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10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco

29th June 2024

More than 21 million tourists visit San Francisco every year, and for good reason. The city is bustling with dozens, if not hundreds, of things to visit or try! 

Tourists have a host of reasons to visit San Francisco. Aside from iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz, the city is surrounded by water on three sides and blessed with a mild climate year-round. San Francisco is also a food lover’s paradise, from fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf to mouthwatering dim sum in Chinatown. 

If these reasons set your heart racing, this blog post will take a look at the top tourist spots in San Francisco so you can visit the city without fuss! 

10 Top Tourist Spots in San Francisco

This city has it all—iconic sights, amazing food, cool neighborhoods, and natural beauty that will take your breath away. Plus, it’s one of those places that just feels special. So, book the best rental cars sfo and let’s dive into the 10 top tourist spots in San Francisco that you absolutely can’t miss!

  1. Golden Gate Bridge

Obviously, we’ll be starting with the top tourist spot and what makes the city iconic. The Golden Gate Bridge, completed in 1937, was the longest suspension bridge at that time. The orange-red color of this tourist attraction was initially a primer, but the architects decided to make it lively. To our surprise, the cables of the bridge are the right amount of wire to encircle the Earth three times. 

Also, you can’t visit San Francisco without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s like the city’s crown jewel. Walk, bike, or just take in the view—it’s stunning from every angle

  1. Alcatraz Island

If you like ferries, you can ride the vehicle to explore Alcatraz Island and how it had the first lighthouse on the U.S. West Coast. The place is infamous for its federal prison and even housed notorious criminals like Al Capone. 

Of course, the prison has been closed since the 90’s, but the government decided to somehow preserve its history and open the island to the public. We also suggest that you take the audio tour because it’s full of interesting stories. 

  1. Fisherman’s Wharf 

Once you are tired from all the walking and sightseeing, it’s time to grab some fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf and taste the local life. This tourist spot is also where you can watch cute sea lions and visit Ghirardelli Square, a former chocolate factory, which is now a major attraction! 

The Fisherman’s Wharf is a bit near to the Golden Gate Bridge. We suggest that you take a Dollar Rental Car for a faster, less-hassle touring. 

  1. Chinatown

If you have a knack for visiting old Chinatowns like San Francisco’s, then you’re in for a treat! Thanks to the different vendors who are either selling dim sums, souvenirs, etc., this oldest Chinatown in North America is surely a feast for your senses! 

Built in 1848, Chinatown SF houses the Fortune Cookie Factory, where the treat was popularized. The 1906 earthquake devastated the area, but it was rebuilt with vibrant architecture.

  1. Golden Gate Park 

Aside from the Golden Gate itself, the government decided to enhance the city’s tourist spots by creating a man-made Golden Gate park. This massive park is a green oasis in the city. 

We suggest that you visit the park with snacks or some board games because there’s a high chance that you’ll be staying here for a long time after you experience how relaxing Golden Gate park is! You can also visit museums, stroll through gardens, or just relax by the lakes. It’s perfect for some lazy afternoons! 

  1. Painted Ladies

The Painted Ladies, iconic Victorian houses in San Francisco, are famous for its picture-perfect architecture and view from Alamo Square Park. Surprisingly, this tourist spot in San Francisco survived the 1906 earthquake largely intact. Featured in TV shows like “Full House,” these homes are part of a larger collection of Victorian and Edwardian houses painted in three or more colors! 

  1. Lombard Street

Lombard Street, renowned as the “most crooked street in the world,” features eight sharp hairpin turns. This steep, one-block section, located between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, was designed in 1922 to reduce the hill’s natural 27% grade, making it safer for vehicles.

What you’ll like most about this tourist spot is how the streets are paved with red bricks and beautifully landscaped with vibrant flowers and lush greenery, attracting millions of tourists each year! 

  1. Pier 39

Next on our list is this lively waterfront attraction in San Francisco. Pier 39 features shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. It’s famous for its resident sea lion population, which arrived after the 1989 earthquake.

Pier 39 is right next to Fisherman’s Wharf, so you won’t really have a hard time finding it. Don’t miss the sea lions lounging by the docks—they’re a crowd favorite.

  1. Union Square

If you’re in San Francisco to shop, Union Square is your spot. It’s the heart of downtown, with tons of stores, theaters, and places to eat. According to the locals, Union Square is named for pro-Union rallies held there during the Civil War. The area is also known for its historic hotels, including the St. Francis and the Westin St. Francis.

Also, some retail therapy during vacation wouldn’t hurt, right?

  1. Twin Peaks

Last but not least is Twin Peaks. These two hills rise 922 feet above sea level and are accessible by car or hiking trails. From the summit, you can see some of the tourist spot attractions we mentioned, including the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Twin Peaks offers a panoramic view of the entire city and beyond. It’s a bit of a climb, but it’s totally worth it.


San Francisco is packed with awesome things to do and see. Whether you’re into exploring historic neighborhoods, checking out scenic viewpoints, or just enjoying the lively atmosphere, there’s something here for everyone.

So there you have it—ten amazing spots that make San Francisco such a gem. Also, we recommend that you rent a car to visit these tourist spots for an effortless visit. 

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