Things to Do in San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island Etc.!

The Best Things to Do in San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island & More!

San Francisco is home to a bevy of unique and exciting experiences that’ll leave you clamouring for more!

Mention San Francisco and the first things that come to mind are probably the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. But aside from these two iconic attractions, San Francisco is home to a bevy of unique and exciting experiences that’ll leave you clamouring for more. Find out what makes this city so charming as you explore the best spots around!

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1. Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Image credit: Nicolas Raymond

One of the most recognised symbols of the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of San Francisco’s biggest icons and tourist attractions. Whether you decide to take a ferry or simply walk along this incredible suspension bridge, it’s impossible not to gape in admiration at this architectural work of art. If this amazing bridge inspires the photographer in you, then head to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point which will grant you the perfect vantage point to snap that iconic shot.

Address:

Golden Gate Bridge: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA

Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point: Highway 101 Northbound near Alexander Ave. off-ramp, Sausalito CA 94965 (the north end of the bridge)

Admission Fee: Adult: US$45, Child: US$25 (average rates vary depending on the tour agency)

2. Delve into Alcatraz Island’s infamous past

Alcatraz, San Francisco

Image credit: Paille

Alcatraz Island harbours a dark past as “The Rock”, which once housed a military prison that was practically impossible to escape from. Dig into the rich history of the island through the museum exhibits where you can find an array of artifacts from days gone by. To immerse yourself in the island’s fascinating past as a prison, take a tour of the cells and learn about the lives of the inmates.

Those who are of slightly stronger constitution may want to opt for the night tour or behind-the-scenes tour which takes you deeper into the recesses of Alcatraz, both literally and metaphorically. Unlock hidden sections of the building and participate in talks that will give you deeper insights into life on Alcatraz.

It’s not all grave and sombre though! Take a stroll through the lovely historical gardens or look out for special artist exhibitions that happen throughout the year.

Address: Take a boat with Alcatraz Cruises from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing

Admission Fee:

Day Tour: US$38 (adult), US$35.75 (senior), US$23.25 (child)

Night Tour: US$45 (adult), US$44 (junior), US$41.75 (senior), US$26.75 (child)

Behind-the-scenes tour (inclusive of night tour and not for children or the unfit): US$90 (adult), US$86 (junior), US$83.75 (senior)

3. Calm your soul at the Muir Woods

Muir Woods, San Francisco

Image credit: Chris Favero

These tall imposing trees look like the set of a famous film, whether it’s for a romantic rendezvous or a thrilling chase scene. Feel free to re-enact either in Muir Woods, a United States National Monument managed by the National Park Service. These trees can grow up to 380 feet tall and are about 500 to 800 years old (the oldest tree is 1200 years old)! Soothe your mind as you walk through this peaceful redwood forest and take in its lush greenery and peaceful surrounds. You can even go for a run if you feel up to it!

Address: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA

Admission Fee: US$10 (16 and over), free for children

4. Stroll through the Japanese Tea Gardens

Japanese Tea Gardens, San Francisco

Japanese Tea Gardens, San Francisco

Image credit: trophygeek

Located right in the heart of the Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden is a popular attraction in San Francisco that boasts classic Japanese elements such as pagodas, arched bridges, native Japanese plants and serene koi ponds. Created by architect Makoto Hagiwara, this tranquil and harmonic garden thrums with a surreal energy and its vibrant landscape feels like a photograph come to life. A definite hit on Instagram!

Address: 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco CA 94118

Admission: Adult: US$9.00; Senior (65+) and Youth (12-17): US$6.00; Child (5-11): US$3.00 (Non-Residents); Child (4 and under): Free

5. Hike around Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, San Francisco

Yosemite National Park, San Francisco

Image credit: Karlis Dambrans (top), Becker1999 (bottom left), Jeff P (bottom right)

Yes, the photo from your Macbook software update is an actual place. Known for its plunging waterfalls and jaw-dropping granite cliffs, Yosemite National Park is a mighty valley that is truly a gift from Mother Earth. Indulge in a variety of activities such as camping, biking, hiking, water sports and even horse riding to get the most out of your park experience. You might even have the opportunity to get up close and personal with adorable chipmunks during your hike!

We suggest you set aside at least one full day for this stunning natural wonderland. Definitely a must for nature lovers!

Address: Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 (Visitor Center is at 9035 Village Drive)

Admission: US$30 per vehicle (pass valid for 7 days)

6. Get lost in Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze

Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, San Francisco

Image credit: jon collier (left), K&P Maze Creations (right)

Let loose and go wild at Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, locally rated as one of the most psychedelic places in the city! Created by Charles Magowan, this genius trickster has you questioning your reality and existence with this labyrinth set-up of glowing mirrors. It’s best to enjoy this as a group, so get your squad to tag along! Getting lost in this maze isn’t half as bad too, especially when its surroundings light up like something out of a magical fairytale.

Address: Building O-11,  Pier 39, San Francisco, California, 94111, United States

Admission: US$5 per entry

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7. Spook yourself out at Musee Mecanique

Musee Mecanique, San Francisco

Image credit: Micheala (left), Patrick Denker (right)

Boasting over 300 mechanical antiques, ranging from orchestrions to coin-operated pianos and arcade games, Musee Mecanique is an absolute treat for anyone looking to take a peek into a magical emporium of antiquated toys and knick-knacks.

Every item inside holds a piece of San Francisco’s history and culture and a visit to this museum promises an incredibly insightful and fun experience like no other. Remember to snap a black and white photo in one of their old school photo booths for memories sake!

Address: Pier 45, Shed A, Taylor Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, California, 94105, United States

Admission: Free admission but bring as many coins as possible!

8. Be awed by Vaillancourt Fountain’s fascinating architecture

Vaillancourt Fountain, San Francisco

Image credit: Ernest McGray, Jr.

Vaillancourt Fountain is a 12m high precast concrete structure that is an architectural marvel and truly a sight to behold. Though this rough beauty has faced its fair share of opposition (one reason being the USD$250,000 in annual operating costs), locals have grown to love and accept it as an iconic fixture of San Francisco.

Vaillancourt Fountain, San FranciscoImage credit: mliu92

Fun fact: The fountain is best known for U2’s 1987 performance where lead singer, Bono, spontaneously spray-painted graffiti on the sculpture that read, “Rock N Roll Stops The Traffic”. He was arrested and fined, of course!

Address: Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco, California, 94111, United States

Admission: Free admission

9. Let loose at The Great Northern Club

The Great Northern Club, San Francisco

Image credit: The Great Northern

The Great Northern Club offers an unbeatable clubbing experience with hypnotising visuals and an 80,000-watt custom Void sound system. Apart from the spellbinding aesthetics and Art Deco-inspired interiors, the club sets itself apart by not only supplying electronic beats but also hosting live bands, singers and guest DJs for some solid, fresh music.

Address: 119 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Admission Fee: US$15-20 (ranges from event to event)

10. Tour the city on a cable car

San Francisco Cable Car

Image credit: Ian Chen

Hear the bells clanging and the cables screeching as you ride the city’s trademark cable car up and down the hills of San Francisco.

Union Square San Francisco

Image credit: b r e n t

There are many cable car lines in the city but some notable ones are the Powell-Hyde lines and the California Line. The former stops by the cable car museum and the Russian Hill, while the latter drops you off right at Union Square!

Admission Fee: 1-day visitor passport: US$14; 3-day visitor passport US$22; 7-day visitor passport US$28

San Francisco is also known for its vast variety of food options. Here are some unconventional but pretty unique ones to choose from!

11. Satisfy your sweet tooth with DOUGHP

DOUGHP Desserts San Francisco

Image credit: DOUGHP

Remember trying to steal a bit of cookie dough out of your mother’s cookie batter? At DOUGHP, their signature dessert is made out of actual cookie dough, served in a flavoured waffle cone and topped with your topping of choice. Made with natural ingredients, DOUGHP easily wins the hearts of many and is a crowd-favourite amongst millennials for its Instagram-worthy aesthetic!

Besides being experts at making drool-worthy delights, DOUGHP also seeks to raise awareness for mental health and addictions, struggles that personally resonate with the owner.

Address: 2F Pier 39, next to Crab House | 5F, AT&T Park, near Sec.310

Price range: US$6 – US$20

12. Spice it up at Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine

Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine

Image credit: Mai Truong

At Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine, enjoy an explosion of flavours where India meets Italy! Enjoy sizzling Indian curries with creamy, hot mozzarella cheese on a fluffy, yet crisp pizza dough. If you’re a big fan of fusion food, Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine is not to be missed!

Address: 3489 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

Price range: US$10 – US$20

From only S$934*, your American dreams can soon become a reality with United Airlines!

With TWICE DAILY NONSTOP flights from Singapore to San Francisco, enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose the best time to arrive at your destination!

What’s more, flying with United Airlines allows you to access over 280 destinations across the Americas! Continue your journey to New York, Las Vegas or Boston for a party in the USA that’s twice the fun!

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About Authors

Chloe Ang
Chloe Ang

Chloe spends her life trying to find the divine balance between eating, reading and travelling. When she’s not bounding off to explore new places, she’s likely slothing it out and stuffing her face. Her dream is to eat and read her way around the world, but her ultimate dream though is to be a cat.

CLICK TO SEE MORE ARTICLES BY Chloe Ang

Kanesh Pillai
Kanesh Pillai

A sad Manchester United fan and a deluded superhero. Kanesh hopes to be worthy enough to lift Mjolnir and fly around the world without rendering himself broke.

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