Is San Francisco Worth Visiting?

San Francisco is a hot spot for tourists, whether international or local. This city sees over 20 million visitors every year! With all the hubbub, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. 

The Incredible Adventures team is based in San Francisco and has led tours in the city and surrounds for years. We may be a little biased, but we have good reason to believe San Francisco is among the top places in the world to experience.

Are you still asking if San Francisco worth visiting? We’re here to give you all the reasons why it is! If you don’t need any more convincing, check out our San Francisco tours, or feel free to contact us about any of our other excursions.

A street in San Francisco slopes down towards a view of Alcatraz Island in the distance, under a partly cloudy sky.

Visit San Francisco’s Iconic Landmarks

You can’t think of San Francisco without thinking of the Golden Gate Bridge, or Alcatraz, or even the Painted Ladies. This city has numerous iconic landmarks and for good reason. San Francisco has a storied history that is built into every attraction you see. 

The Golden Gate Bridge is arguably the most emblematic monument of San Francisco. Having spanned San Francisco Bay since the 1930s, the bridge is not only a marvel of engineering but a symbol of ingenuity. With its bright red color, it’s become an integral part of San Francisco’s landscape. You can cross the bridge as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver, journeying from the city to Marin County.

In the waters below the bridge, you can find the former Alcatraz prison on Alcatraz Island. This prison has held some of the most infamous names in American crime history, including Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. 

While located on an island, a number of prisoners attempted to escape and swim to San Francisco’s shores. Three of them, Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin, committed an elaborate escape in 1962. Their fates are still not certain to this day.

On land, the Painted Ladies are some of the most picturesque homes in the city and maybe even the country. With their colorful and eclectic facades, these Victorian houses have appeared in films and TV shows. They’ve come to represent the lively spirit of San Francisco and you can learn more about their history in our blog: Why are Houses in San Francisco Colorful?

You can see all of these incredible attractions and more on our 2-Day San Francisco City Tour & Alcatraz Tour, which provides a thorough overview of the city in a short amount of time.

A view of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, featuring the prison complex and a lighthouse, surrounded by water with distant hills partially covered by clouds.

Taste Delectable Food in San Francisco

Nearly everywhere you go in San Francisco you are bound to find an assortment of eateries that will tickle your taste buds. Hit up Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf for some of the freshest seafood around. The pier is lined with restaurants where you can dine on San Francisco specialties such as Dungeness crab and cioppino.

In the Mission District, you’ll find another local staple: the Mission burrito. Since it first arrived on the scene in the 1960s, it has become a major part of San Francisco’s diet. There are plenty of family-run taquerias in the Mission District, offering up authentic burritos with a range of ingredients.

Don’t miss out on visiting the oldest Chinatown in North America, where egg tarts, Peking duck, and bao are all on the menu. Make a reservation at Mister Jiu’s for a Michelin-starred experience or go to Sam Wo Restaurant for legendary meals that have been served up since 1907.

A large sign with a red crab inside a ship's wheel reads "Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco" set against a blue sky background.

Tour San Francisco’s Incredible Museums

From arts to sciences, San Francisco has cutting-edge museums to cater to every interest. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is the first museum on the West Coast dedicated to 20th-century art, and displays the works of famed artists such as Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, and Georgia O’Keeffe. 

Go further back in time with a visit to the Legion of Honor, where you can view works dating back thousands of years. Admire a casting of Rodin’s The Thinker, Monet’s Water Lilies, and ancient artifacts. 

Expand your horizons and discover over 18,000 artworks at the Asian Art Museum, with some pieces dating as far back as the year 338. At the Museum of the African Diaspora, explore works solely by artists of the African diaspora in a celebration of Black cultures. 

If science is more up your alley, then you shouldn’t miss the California Academy of Sciences. This natural history museum spans over 400,000 square feet and houses a planetarium, aquarium, rainforest exhibit, and penguin habitat. For a hands-on experience, visit the Exploratorium. Founded by physicist Frank Oppenheimer, this museum has incredible exhibits on topics ranging from light to wind. In the Tactile Dome, you can explore a darkened zone purely through touch!

A detailed stone arch with sculpted reliefs of figures on either side under a clear blue sky.

Explore the Outdoors in San Francisco

San Francisco is not simply a hub for urban activities. The city is surrounded by natural beauty and dotted with parks. You can go on sailing in San Francisco Bay or explore over 1,000 acres of nature in Golden Gate Park. There are also plenty of trails to enjoy in the city, which you can learn more about with our blog on the Top 5 Urban Hikes in San Francisco.

Better yet, San Francisco is a short drive away from stunning reserves. At the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, you can camp on grounds with views of the Golden Gate Bridge or go fishing on the shores. Just next door is the Muir Woods National Monument, home to California’s famed towering Redwoods. Only a half-hour drive from the city, you can visit Muir Woods as part of our Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Tour and immerse yourself in this ‘living museum’. 

A view looking up at tall trees with green foliage, forming a circular opening in the canopy, with the sky visible through the center.

Tour San Francisco with Incredible Adventures

As you can see, there is no shortage of things to experience in San Francisco. Whether you’re an art buff or a foodie, there is something for everyone that will make visiting San Francisco worthwhile. 

If you’re ready to start exploring, get in touch with us regarding our tours. We are also happy to arrange a private San Francisco tour that will take you to all of your desired locations!