The 'City by the Bay', San Francisco, is a favourite with visitors to the United States. More relaxed than its Western USA neighbours Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this seaside city offers. We've compiled a list of essential things to do on your first visit to San Francisco.
Visit Alcatraz Island and Prison
The world's most infamous prison closed its doors to prisoners in 1963, but now it welcomes around 1.4 million visitors per year. Boarding a ferry, you approach the island and disembark, and are able to explore the island and buildings at your own pace, with an audio guide included for the prison tour itself.
Tickets are rarely available on the day, so make sure you book in advance to guarantee your visit.
Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, and stands today as one of the best-known landmarks of San Francisco. At just over a mile and a half long,it's the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs while taking in unparalleled views of the city and bay skylines.
Shop in Union Square
A public plaza surrounded by buildings, Union Square is the perfect spot to shop until you drop, or just relax in your surroundings. Six department stores can be found within a three block radius of the square, as well as a plethora of upmarket boutiques, well-known stores, restaurants and bars.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Offering over 30,000 exhibits, San Francisco's Modern Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the world for modern and contemporary art. Their collection includes works by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Henri Matisse, among many other notable artists.
Ride the cable car
A ride on the world's last manually operated cable car system is an absolute must when you're visiting San Francisco. Watch the streets go by as you journey on one of these retro vehicles.
Experience the spirit of the bay at Pier 39, a boardwalk area with restaurants, shops and entertainment. Pick up an ice cream, watch street performers and keep an eye out for the famed sea lions that rest alongside the pier.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (the perfect spot for a picnic), you'll find the 55-acre Botanical Gardens. Over 50,000 individual plants populate the garden, including species from Central and South America, and Southeast Asia. A relaxing oasis of calm in busy San Francisco.
San Francisco's Grant Avenue and Stockton Street Chinatown is North America's first, and the largest outside of Asia itself. Home to some 15,000 residents, you'll find delicious food, Chinese customs and entertainment.