55 Reasons To Plan A Summer Trip To San Francisco

Just like Tony Bennett, the last time we were in San Francisco, we left our hearts there too, high on a hill, in a cable car, barely visible in the morning fog. It’s hard not to fall in love with the city—and it’s not just about the food or people or always slightly festive weather or the colorful rows of Victorian houses—it’s so much more than that. We could give you a thousand reasons to plan your summer trip to San Francisco, but let’s start with 55.

 

1. Endless opportunities to hike, bike and explore

San Francisco almost always has perfect weather – so the city and nearby Bay Area is full of opportunity and activity for you to go and explore. Whether you’re searching for nature walks, biking trails or historical tours you can find a little bit of everything and barely break a sweat with temperatures in the high 60s. The incredible views of the city are worth the exploration.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to one of the most photographed bridges in the world. On a good day, you can see the whole bridge, 1-mile in length, from multiple places along the water. If you want to get close check out the West Bluff Picnic Area or from the viewing point across the bay in Sausalito.

3. Painted Ladies

Most commonly known from the late 90s sitcom Full House, these houses are a colorful representation of the Victorian Era of homes that San Francisco is known for. Located across from Alamo Park they are a beautiful representation of the city’s history. Fun Fact! The house from Full House is not located on this street but in another part of the city.

View this post on Instagram

San Francisco mornings 💙💚💛

A post shared by Suiteness (@suiteness_) on

4. Fisherman’s Wharf

The wharf is full of different places to see and foods to eat and should definitely be on anyone’s list of things to do in San Francisco. You can find the famous Pier 39 and check out ships from WWII, old-fashioned candy shops, and even a few sea lions sunbathing out on the docks. As move through the Wharf, you’ll pass by the Boudin Sourdough Factory and Museum, souvenir shops and incredible views of the Golden Gate and Alcatraz.

5. Cable Cars

If you’re going to take a trip to San Francisco you have to take a ride on one of the famous Cable Cars. Taking you over some of the most beautiful hills and connecting you to beautiful neighborhoods across the city. It’s fun for families and friends as you get an iconic experience moving through the city.

6. Civic Center

The city boasts one of the most beautiful city centers in the country. If you’re looking to see the government process and local museums and art institutions head to this part of the city to explore the culture and history present.

7. Chinatown

The oldest Chinatown in the US is located right in the heart of San Francisco and features incredible food and shops along their streets. It’s the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia and is one of the top tourist destinations in the city.

8. North Beach

Little Italy has found its home in North Beach and the area is full of little eateries and coffee shops with plenty of flair. This neighborhood also features the famous City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Cafe. You can’t plan a trip to the city without stopping by and enjoying the culture in North Beach.

9. Dolores Park

A leave no trace city park is the perfect place to stop and enjoy some time in the sun while visiting the city. Get a taste of the city culture as you engage with city dweller spending the afternoon in the park with family and friends.

10. Mission District

If you want a taste of authentic cuisine, try out the tacos in this district. There are plenty of options that you can’t go wrong with your choice. Try La Taqueria or Lolo if you find yourself in the area.

View this post on Instagram

Always ♥️ #pride #loveislove 📸 by @hallburch

A post shared by Suiteness (@suiteness_) on

11. Silicon Valley

If you find the time to head down to this area you won’t regret the opportunity to visit places like Google and get to see where the countries tech innovation is happening. Reach out ahead of time to find opportunities to go on tours and visit the grounds of your favorite tech titan.

12. AT&T Park

One of the most beautiful stadiums in the country, AT&T Park hosts the Giants baseball team and sits right on the water. If you want to get a view of the bay, find tickets for the third level and get panoramic views of the water while enjoying a Giants dog or Ghiradelli sundae.

13. Blue Bottle

Considered a leader in the third wave coffee movement, Blue Bottle is headquartered in Oakland and is the go-to coffee for San Francisco locals. You can find a shop in nearly every neighborhood in the city and they are slowly expanding across the world.

14. Coit Tower

Completed in the 1930s you can see all the way to Alcatraz from this 210-foot tower. Enjoy views all over the bay and the city once you make it to the top of Telegraph Hill. Surrounded by Pioneer Park you’ll hear the noise of the local parrots sitting in the trees.

15. Parc 55 San Francisco

Parc 55 is one of the largest, eco-conscious hotels in the city, while also providing a modern high-rise environment with nearly 50 amenities including being pet-friendly,  a 24-hour fitness center, a business center and on-site dining options. The hotel includes a sustainable Thai restaurant, an American fare and microbrew bar, and a coffee shop that includes specialty drinks and baked goods. The hotel also boasts incredible views from its multiple suite options including the Bayview suite, with panoramic windows and a separate living room, and the Sunset suite, with city and water views and a separate dining and living space.

Stay at Parc 55 on your next trip to San Francisco

Stay at Parc 55 on your next trip to San Francisco

16. MoMA

Boasting 33,000 expert works of art at the Museum of Modern Art, the museum is a non-profit organization that is perfect for families and art lovers alike. Check out current exhibits before you head over to know what you’re headed for.

17. Botanical Garden

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is one of the most diverse gardens in the world. It’s a museum located in Golden Gate Park and has nearly 9,000 different plants that you can walk around and view.

18. Conservatory of Flowers

A greenhouse made of Victorian-era glass includes some of the world’s rarest and most beautiful flora. If you’re looking for a nice stroll or are a budding botanist this is the place for you to check out.

19. Sausalito

If you have the day to explore, head over to Sausalito for some beautiful views and fun shops. This town also has incredible views of the marina and breathtaking homes and foliage surrounding it. If you have the ferry over, you’ll get a chance to be out on the water and get a cool view of the Golden Gate.

20. Golden Gate Park

Larger than Central Park in NYC, this park is over 1000 acres of natural landscape and activities. Take a walk through as you hop around the activities or just enjoy the views made possible. Along the edges include some incredible eateries and shops that you can stop in as you explore. You can also bike through the park on the loop and enjoy a much quicker pace throughout the landscape.

21. Union Square

San Francisco’s #1 shopping and dining district, Union Square has some of the most luxury stores and walkable opportunities for tourists to explore. This is also a great area for hotels and transportation as it’s right along the BART, MUNI, and Cable Car lines.

22. Twin Peaks

If you’re looking for a hike with a view head over to Twin Peaks and climb 925 feet just outside the city. You’ll get an insane view of the city and get to stretch your legs outside of the mountainous city streets.  

23. Museum of Ice Cream

Perhaps one of the most photogenic museums in the city, the Museum of Ice Cream is a movement of imagination and creativity in collaboration with Target. Check out the cool exhibits and grab some ice cream while you’re there.

24. Boudin Bakery

If you’re a bread lover, the sourdough here is to die for. You can tour the museum and see the bakers sculpting bread into animals and figurines. While you’re here try out the amazing clam chowder in one of the famous bread bowls.

25. Hotel Majestic

Hotel Majestic truly exemplifies its name by exuding luxury through its interior decor and beautiful furnishings. The rooms are recently renovated with premium bedding and beds to create the ultimate experience. The building itself is one of the few Victorian buildings to survive both the Great Earthquake and the subsequent fire and lends itself to a hotel full of history. Its location is walking distance from the Asian Art Museum, Union Square, and the Civic Center and plenty of local eats but if you’re looking to stay on-site, the Cafe Majestic and the Butterfly Lounge are incredible options with unique drinks and cuisine.

Luxurious and yet, quaintly San Francisco, Hotel Majestic offers some fine options to stay on your trip to San Francisco

Luxurious and yet, quaintly San Francisco, Hotel Majestic offers some fine options to stay

26. Musee Mechanique

A for-profit interactive museum full of 20th-century penny games is a fun option when you over by Fisherman’s Wharf. Check out some of the oldest games ever created and the games that inspired today’s modern marvels. It’s Free Admission so a really awesome spot when you’re on a budget.

27. Ghirardelli Square

The old chocolate factory has now been renovated into an awesome village of shops, cafes and interactive spaces. A Bayside landmark since 1862, the square is one of the most successful reuse projects in history and still has plenty of space for you to grab some chocolate squares.

28. Ferry Building Marketplace

If you’re interested in seeing the history of San Francisco this is the place to stop. You can see a little bit of everything as you walk along the waterfront. Check out the artisanal stalls inside and watch as the ferry boats come and go across the bay.

29. California Street 

One of the most iconic views in the city is atop the intersection of California Street and Powell Street. It’s where the two Cable Car lines cross and you can see all the way down into the Financial district providing an amazing image of the city and memorable ride up and down the massive hill.

30. Crissy Field

Right near the Marina District and the Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field provides a great view of the bay and the Golden Gate. You can spend the day on the beach enjoying the warm sun or play volleyball on the provided courts.

31. Aquarium of the Bay

If you’re planning a family summer trip to San Francisco, this is the perfect place to take kids and learn all about the sea life in this area. With more than 20,000 creatures in the aquarium, you can learn about conservation efforts and natural changes in the bay.

32. Stinson Beach

If you’re looking for a place to swim and hike head over to Stinson Beach and enjoy the water and the nature surrounding it. While it’s a little bit out of the city there is a much calmer vibe there and you can spend the day exploring the California beauty.

33. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

One of the most snap-worthy stops in San Francisco you have to stop and try a cruffin, and take a picture in front of the I Got Baked In S.F. The spot was made for foodies and you won’t regret stopping by to try it out.

34. Sutro Baths

This historic bathhouse is located in the Lands End area and is still standing as a memory of what it once was. Stop by this area to hike and enjoy a little history by the water as this spot has been around since 1896.

35. The Fairmont 

The Fairmont is a stunning hotel with beautiful interiors that are reminiscent of its history. The unique atmosphere in the hotel is a combination of the fun Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, a tropical-inspired bar and restaurant, a posh lounge, and a cafe. The hotel boasts a variety of amenities including a health club, a spa, and impressive views of the city in their many unique and individually furnished hotel rooms. The Fairmont leaves little to want, especially when it’s just a 13-minute walk from Union Square and right on the Powell and California Cable Car lines. 

View this post on Instagram

Be still my heart 💗

A post shared by Suiteness (@suiteness_) on

36. Alcatraz 

One of the most famous prisons in the world, Alcatraz sits on an island in the middle of the bay and is an incredible memory of the gangster era. With so many surprises on the island, you have to book your tickets months in advance or you may miss out on this incredible opportunity.

37. 16th Avenue Steps

A beautifully tiled walkway in the city but the view really is on top. While it’s quite a hike up there if you’re looking for 360 views and lots of photo opportunities this is the place to stop.

38. Bike across the Golden Gate

If you’re looking for more than just a picture with the Golden Gate,  you can rent a bike from a local shop and bike the 1 mile across the bridge. You’ll get awesome views of both the Bay and the Pacific and can stop on the other side for some more pictures and exploring the Marin Headlands.

39. Grace Cathedral

Opened in 1934 and residing in Nob Hill this beautiful Cathedral has breathtaking stained glass and a labyrinth you can walk inside. If you’re in the city on a Tuesday you can even participate in a local yoga class inside the Cathedral.

40. Lombard Street

One of the most twisted streets in America, this is quite the marvel. It’s especially beautiful when all of the flowers and bushes are in bloom and you can see all of the cars make their careful descent as they drive/roll down the hill.

41. Japantown

Considered one of the last in the country, Japantown is also the oldest ethnic enclave in the United States.  Consisting of 6 city blocks you can enjoy local festivals and food available in the main shops and restaurants.

42. The Presidio

A former military post and now outdoor recreation hub, the Presidio is a great place to go and explore local museums and scenic overlooks. You can also check out historic buildings in this area and the modern opportunities in the area.

43. Wine Country

If you have time you must head up to wine country and enjoy the many wineries and tasting rooms. You could spend all day hopping from place to place and enjoying some of the nicest wine in the world or maybe book a hot air balloon ride across the vineyards. Make sure you plan ahead or consider a tour so you aren’t left stranded among the grapes.

44. San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is home to an incredible host of animals including Koko the Gorilla. It’s a great place for the family to spend an afternoon and learn all about the world. It’s right on the ocean and while it’s smaller than Oakland, it’s a beautiful location.

45. Proper Hotel San Francisco

Architecturally, Proper Hotel is one of the cities more Unique hotels as it is set in a distinctive flatiron-shaped building that dates back to 1907. The hotel has something for everyone including a rooftop bar, three on-site restaurants and plenty of local eats. It is also walking distance from Union and the Cable Car stop and is right next to multiple galleries and theatres. If you’re looking for a place to work and play, the Proper Hotel boasts a beautiful Premier Suite perfect for you, with a separate sitting area suited to your needs.

Starting from the lobby, everything at Proper Hotel San Francisco is inspired by art

Starting from the lobby, everything at Proper Hotel San Francisco is inspired by art

46. Lands End

With 30-mile views up and down the coast and a beautiful walk through the open grass and dark cypress. Follow the trail at Lands End lookout and you’ll get to the USS San Francisco memorial where you can get incredible views of the Golden Gate. Walk along the water and embrace the Californian coast.

47. Queen Wilhelmina Windmill

On your next trip to San Francisco, enjoy a little piece of Dutch history by finding this windmill in the Golden Gate Park. There are thousands of tulips surrounding the windmill and while it is unsuitable for visitors today, it’s still an incredible spot in the city.

48. Marina District

Chock full of chic stores and trendy restaurants, this district is walking distance from a lot of awesome city stops, including the Palace of Fine Arts and Lombard Street. Stop on by after a day at Chrissy Field or a visit to the Disney Museum and enjoy what the area has to offer.

49. California Academy of Sciences

If you’re 21+ this is a really cool stop during their Thursday late night cocktail hour. Enjoying wandering the museum from 6-10 with a drink in your hand. Each week there is a different theme to explore and if you’re under 21 you can explore the museum during the day.

50. Club Deluxe

Reminiscent of old New York jazz houses, Club Deluxe offers an opportunity to embrace the red lights and sound of jazz. Enjoy a full menu and live music any night of the week, with occasional special guests in other genres.

51. Craft Beers

San Francisco is host to plenty of craft beer opportunities, including stalls at AT&T Park where you can partake in local favorites. If you’re more interested in the brewery scene there are plenty to choose from across the entire city and even on the outskirts.

52. The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel

If you’re looking for the glamour of the past without giving up modern sophistication this is absolutely the place for you. The lobby along includes eclectic furniture and whimsical portraits line the halls. This hotel is in the heart of the city and has plenty of on-site dining options that people declare is a must to experience. Up in the suites, you’ll find comfortable spaces and separate seating areas for you to enjoy after a long day exploring the city. Which can be done with complimentary hotel bicycles or on foot due to the great location is provides.

Old-world glamour meets modern sophistication at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Francisco.

Old-world glamour meets modern sophistication at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Francisco.

53. Haas- Lilienthal House

The only Victorian-era house still intact in the entire city, this house boasts over 100 years in age and still has authentic furniture inside. The home is regularly open as a museum and the artifacts inside can be viewed during those hours. The space can also be rented for private events leaving it as one of the most exclusive spots in the city.

54. Muir Woods

If you’re an avid outdoorsman/woman a trip to Muir Woods could be perfect for you. With multiple hiking paths that lead into the State Park and down to the beach, you will find endless adventure among the redwoods. Depending on where you enter the woods you could find yourself enjoying a leisurely pace among the states beautiful giants or headed for the peak of a major hill.

55. Palace of Fine Arts

Everything about this iconic San Francisco landmark is fine. Perhaps one of the best places to click a photo for the ‘gram is outside, right in front of the lake. Or maybe in front of the colonnade that carries the “Weeping Maidens”. The story goes, the maidens were originally created in 1915 to express the sorrow of life sans art. The sculptures were then recreated in 1969 when the Palace was rebuilt. The original plan was for the maidens to cry into large boxes that would hold plants watered by their tears. But the plants were never added due to insufficient funds. With or without the plants and tears, definitely, a must visit when in San Francisco.