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Fun Things to do in San Francisco

California

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San Francisco has it all the weather, the food, the outdoors, and a whole lot more. And during the pandemic, the city has become an even better place to visit, from its strict COVID precautions and high vaccination rates to its explosion of outdoor dining. It was even named the best city in the world in 2021.

About

Best time to go

The best time to visit San Francisco is from September to November. Believe it or not, fall offers some of the city's warmest temperatures year-round, not to mention fewer crowds than summer. Spring is another good time to visit thanks to its mild temperatures and lack of rain (compared to other parts of California).

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Fun city facts and activities

    San Francisco has long been a beacon of progressive ideas, inclusiveness, and innovation. Those values not to mention the stellar restaurants, endless hiking options, and trendy dispensaries were all reasons that respondents in the 2021 Time Out Index named it 'the best city in the world' in 2021.

    Of course, the City by the Bay has its fair share of issues (homelessness, unaffordable housing and increasingly bad air quality during fire season tend to dominate the headlines) but what city doesn't? What makes San Francisco stand out is the way its responded, particularly to the unprecedented events of the past year.

    In 2020, leaders implemented one of the most aggressive (and effective) Covid-19 responses in the country, and residents came together to keep the citys spirit and culture alive. Residents pedestrianized streets to create more room for outdoor gatherings, built beautiful parklets for al fresco dining and imbibing, painted boarded-up storefronts with murals, and even shared communal sourdough starters to fuel the baking craze.

    San Francisco is, in many ways, the ideal spot to ride out the pandemic with year-round mild weather, a thriving restaurant and take-out scene, high-quality cannabis, and endless, accessible, adventures in nature from hikes in wine country to days spent lounging on the beach. Now, as the city enjoys high vaccination rates (and rules banning the unvaccinated from many indoor spaces), its one of the safest places to enjoy the kind of city life we've all been missing.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Fisherman's Wharf
    Financial District
    Mission District
    North Beach
    Russian Hill
    Haight-Ashbury
    Pacific Heights
Neighborhoods

Restaurants
Food Specialties

    San Francisco has long been one of the most (if not the most) famous destinations for fine dining in the world. In total, the Bay Area has more than 60 starred restaurants, showing the region is truly the culinary capital of North America with numerous tantalizing cuisine types and genres on offer at the highest of levels.
Restaurants
Events

San Francisco Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Take a Tour of San Franciscos Underground Tunnels: San Francisco is full of history, but some of its most interesting stories are below ground. Take a guided tour of the citys underground tunnels and learn about the mysterious and sometimes dark history of the city.

2. Visit the Wave Organ: Sitting at the edge of the San Francisco Bay, the Wave Organ is an artistic marvel. Built in 1986, this sculpture uses the movement of the waves to create unique and calming music.

3. Take a Street Art Tour: San Francisco is home to some of the most impressive street art in the world. From giant murals to tiny tags, explore the city's vibrant street art scene with a guided tour.

4. Take a Cruise on the San Francisco Bay: Take a cruise on the bay and experience the city from a different perspective. You can take in the sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, and the

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Exploratorium
This eye-popping art and science museum mesmerizes kids and adults alike. The museum touts over 500 exhibits, including hands-on activities, science experiments, and interactive galleries incorporating sight, touch, memory, and perception. Even toddlers will get a kick out of exhibits involving light, bubbles, and sound. Whether youre ogling rare plants, baffling physics displays, or awe-inspiring art (a sculpture made from 100,000 toothpicks?!), it's easy to spend a full day here.

2. Butterfly Joint
A woodworking shop for children sounds like an unlikely concept, but theyre in good hands with Butterfly Joint owner Danny Montoya, a credentialed early-childhood educator who knows his way around a workbench. The Outer Richmond workshop offers classes and camps for kids as young as 2. Tykes clock in with punch cards, don mini work aprons, and get to work on projects like name boards, keepsake boxes, tables, stools, wooden spoons, and more. Rest assured, there are no power tools involved. Advanced students (ages 10 and up) learn how to use chisels, hammers, and dovetail saws.

3. House of Air
This is one afternoon excursion guaranteed to tire your kid out. House of Air is technically a trampoline gym, but it, if you ask them, they're an adrenaline park. The sprawling, high-ceilinged space includes a trampoline court, where dozens of connected trampolines are surrounded by cushy angled walls, and a trampoline dodgeball court with friendly pick-up games (and a built-in ref) - not to mention a rock climbing wall and foam pits. Kids aged 3 to 6 have access to a mini trampoline area specifically reserved for little jumpers.

4. The Coop
The Coop calls itself a playspace, but thats underselling it: Its more like a carnival-meets-playground-meets-toy store. The 3,000-square-foot area includes a huge ball pit, an electronic dance floor, a bouncy house, a rope-climbing tube, a twisty slide, and a slew of dress-up garb, books, and toys. Its a popular spot for open play, as well as for kid birthday parties, in which parents can choose from dozens of themes. The best part, though, is the welcome amenities for grown-ups. While your kiddos bounce, climb, and dance their hearts out, parents can kick back with an impressive magazine selection, a full cappuccino bar, and free wifi.

5. Mus̩e M̩canique
Local legend Edward Galland Zelinsky founded this museum as a showcase for his unparalleled collection of antique oddities, namely coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines. This place is a blast for kids of all ages, and a lesson in San Francisco amusement park history. The assortment spans more than 300 items, including coin-operated pianos, antique slot machines, hand-cranked music boxes, salvaged bits of local history, a steam-powered motorcycle, and various vintage arcade games. The arcades are all in working condition and most cost only $.25 or $.50 to play. For kids who need to blow-off steam modern-style, there are a handful of video games and skee ball in the back.

6. Castro Theatre
This historic theater in the heart of the Castro reserves various Saturday and Sunday showings each month for modern kid classics, from Moana to Mulan. The family matinees make for good, unfussy fun. The excitement dials up to 11 on weekends that movie musical sing-alongs are on the schedule. Hosted by Sara Moore and Laurie Bushman, the productions start with a costume contest, in which kids of all ages strut across the stage. (Goody bags for all!) Then the lights dim and the movie rolls, complete with on-screen lyrics and a bouncing icon for young readers to follow along.

7. Childrens Creativity Museum
Imagination and creativity rules at the Children's Creativity Museum. Rather than a rowdy playspace, this high-tech museum is thoughtfully designed to encourage invention. In the Animation Lab, kids knead clay into characters and create their own stop-motion movies. In the Tech Lab, future Googlers learn how to write code by programming robots to play music and solve puzzles. In the Music Studio, kids can star in their own music videoscomplete with costumes and green screen technology. Outside, take a spin on the ornate LeRoy King Carousel, a storied relic originally constructed in 1906 which has been twirling in this Yerba Buena location since 1998.

8. California Academy of Sciences
Considered the worlds greenest museum, the Academy combines an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and scientific research program under one roof. The complex is anchored by a four-story rainforest dome thats home to flitting butterflies and birds, and a living roof that features some 1.7 million native plant species. In between is the Steinhart Aquarium (which boasts the worlds deepest living coral reef display), an Amazonian flooded forest," the all-digital Morrison Planetarium, a live penguin habitat, an African Hall with lifesize dioramas of lions and gazelles, and the swampy home of Claude the albino alligator.

9. Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum is dedicated to the life of Walt Disney and the beloved artistic empire he inspired. Inside, permanent exhibits document Disneys innovations in sound and animation and provide a fascinating look at the career of the man behind the mouse, including the audio-enhanced tale of how Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was almost abandoned. Regularly rotating exhibits feature the work of revered animators and artistic collaborations, some of which, like Disneys project with Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali, were never completed. Stop by the Fantasia-themed theater to catch a Disney classic six days a week.

10. Pirate Supply Store
The Pirate Supply Store and King Carls Emporium are the dual retail fronts of the nonprofit youth writing centers, 826 Valencia. Both offer loads of kitschy, tongue-in-cheek fun for kids and their parents. At the Pirate Supply Store in the Mission, there are treasures hidden behind every door and inside every drawer. A wealth of ironic pirate gear and paraphernalia, including skull and crossbones die, peg leg sizing charts (plus, peg leg oil, for conditioning said prosthetic), eye patches, hooks, jailer keys, gold coins, and more will have both you and your singing sea shanties in no time.

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City data and FAQ 

Is San Francisco worth visiting?

Yes, well worth visiting as you will see the tourist stuff just dont move here and see behind the curtain.
Lawayne Williamson Lives in California (1990 Present)

What is San Francisco most know for?

San Francisco is known for many things; high tech Golden gate park, the cliff house,north beach, and other attractions too numerous to mention. It's been the site of many classic movies.
Janet Lacqua - Lives in Londi (2018 Present)

So many things: Fishermans Wharf, sour dough bread, Coit Tower, Lombard Street (curvy part), Ocean Beach, Alcatraz, the Presidio, Pier 39, downtown shopping, the Financial District, Cable Cars, North Beach, China Town, the Golden Gate Bridge___thats just off the top of my head.
Sandra Marcelli - Lived in Spokane Valley, WA

Are two days enough to visit San Francisco?
Cant even really enjoy the beaches in just 2 days, the zoo, tj rosaritro,ensenada, north county, 2 days is nothing, lol with traffic, it will almost take 2 days to drive from the border to the oc.
Jon Park Lives in Los Angeles

Ive been here for over 50 years, and Im still finding cool stuff that I didnt know about. This is a city rich in history, scenery, culture, and recreational activities. The museums are wonderful. The de Young, in Golden Gate Park is a great art museum and their collection of pre-columbian art of Meso-America is just amazing. The Asian Art Museum housing the Avery Brundage Collection, is good for an entire day, and SFMOMA, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Museum of the African Diaspora are all world class and classy. The Exploratorium science museum is just amazing, especially if you have kids. I fell in love with this place on a college road trip in the late 60s, and moved up here almost immediately. Ive yet to find a place I like better.
Rik Elswit - Lives in San Francisco

I would recommend staying in San Francisco for at least a week since there are so many fascinating places you can visit in the city. However, if you only have 2 days to spend in the city, I would suggest visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and Pier 39.
Robert

Well. You can hit fisherman's wharf, pier 39, the legion of honor, Chinatown and the cliff house in two days. Its not much to really explore and get the full flavor if all the neighborhoods.
Janet Llacqua Lives in Londi (2018 Present)

Yes, stay in the tenderloin, lot's to do and see.
You can even camp in the tenderloin for free if you want to save money on hotels. The hotels are full of homeless so it's honestly better to camp.
Chris Lynol - Lives in Seattle, WA (2008 Present)
My wife and I spent 2 and a half days in San Francisco. I felt that there probably a boatload of things we either didnt see or just whizzed by. My wife has this notion that the less time you have to visit a new city the more things you will be forced to fit in. We saw all the major places except for Telegraph Hill, which we only saw from a distance. Still, I prefer to walk everywhere, taking my time to absorb the ambiance and culture.
Paul Ramirez - Lives in Yonkers, NY

I can tell you that, as someone who lives and works in San Francisco, even though I see this city almost 24/7, I am still far from being an expert on this city. 2 days is not enough to visit anywhere. So, if youre coming here as a tourist, youre going to have to be selective about what you want to see/eat/experience. Have a list of must-haves, and a second list of things youd like to see but are okay with skipping out on if you dont have the time. There will be a LOT of things you wont be able to experience.
Alexandre L. Lives in California (1997 Present)
Do you need a car to visit San Francisco?

No, not at all. In fact unless you plan to leave the city, then I would not bring a car into the city. Parking is very, very, very difficult and there are a lot of break-ins going on. Just take muni/SFMTA.
Janey Doey Lives in San Francisco

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