The jewel at the heart of Northern California, the Golden Gate City is famed for its architecture, cable cars and landmarks, including the well-known landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are looking for things to do in San Francisco, we have created a list of the best shopping, sports events, sightseeing walks, historical sites, museums and theatres to see.
Photo by Casey Horner
Enjoy leisurely shopping
In San Francisco, there is shopping to suit everyone. The city has a number of distinctive shopping areas to explore, from luxury stores to craft shops.
For high-end shopping, you need go no further than Union Square. See the classic American department stores, such as Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, and visit San Francisco’s own famed department store Gump’s. There is also the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall for all your shopping needs. Going shopping in Union Square is one of the best things to do in San Francisco when it rains, as the stores are indoors. Union Square is a 5-minute drive or a 15-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
One of the top things to do in San Francisco is to visit the independent coffee stores and shops in the Hayes Valley district. Based on Hayes Street, independent coffee shops to visit include Ritual Coffee Roasters and Blue Bottle Coffee. If you are a fan of handmade and vintage jewellery, Ver Unica and Lava 9 offer beautiful pieces to suit everyone. For sports and travel lovers, Marine Layer sells San Francisco-made sportswear, while Flight 001 offers trendy travel items. Hayes Valley is a 5-minute drive or a 17-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
Mission District is San Francisco’s boutique shopping area, offering handmade and crafted items for sale along streets decorated with interesting graffiti art. Valencia Street has a number of independent stores and vintage shops to visit, including fashion store Betabrand, nature curiosity shop Paxton Gate, and second-hand bookstore Dog Eared Books.
Stop off at La Taqueria, a famed 50-year-old San Francisco eatery that provides all the taco and burrito dishes you could ever want to try. If you are travelling with kids, there is also the Bi-Rite Creamery, a delicious independent ice cream store, to keep them happy. Mission District is a 10-minute drive or a 30-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
See an exciting sports event
The Bay area is home to a number of amazing sporting teams across several disciplines. Whether you are a fan of baseball, basketball, football, hockey or soccer, seeing a home team play is one of the cool things to do in San Francisco.
San Francisco Giants Baseball
Photo by Travis Wise
This National League West Division team plays in San Francisco’s AT&T Park regularly. The team has won the World Series Championships three times since 2010. Catch one the team’s games during September and October 2017. AT&T Park is a 10-minute drive or a 30-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
Golden State Warriors Basketball
Representing the San Francisco Bay area, the Golden State Warriors basketball team compete in the Western Conference Pacific Division, with their season running from October 2017 until April 2018. The Oracle Arena is a 24-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
San Francisco 49ers Football
San Francisco’s National Football League team is the San Francisco 49ers, with their season games taking place between August 2017 to January 2018. Book tickets now to see these Super Bowl Championship winners play on their home turf at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara. Levi’s Stadium is a 43-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
San Jose Sharks Hockey
Representing the entirety of the Bay Area in hockey, the San Jose Sharks Hockey team are the only team to compete in the National Hockey League since 1991. See them play at the SAP Centre or the “Shark Tank” during their season between October 2017 and April 2018. The SAP Centre is a 49-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
Walking tours of the city
San Francisco offers 49 square miles of city to explore on foot. There are many beautiful walking routes to take to explore the city at ground level, taking in the best of what the coast and the city have to offer.
The Shoreline Walk
Starting at the San Francisco Maritime National History Museum, you can walk the coastline to visit sites such as Fort Mason, the Palace of Fine Arts and more up until Fort Point. The area is protected by the National Park Service to preserve the area’s abundant 19th Century history. San Francisco Maritime National History Museum Park is an 11-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
Photo by Umer Sayyam
One of the best free things to do in San Francisco is to walk the nearly two-mile length of the Golden Gate Bridge. Suspended 200 feet above the Bay’s shining waters, you will see remarkable views of the city. Remember to take a jacket, as the winds are fairly fierce. The Golden Gate Bridge is a 15-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
A Historical Journey to the Presidio
Take a walk through San Francisco's military past at The Presidio, a post that has been in operation over 218 years. See the Letterman Army Hospital, the National Cemetery, the Pet Cemetery, Crissy Field and the Officer's Club. There is also the mile-long Lover's Lane, one of San Francisco’s oldest routes, on which soldiers journeyed to visit their loved ones in the city. The Presidio is a 17-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
Visit Historic Sights
One of the top ten things to do in San Francisco is to visit the centres of its rich history, spanning more than two hundred years. Aside from the previously mentioned historical sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge, there are plenty of places to visit to get a sense of the city’s varied past.
This popular tourist attraction covers most of the northern waterfront of San Francisco, spanning Ghirardelli Square to Pier 35. In the 1800s, this area was filled with fishermen selling their wares, and is still home to San Francisco’s fishing fleet. Try the famed fresh seafood at the local restaurants, see the sea lion colony near Pier 39 and see decommissioned submarines and cargo ships. Fisherman’s Wharf is an 11-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
Photo by Rodrigo Soares
This small island is famed for its now-abandoned prison, which once held notable prisoners such as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelley and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud. See the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast as well as the prison itself, which can be visited from the city via boat. Pier 33 for the boat to Alcatraz is a 13-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
This historical fort defended San Francisco Bay during the Californian Gold Rush right the way through to World War II. Located right next the Golden Gate Bridge, this fort is preserved by the National Park Service and hosts Living History Days and guided tours for visitors. Fort Point is a 20-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
See Art & Visit Museums
De Young Museum
Photo by Giusee Milo
This famed art museum is based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, displayed over 27,000 works of art and featuring many amazing pieces of American art from the 17th – 21st Centuries. As well as showing beautiful paintings, photography, textiles and more, the museum’s ninth floor Observation Level of the Hamon Tower gives visitors a unique 360-degree view of San Francisco. The de Young Museum is a 15-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
The Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts
Situated in the beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens, this centre offers visual art, film and video, performances and community programmes that celebrate art in all its forms. It costs $10 for general admission to see the gallery’s exhibitions. The Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts is a 4-minute drive or a 15-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
The Walt Disney Family Museum
This museum is dedicated to the life and work of Disney’s creator, Walt Disney. The museum has interactive galleries and exhibits narrated by the man himself. View original drawings, cartoons, films and music from the world of Disney. This is one of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids, as Disney classics screen at the museum every day. The Walt Disney Family Museum is a 16-minute drive from YOTEL San Francisco.
Appreciate Theatres & Performances
If you are looking for things to do in San Francisco at night, consider visiting one of the city’s many theatres for a performance. San Francisco has many vibrant theatres to visit, with shows for every taste.
The San Francisco Playhouse
This theatre is San Francisco’s off-Broadway location, showing award-winning musicals and plays. Its current offering includes the La Cage Aux Folles musical and the Zenith World Premiere play, with its new season line up due to begin in September 2017. The San Francisco Playhouse is a 5-minute drive or a 14-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
The Orpheum Theatre
This San Francisco Historical Landmark was built in 1926 to host silent films, vaudeville shows, films and comedy. Current shows include Broadway musical Something Rotten!, dance musical An American in Paris, and Disney’s Aladdin. The Orpheum Theatre is a 1-minute drive or a 3-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
The War Memorial Opera House
Photo by David
The War Memorial Opera House is a landmark building in San Francisco, built in the beautiful Beaux-Arts style by architect Arthur Brown Jr. and opening in 1932. The opera house is home to the San Francisco Ballet. Current shows include the Nutcracker Ballet. The War Memorial Opera House is a 4-minute drive or an 11-minute walk from YOTEL San Francisco.
Book a room at the YOTEL San Francisco to explore the best of things to see and do in this wonderful city. View our range of luxurious cabins or find out more about facilities and services.