San Francisco Cable Car Experience

San Francisco Bucket List: 6 Must-Do Experiences

If you’ve yet to visit San Francisco, chances are your bucket list of must-see destinations and must-do experiences is pretty big—and for good reason. With a city as big, beautiful and vibrant as San Fran, there’s so much to keep you entertained—and often, so little time to actually see and do it all.

If you’re looking to hit up the city’s highlights on your next weekend getaway or travel excursion, consider this your official bucket list reference guide for all of your exploring needs. Here are six must-do experiences to try the next time you’re in the Bay Area.

Marvel at the Palace of Fine Arts.

A walk through the Palace of Fine Arts will make you feel like you’ve suddenly been transported to Italy—totally forgetting that you’re in San Francisco. While the exquisitely grand space was initially built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition, it now serves as a venue for everything from public concerts to trade shows.

Ride a cable car.

While the cable car is a notable icon of San Francisco’s culture and public transportation system, it also acts as the world’s last manually operated cable car system. Not only does it help to make getting around the city a little easier, but it also helps to preserve another moment in time.

Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.

A trip to San Francisco just isn’t complete without a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. But if you want to spend more time on the famed bridge beyond a car—while still not having to make the incredible trek across the suspension bridge—it doesn’t get much better beyond a picturesque bike ride. Plus, once you’re done on the Golden Gate, you can extend your bike ride through the Presidio, too.

Snap a picture in front of The Painted Ladies.

While there’s a storied history between San Francisco’s most famous set of Victorian and Edwardian-style homes, chances are you probably only recognize them because of their place in pop culture—like in the opening credits of “Full House.” Regardless of where you know them from, they embody the city’s unique charm and are definitely worth snapping a photo in front of.

Treat yourself to ice cream at Ghirardelli Square.

Ghirardelli Chocolate is admittedly delicious in just about any setting or city. But the rich chocolate takes on a new life at Ghirardelli Square—where an emporium of sweet treats, decadent delights and other flavorful creations from the chocolatier come together is one glossy, nostalgic space.

Stroll through the Presidio.

Even in a city as buzzy and vibrant as San Francisco, residents still need a natural space where they can unwind, detox and find freedom away from cluttered, often hectic environment of the central downtown area. For locals and tourists alike, it’s found at the Presidio—a 1,500-acre park on a former military post that now acts as a large-scale park composed of walking paths, bike trails and more.

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