easily accessible by a ferry, which you can board just a short walk away from Fisherman’s Wharf. The ferry ride is incredibly scenic, and once you reach the island, you can take an audio tour of prison. From touring the cell blocks to learning more about Alcatraz’s history, this is always a popular activity for those visiting San Francisco, so be sure to book your tickets for this tour well in advance.
Also referred to as Little Italy, North Beach is home to numerous quaint Italian cafés and restaurants, and is the heart of the city’s Italian community. Columbus Avenue is worth exploring on foot, as you will be able to stop off at some of the area’s many different eclectic stores and boutiques, browsing the diverse array of goods available.
For those that want to end their day with a dose of culture, there are a few worthwhile museums that you can choose from. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is always popular, as is the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora. While you will not have time to visit them all, you can always check out current exhibits on their website before choosing the museum that appeals to you the most.
San Francisco is a vibrant and diverse city, and is filled with history, culture, art and an effervescent energy. From touring the famous prison of Alcatraz to taking a stroll around the bohemian North Beach, this city tour will show you some of the very best sights that San Francisco has to offer.