San Francisco is a city rich in culture and diversity, located on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Millions are the people who have entered the San Francisco Bay in search of the American dream, bringing with them food, music and costumes from all over the world.
Known for its hilly streets lined with colorful houses and cable cars, San Francisco is also home to dozens of markets, museums, parks, and more. Although Los Angeles is considered the heart of American cinema, many directors have chosen its sister, San Francisco, located further north, for their filming. Many important films have been shot in the steep hills, with the beautiful panoramic views that the city offers in the background
If you are looking for information on what to do and what to see in San Francisco, here are some of the most important monuments of the city and the activities not to be missed to better enjoy this American city overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
What to see in San Francisco
The Conservatory of Flowers
The Conservatory of Flowers opened in Golden Gate Park in 1879 and is the oldest Victorian wood and glass greenhouse in the United States. This structure extends over more than 1161 square meters and is home to approximately 2000 species of plants, including high altitude orchids and the Amazonian Victoria, whose leaves reach a diameter of 2 meters.
The Town Hall (City Hall)
Designed by Arthur Brown Jr. as a civic center, the San Francisco City Hall is part of the Renaissance movement, a time when the United States experienced a renaissance in literature, art, architecture and music.
It was built to replace the previous town hall, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1906. The current town hall, which occupies two city blocks, opened its doors in 1915.
The history of Alcatraz begins in 1854 when the United States government built a lighthouse on the island. Beginning in 1859, Alcatraz, otherwise known as “the Rock”, served as a military fortress and prison to defend the San Francisco Bay. The Rock was a federal penitentiary until 1963. In 1972, Alcatraz joined the National Park Service and became one of San Francisco's most popular tourist attractions.
Golden Gate Bridge
Since its completion in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world and the symbol of San Francisco. Built on the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County. Its characteristic color has been chosen to be more visible in the fog, which envelops it over many days.
Fort Point was built at the entrance to San Francisco Bay during the California Gold Rush (1853-1861). It is considered the most impressive fortification built west of the Mississippi River. For much of its existence, Fort Point was used as military housing. In 1970, the National Park Service adopted Fort Point as a National Historic Site.
The Transamerica Pyramid is easily visible from anywhere in the city, being the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco. Built by the Transamerica Corporation in 1972, the building has been owned by a Dutch insurance company since 1999. The Pyramid is located in the financial district of Montgomery and houses commercial and office spaces on its 48 floors.
The Bay Bridge, built in 1936, is often overshadowed by the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built a year later. Like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge was built on the San Francisco Bay. Over eight miles long, it connects San Francisco to Oakland and is part of Interstate 80.
Located on San Francisco Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park, Coit Tower was built in 1933 in an attempt to beautify the city. The inside of the tower was covered in murals, while the outside of the tower was left unpainted. From the Coit Tower, visitors can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge and more.
The climb seems very strenuous but the spectacular view from the top of the SF hills pays off all the effort. Don't miss the views atop Corona Heights, Buena Vista Park, or any of the city's 41 other peaks, covered in wind-sculpted trees and Victorian turrets. Another way to reach the hills is via the characteristic cable car. Lombard Street is the most famous street with its steep hairpin bends.
What to do in San Francisco
Take a tram ride
One of the most distinctive things about San Francisco are its trams. These characteristic public transport called Cable Cars run through the sloping streets of the city and are a symbol of the past, famous all over the world.
Bicycling on the Golden Gate Bridge
One of the best experiences to do in the city is to rent a bike and cross the iconic bridge located over the Bay.
One of the prettiest and nicest areas for shopping is Union Square. Next to this area stands China Town, the largest Chinese community in the United States. Here you can find beautiful souvenirs at affordable prices.