How To Spend 24 Hours in San Francisco
Photo Credit: Jared Erondu/UnSplash

Photo Credit: Jared Erondu/UnSplash

How To Spend 24 Hours in San Francisco

San Francisco , United States
Brittni Williams
Brittni Williams Jul 11, 2022

San Francisco is a city in Northern California known for its famous landmarks and lively culture. It has a booming tourism industry that lends to its many shopping and dining options and recreational activities. Tourists from all over the world travel to the city, with many choosing to stay permanently. As a result, San Francisco is the 17th most populous city in the country.

Things To See and Do in San Francisco

When in San Francisco, it’s nearly impossible not to find something to do. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see during your visit. Once the tallest and longest suspension bridge worldwide, it’s an important symbol of power in the United States.

Grant Avenue is another famous destination as the oldest street in the city’s Chinatown district. The 1.6-mile street is filled with shops, eateries, art galleries, and even a hotel.


San Francisco is also a popular spot for its many food options. Hog Island Oyster Co. is a great seafood restaurant in the city’s iconic Ferry Building. There you can dine on their world-famous oysters and clam chowder.

For a sweet treat, try an ice cream cone from Smitten Ice Cream. The dessert shop uses liquid nitrogen to create creamy ice cream creations from scratch in less than two minutes!

When visiting the city, there’s no shortage of things to see and explore. Because of this, it can be difficult to experience it all with limited time. But fortunately, the city provides several ways to uncover some of its rich history and culture in record time. From bus tours to cable car rides, touring the city is easier than ever. Here are six places that you must see with one day in San Francisco:

Union Square

San Francisco Union Square
Elise V./UnSplash

Union Square is a public plaza located in downtown San Francisco. The area is known for its great shopping and dining options. As the heartbeat of the city, many tourists flock to Union Square to experience authentic San Francisco culture.

The square offers plenty of activities for its visitors to enjoy. For example, you can listen to live music and performances from local talent. Or participate in a costume contest for its annual Halloween party.

The best time to go is during the winter to see the square decorated with festive holiday decorations and Christmas lights. The square even transforms into an enormous ice skating rink, making it the perfect place to experience a winter wonderland in sunny California.

Lombard Street

San Francisco Lombard Street
Pau Morfin/UnSplash

Lombard Street is a famous street in San Francisco known as the “Crookedest Street in the World.” Originally used to keep the surrounding residents safe from the steep grade, it’s now one of the most popular tourist attractions globally. The winding road with eight sharp turns is one you can’t miss on your San Francisco itinerary.

Tourists from around the world travel to the street to walk or drive their way to the top. Once there, you can find magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay and Coit Tower.

But part of the fun is the journey there. The street is lined with beautiful houses, trees, plants, and flowers, making it the best place to capture photographs.

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco Golden Gate Park
Robson Hatsukami Morgan/UnSplash

Golden Gate Park is an enormous public park filled with picturesque gardens, meadows, and lakes. The 1,017-acre park is also home to an aquarium, museum, and two historic windmills No wonder it’s the third most visited park in the United States!

The Japanese Tea Garden is a real treat for nature lovers. It features many different flower species, from azaleas to wisteria. And many tourists enjoy the Zen Garden, decorated with bonsai trees, a stone waterfall, and a sparkling river.

Animal lovers will enjoy seeing the many Buffalo Paddock bison that roam the area. But if you’re nervous about getting up-close-and-personal with real wildlife, you can always stop by the carousel to ride a wooden ostrich or giraffe.

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
Mauro Arrue/UnSplash

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco. The waterfront site is an excellent place to people-watch after a day trip in the city. And if you’re lucky, you might spot a few sea lions hanging out in the water or nearby ports.

There’s so much for everyone to do at the wharf. From bay cruises to whale watching tours, you’re sure to have a good time.

One of the best things about the place is its sourdough bread bowls. Fisherman’s Wharf is the home of Boudin Bakery, the oldest sourdough bread factory in America. And for those with a sweet tooth, Ghiradelli Square is a retail and dining complex offering the best hot fudge sundaes in town.

Alcatraz Island

San Francisco Alcatraz
Markus Lauff/UnSplash

Alcatraz Island is another must-see destination for tourists in San Francisco. It’s the home of one of the most famous prisons in the world. The prison housed legendary mobsters like Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and druglord Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson.

You can take a self-guided tour of the prison to learn more about the island’s gritty history. The walking tour provides a glimpse into what life behind bars was like at that time. And the Big Lockup: Mass Incarceration in the United States is an exhibit that examines the racial disparities related to incarceration in the country.

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum that’s perfect for people of all ages to explore. Featuring an aquarium and planetarium, the site offers a special look into plant and animal life.

The rainforest exhibit is a beautiful, lush model of an actual rainforest. It houses several species of animals and insects, including birds, reptiles, and spiders.

The butterfly emergence chamber is a great way for children (and adults) to learn about the unique life cycle of various tropical butterflies. And the museum’s flooded forest tunnel provides an incredible up-close view of its hundreds of freshwater fish.

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