san francisco skyline

10 Must See Attractions in San Francisco CA

Are you planning a trip to San Francisco from Hong Kong? There’s a ton of things to do in San Francisco so it can be hard to choose where to go. We’ve compiled a list of  the 10 must see attractions in San Francisco so you can get the best out of your time there.

The Golden Gate Bridge 

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the iconic structures in California located at the meeting point of the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. It is bright orange colored and backed by blue waters. The Golden Gate Bridge was erected in 1937. The height of the bridge is 228 meters and width is 27 meters. There are 6 motorways and walkways on either side of the lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge is opened free for pedestrians and cyclists, but only in the daytime. To get a great view of the bridge you can head to Nob Hill and to see the opposite side of the bridge, you can head to Marin County.

Alcatraz Island

The island of Alcatraz served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, and as a prison. It was home to some of the most infamous criminals of the time including Al Capone, “The birdman” and Machine Gun Kelly. It operated as a prison for almost thirty years, closing in 1963 and reopened as a tourist attraction in 1973. The prison was home for almost 1,576 convicts in a period of 30 years. The number of guards and staff was greater than the amount of convicts. Although the Alcatraz island is surrounded by the freezing water of San Francisco Bay, there were few attempts organized by some prisoners to escape the island. The most famous attempt was carried out by Frank Morris and brothers John & Clarence Anglian using an inflatable raft made from several stolen raincoats.

The Fisherman’s wharf

The Fisherman’s Wharf is also known as the Little Italy of San Francisco. It is popular for its shops, restaurants and beautiful settings along the waterfront. From Fishermen’s Wharf, you can also take a sightseeing cruise to see the spectacular views of the city or you can organize a fishing activity. There are several attractions in the area; Madame Tussauds wax museum, Musée Mécanique, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, National state historic park and Ghirardelli square are among favorites of tourists who visit the Fisherman’s Wharf. 

fishermans wharf san francisco

Lombard street

Lombard Street is one of most amazing roads with incredible views in San Francisco, famous for its one-way block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets. The eight hairpin turns were constructed to reduce the hill’s natural steep slope and speed limit in this part is limited to 8 km per hour. 

lombard street san francisco


San Francisco’s Chinatown is both the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America. It was established in 1840 but was completely destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Today you can have amazing experiences inside the Chinatown with its temples, theaters, workshops, mega stores, antique and souvenir shops, teahouses and traditional pharmacies. Visit Chinatown in the Chinese New Year and immerse yourself in the new year celebrations. The best streets for tourists are Grant Avenue and Bush Street. Head through the famous Dragon Gate at the corner of Bush Street and Grant Avenue as this is the only authentic Chinatown Gate in North America.

chinatown san francisco paper lanterns

The Legion of Honor 

California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a museum located in Lincoln park, and the admission fee to this museum includes that of the De Young Museum as well. It features a collection of art that dates back to 4000 years. There are 124000 artworks, art and sculptures from Europe and the Mediterranean region. Most famous artists on display include the drawings by Monet, El Greco and Picasso.

legion of honor

Cable Cars

A visit to San Francisco is not complete if you miss a ride in the cable car system. It is the last manually operated cable car system in the world. The cable car rides are mostly enjoyed during the weekend, and they run between the Fisherman’s Wharf and the Market Street. The best scenic routes are the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde routes that come from downtown near Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf and a third route that goes along California Street.

cable cars san francisco

Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Park spans an area of over 1017 acres and it was developed into an urban park in 1871. Today it has many attractions like windmills, buffalo and bison paddock, museums, lakes and a century old carousel among them. You can also visit the Japanese Tea Garden, The Conservatory of Flowers, The Rose Garden and the California Academy of Science located inside the park. It provides a home to over 5000 different species of plants, numerous walking trails, cycling paths and even a golf course.

Japanese tea garden in golden gate park

Coit Tower

Coit Tower is one of the best places in San Francisco to enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the city. The Coit Tower is a white painted column, and it stands at a height of 64 meters tall rising from the top of Telegraph Hill. It was named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit who donated $118,000 to construct the tower to add to the beauty of the San Francisco city. To reach the top of the tower you have to take the elevator or if you are feeling energetic you can climb the 400 steps all the way to the top!

coit tower san francisco

Alamo Square

The Alamo Square is a residential area and a park well known for hundreds of famous Painted Ladies. They are not actual painted ladies but a row of colored houses on its east side along Steiner Street. You are not allowed to enter the Painted Ladies but you can take some nice photographs from outside. 

alamo square san francisco

How to get to San Francisco

One suggested way to book flights to San Francisco from Hong Kong is online through the Cathay Pacific Website. They will help you find how to get the most out of your next trip including flying to San Francisco.