10 Amazing Experiences in the Golden City

As one of the world’s most beautiful port cities, there’s no shortage of things to do in San Francisco—so we’ve done the legwork and narrowed it down for you. Grab a comfortable pair of walking shoes and prepare yourself—and your thighs— for a city like no other.

Golden Gate BridgePhoto: Shutterstock

Bike the World’s Most Famous Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is the symbol of San Francisco for a reason: it’s simply magical, whether shrouded in mist or showing off its distinctive orange hue under the sun. Even when you’re several hundred feet away, it somehow seems like an illusion, but once you’ve admired it and taken the requisite photos—get right on it! You can bike, drive or even walk across the structure. On the northern end of the Golden Gate lies Sausalito, a city with a population of just over 7,000 people—grab some seafood for lunch, enjoy the views, and take the ferry back to San Francisco!

Travel tips: Wear a hoodie or a hat, as the winds are incredibly strong! If you’re biking across the bridge, remember that you’ll be sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians and cyclists going both ways, so be safe and take it slow.

Here’s what 10 famous landmarks looked like 100 years ago.

Things to do in San Francisco: ChinatownPhoto: David Shao/Shutterstock

Feast in Chinatown

The first three Chinese immigrants arrived here by boat in 1848—and the rest is history! The largest and oldest Chinatown outside of Asia (covering 24 square blocks), you could imagine you’ve left North America when you pass through one of the Green Dragon gates. But don’t just use your eyes: let yourself get lost for an hour (or two) in the alleys and side streets marked with calligraphy. Peruse an herbal shop, sip tea in a tearoom, or pop in and visit a fortune cookie factory. It’s not hard to time your visit with a Chinese festival or parade, either.

Travel tip: Be sure to visit at night! The crowds decrease significantly past 7 p.m., and Chinatown’s famous red lanterns are lit up.

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San Francisco cable carPhoto: Sean Xu/Shutterstock

Get Nostalgic on a Cable Car

The first cable cars rolled down the tracks in 1873, and it’s a testament to San Francisco that they’ve still kept running. Everyone loves a photo op on the Powell Street line with its breathtaking views, but it’s usually crammed with tourists and the wait to get on one can be lengthy. Try the California line, which runs east/west and offers equally stunning views of the city, but be sure to hop on a heritage streetcar as well. The light rail takes you on a lovely ride along from the shops along Market Street to the Bay. Each one is painted differently than the last and come from cities all over the world. Even if you’re in San Francisco for just two days, buy a transit pass; one-way on a cable car is $7 USD.

Cable cars have got nothing on these unusual modes of transportation!

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