Unique Things to See and Do in San Francisco
- Watch a 49ers football game (in a pub or at stadium)
- Visit the Exploratorium
- Explore the Asian Art Museum
- Ride a San Francisco cable car
- Catch a show at the San Francisco Dungeon
- Take in a baseball game
- Kayak around the harbour
- Enjoy a walk through Chinatown
A Glimpse into San Francisco
One of the most progressive cities in the United States, many people come here to explore the diversity in the people and to open up to their own self-expression. Here are some quick facts that will give you an idea of how this city came to be. First, it’s the 14th largest city in the United States, and houses the California Supreme Court, Sierra Club, and Twitter. The mainly Democratic elected officials are fairly liberal on issues of marriage equality, women’s rights, and environmental protection, and most politicians and city officials moved to San Francisco. The more progressive citizens often advocate for the homeless, fewer taxes, less development, and generally move away from big business. The other major influence is the diversity of the population, with strong Latino and Chinese groups too.
So what does all that mean for the traveller? There are two big influences in the city, one which is big business and the other which people, community, and arts focused. This combination allows for some fantastic creativity and some really inspiring sights to see and conversations to be had.
Before you travel there, check out which festivals, fares, and markets might be springing up. There are even a couple “pop-up” restaurants that literally pop-up in different locations around the city and only last for a day or two. They try to mimic the real feel of a South Pacific street food market, and the food is traditional and incredibly good.
Getting around San Francisco
There are no two ways about it. If you travel to San Francisco you need to bring some good walking shoes and be prepared for some major hills. For those who don’t walk well, even getting up the next tram stop can be a venture. That’s not to say that you can’t get around though. San Francisco has some fun ways to get around the city. You can take everything from the trams to an open air double decker bus, or a taxi, a cable car on the Muni Transit, or even bicycle.
Within the city, there is the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which is the best way to get in from the airport. Using BART is low cost and avoids the city traffic jams.They also have a mobile app for schedules, trip planners, and fares, which makes coordinating activities a lot easier. To purchase tickets, there are vending machines at the stations.
Did you know…?
Fortune Cookies were first invented by a Japanese resident of San Francisco.
Did you ALSO know…?
That the Palace of Fine Arts was only meant to be a temporary structure? It was constructed in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and was meant to be demolished afterwards.
Best time of year to travel to San Francisco
San Francisco is not the kind of weather you would expect in sunny California, because really it is very mild, often windy, and can change on a dime. The summers are the most popular time and yet it can be the really wet, foggy, and cold comparatively to other cities. The fog is present in the mornings and then usually burns off by early afternoon with an average temperature of 21C.
The autumn months, late August and September, typically have higher temperatures ranging up to 32C. And there appears to be less fog in the mornings, or it burns off faster. Regardless, the days are warmer and there are fewer crowds. This a great time to follow the locals to all the great spots. During the winter, the temperature can drop down to a few degrees above zero, but with being a coastal city the dampness can feel quite chilling.
San Francisco is the city for layering up when comes to clothing. You could experience fog, rain, sun, and cloudiness all in a few hours, so dress appropriately. That means wear a light t-shirt under a long sleeve one, with perhaps a sweatshirt and/or a jacket. A little mini umbrella that fits into a bag can be helpful too. And worst case scenario, if you are cold at Fisherman’s Wharf there are plenty of tourist shops that would love to sell you a San Francisco sweatshirt!
Ready to plan your visit to San Francisco? Check out these popular guides and trips.