The Golden Gate Bridge (©Kirke Wrench/NPS)
When you visit San Francisco, one thing’s certain: You’ll never run out of things to do. If it’s your first trip to the city or if you’re short on time, deciding on a manageable sightseeing checklist can be a challenge. We’ve picked out the essential San Francisco attraction highlights that have stood the test of time and should be on any visitor’s itinerary.
The Golden Gate Bridge will never disappoint, and it’s worth the effort to book tickets in advance for a cruise to Alcatraz Island, the unexpectedly picturesque site of an infamous former maximum-security prison.
Exploring the top sights will take you all around the city, which occupies about 49 square miles of the tip of the peninsula that separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to wear comfortable footwear to navigate the hills and to dress in layers. (Temperatures can fluctuate wildly depending on the neighborhood and time of day, and summers are famously chilly, while the fall months bring warmer temperatures and sun.)