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So you’re heading to San Francisco and looking for the top things to do? Then look no further, we’ve rounded up the top 10 things to see and do in San Francisco, from exploring the eerie former prison-island of Alcatraz through to sampling some of the best pizza in the country:
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most iconic sight and the world’s most photographed bridge. The epic red suspension bridge spans across one-mile of the straight between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Most people hire a bike to cycle across the bridge and soak in the amazing views of the city on one side or the open sea on the other side. You can also walk across the bridge or hop on a bus. It’s one of the best places in the city for a selfie, so bring your phone or camera fully charged.
2. Try Clam Chowder
You can’t visit San Francisco and not try Clam Chowder. The dish is made from a large, round sourdough bread bowl, filled with a delicious clam chowder soup. The best place to try the delicacy is at Fisherman’s Wharf, which is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas. The traditional wharf is filled with souvenir shops and places to eat fresh seafood.
3. Say Hello to the Sea Lions
Some of the city’s most famous inhabitants are its beloved sea lions and you can see them sunbathing, barking and frolicking on the wooden walkway at Pier 39. No-one is sure why the sea lions chose this spot, however, it became their new home after the infamous 1989 earthquake, which destroyed much of the city.
4. Visit The World’s Most Crooked Street
Lombard Street is known as the ‘world’s most crooked street’. Equally difficult to walk up and walk down, it’s not for the faint-hearted because it’s impossibly steep. The street, which is in a distinct zigzag shape, has eight hairpin bends and is great fun to drive down in a taxi.
5. Explore Alcatraz
The former prison island of Alcatraz was once home to some of the country’s most notorious criminals. The island was originally used as a lighthouse point, before being converted into a prison in the 1870s. You can take a boat tour to circle around the island, or hop on a ferry to the island itself. Visit the prison to find out more about creative escape attempts and some of the prison’s most dangerous inhabitants.
6. Eat Pizza in Little Italy
San Francisco’s Little Italy district is like walking into a small version of Naples. Here you can arguably find some of the country’s best pizza joints, created from centuries of immigration and perfected recipes. The tastiest places to grab a slice include Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Golden Boy Pizza, and Za Pizza. And when you need somewhere to crash after eating too much pizza, check out all places to stay in San Francisco.
7. Ride a Cable Car
When visiting San Francisco, you have to ride a cable car. The city is home to the largest manually-operated cable car system in the world, and the iconic cabs take you up and down the city’s hills. The cars have been transporting people across the city since the 19th century and are one of the city’s most iconic sights.
8. Explore Golden Gate Park
For an afternoon of culture, head to Golden Gate Park. The park is home to a stunning, Victorian-era flower conservatory, the de Young Fine Arts Museum and the Academy of Sciences. If you’re in luck with the weather, the park is a beautiful spot to unwind, bring a picnic or buy some snacks from vendors.
9. Visit the Painted Ladies
Painted Ladies is a term to describe Victorian and Edwardian-era houses painted in several colors and found throughout the city. The best-known of the houses are the seven houses that sit side-by-side on the corner of Hayes Street, referred to as ‘The Painted Ladies’. The houses, which are all built in the same style, feature different colors and are so picturesque that they have been featured in many movies.
10. Walk Through the Country’s Oldest Chinatown
San Francisco’s historic Chinatown is said to be the oldest in the country. China Town is a maze of winding streets filled with the delicious aroma of Chinese food, shops selling ancient potions and herbs, and fortune cookie stalls.