San Francisco is the jewel of Northern California having started as a destination for miners arriving there in the Gold Rush of 1849. Now the fourth largest city in the state, it is one of the major artistic and financial centers of the West Coast. Downtown San Francisco has numerous sites to see, restaurants to dine in, and places to shop that any visitor or new resident will fall in love with.

Read on to find out more about the world-renowned city – a must-visit location on every world travel bucket list.

Unmissable Sights


The area around Downtown San Francisco has two sites that movie buffs will recognize: The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island situated in the middle of the bay. Both have featured in numerous films and are places that everyone associates with the city.

Sports fans won’t want to miss AT&T Field where you can watch home runs being launched into McCovey Cove, and people wanting to relax may want to stroll through any of the more than 200 parks throughout the city, the most famous being Golden Gate Park.

The City by the Bay is also known for the trolleys that transport passengers up the myriad hills the city is built upon. Many of the neighborhoods are named after the hill they are built upon like Russian Hill and Nob Hill; and feature beautiful Victorian period homes that survived the 1906 earthquake. The best known of these are the so-called “Painted Ladies” located in the western part of the city along Alamo Square.

As well as all of this, no visit is complete without a visit to Lombard Street, famous for being the most crooked street in America.  

Some of the most popular places to visit in San Francisco are:


  • Golden Gate Bridge

  • Alcatraz Island

  • Fisherman’s Wharf

  • Mission District

  • Fillmore Street

  • Union Square


Culinary Delights

Like most major cities, there’s a wealth of gourmet restaurants to feast in. During the Gold Rush, miners brought with them the famous sourdough starter yeast that you can taste in many of the restaurants throughout San Francisco.

For seafood lovers, you can visit Fisherman’s Wharf where you will find the freshest treats of the sea, notably Dungeness Crab caught daily.

San Francisco is also home to a large Asian population and is best known as the home of Cecilia Chang, winner of the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award for bringing authentic Mandarin Cuisine to America.

With a large immigrant population residing in the Mission District, there are numerous eateries where you can find any ethnic cuisine you hunger for.

Retail Therapy

With so many small neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area, there are a wide variety of shops to find everything from fashion to home décor. Fillmore Street is home to many boutiques set among the high-end cafes where you can shop for the latest in California chic. 

For those who prefer shopping indoors at a mall there is the Westfield San Francisco Center.  Under its large sunlit dome, there are over 180 luxury and name brand stores where you can find everything from electronics to beauty products and all manner of fashions.

Union Square is home to all the major department stores as well as many art galleries and it is the largest retail hub in the city.

No matter what you desire, there is something for everyone in Downtown San Francisco.