More than Your Eyes Can Handle: San Francisco's Best Sights

Putting together an itinerary for seeing all the best sights this vacation? Perhaps you've got a few hours to kill between business meetings and want to know the best stuff to see. Or maybe you're in San Francisco for pleasure, hoping to knock off some of the "must-see" sights that all cities offer.

San Francisco, however, is not your average city. On top of being a major metropolitan area, flush with museums and urban highlights, San Francisco also enjoys a rare, Mediterranean climate. Unlike most major cities in the U.S. that are either swamped by blizzards in winter or blistering hot in summer, San Francisco is mild all year round.

So in addition to the sights and tours that most big cities offer, San Francisco also offers a wealth of year-round natural escapes that no other city in the country can match. A walk across the Golden Gate Bridge is always a must, and getting an overview of the entire Bay Area atop Twin Peaks or Angel Island is an excellent way to take in just how magnificent the whole area is.

Whether it's urban history or natural wonders that tickle your fancy, our list below has you covered. Just start planning your next trip to San Francisco before your vacation is done - this wondrous city has too much to see in one visit.



More than 1 million people visit Muir Woods National Monument each year, and for good reason. The grove of coast redwoods has been protected for a century, and the amazing specimens rank among the tallest trees in the world. Some reach 252 feet,...  Read More

Point Reyes National Seashore
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


Although Point Reyes is farther than Ocean Beach or Stinson, most would agree it's well-worth the drive. If you're looking for smaller crowds and a more rugged beach day, be sure to include Point Reyes National Seashore in your trip. As the name...  Read More



One of the great things about San Francisco is its treasure-filled bay. Angel Island, only a short ferry ride from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo, is perfect for either a short or long excursion. Bring a picnic lunch and idle the time away...  Read More

Photo courtesy of used in book.


During Alcatraz's 34 years as a prison, most of its inmates were simply high-risk escapees and troublemakers. Still, the prison plays strongly in national memory thanks to infamous residents like Al "Scarface" Capone and Robert "Birdman" Stroud....  Read More

Russian Hill


The dramatic curves of Lombard Street help make this area one of San Francisco's most photographed sites. Within the beautifully landscaped, one-block descent from Hyde Street to Leavenworth Street are eight switchbacks, which have given Lombard...  Read More

Lands End Visitors Center
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


This brand new visitor's center is worth the drive or bus fare to the end of Geary Boulevard. Besides framing unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean, the center offers great gifts and mementos, as well as a small but impressive cafe stocked by...  Read More

Cable Cars
Photo courtesy of tom Molanphy


In San Francisco, a cable car ride is a must! The city's signature mode of transport is perfectly equipped to tackle steep hills, and since their premiere in 1873, cars have run the same way – by gripping huge loops of steel that constantly...  Read More



Although it's called a "peak," there are actually 64 acres to this park that has been called San Francisco's "Marin Headlands, the more famous natural area across the bay. Covered by grassland and coastal scrub, Twin Peaks offers visitors an...  Read More



Newly restored Point Bonita Lighthouse hangs right over the Pacific. Offering thrilling views and a fascinating history, this lighthouse is a quick but steep drive from the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The steepness doesn't end once you...  Read More

Golden Gate Bridge
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


One of the world's most famous bridges, the Golden Gate spans 6450 feet and links San Francisco to Marin County. Completed in 1937 at a cost of $35 million, the "Bridge That Could Not Be Built" is now a landmark visible from many points around...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom