More than 16 million people come to visit San Francisco every year to see the city’s world-famous attractions and experience the City by the Bay. From historic sites, to acclaimed museums, to top theaters and entertainment, to national parks, it’s no wonder San Francisco has become a top global destination.
Some of the most recognized landmarks include: the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Palace of Fine Arts, Coit Tower, Lombard Street and several others. A complete listing of landmarks and activities can be found on the San Francisco Travel Association website at www.sanfrancisco.travel.
Parks & Open Spaces
San Francisco boasts a variety of parks to support those with an active lifestyle whether it be sport or leisure activities. The largest is Golden Gate Park, which covers over 1,000 acres. The park is also home to the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Gardens and the Conservatory of Flowers, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and home to the oldest glass and wood Victorian greenhouse in the U.S.
Presidio National Park served as an army post for three nations for 218 years. Today, this national park invites visitors to take advantage of more than 25 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of paved roads perfect for cyclists. Crissy Field borders a first-class boating area while nearby rocks and pier are ample for fishing and crabbing opportunities. A golf course, bowling alley, the trampoline park House of Air, tennis courts and athletic fields can be found here as well. Presidio National Park also features a number of historic and significant architecture sites, museums, nature areas and scenic views.
Other notable parks include Buena Vista Park, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area and Washington Square Park. Scattered throughout the Bay Area and outside the city are countless parks and numerous beaches to choose from. No matter where you go the perfect open space awaits you for walking, bicycling or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Arts & Entertainment
San Francisco is a city bursting at the seams with art. With an emphasis on art in numerous museums, creative specialty boutiques and even murals, the city’s art community is arguably one of the most creative and artistic throughout the country.
San Francisco is home to several world-renowned art and science museums. The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the western world devoted exclusively to Asian art and culture. The Legion of Honor displays a collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art and antiques. The Exploratorium, San Francisco’s museum of science, art and human perception, recently opened at its new waterfront location on Pier 15.
The city’s main art and science attraction are conveniently located right inside Golden Gate Park. The California Academy of Sciences has made recent cutting-edge renovations and serves as one of the largest, innovative and most eco-friendly natural history museums in the world. Right across the California Academy of Sciences is the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, which showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international contemporary art, textiles and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa.
Art can be and is seen everywhere in San Francisco. The city boasts over 600 murals; the most famous can be found in the Mission district on Balmy Ally ad Clarion Alley. In an effort to bring public art throughout the city the San Francisco Arts Commission has created a Civic Art Collection. This contains over 3,500 objects including monuments and statues in the parks, murals in public buildings, paintings, sculptures, installations and other media, all which are submitted by the artists.
Annual Events & Festivals
Thousands of events are held each year in San Francisco, from concerts, athletic events, food and wine festivals to historical and holiday celebrations, there is always something to celebrate here. Among many of the popular events include: the San Francisco International Film Festival (the longest-running film festival in the country, held April – May), the San Francisco Marathon (one of the largest in the world, held in June), Fourth of July Celebrations (which include a spectacular fireworks show held at Pier 39), the Outside Lands Music Festival (held in August), the three-day Blues Festival (the largest outdoor blues festival on the West Coast, held in September), Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (held in October) and many, many more! Visitors and residents can also get swept away in the number of different street fairs, parades and farmers’ markets. For a full listing of events and festival visit www.sanfrancisco.travel.