• A Powell–Hyde Cable Car Ride: Skip the less-scenic California line and take the Powell–Hyde cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf—the ride is worth the wait. When you reach the top of Nob Hill, grab the rail with one hand and hold your camera with the other, because you’re about to see a view of the bay that could make you weep.
  • Doing Time at Alcatraz: Even if you loathe tourist attractions, you’ll dig Alcatraz. Just looking at the Rock from across the bay is enough to give you the heebie-jeebies—and the park rangers have put together an excellent audio tour with narration by former inmates and guards. Heck, even the boat ride across the bay is worth the price.
  • Feasting on a Sourdough Bread Bowl Filled with Clam Chowder: There is no better way to take the chill off a freezing July day in San Francisco than with a loaf of bread from Boudin Bakery, hollowed out to form a primitive chowder vessel, filled with hot steamy clam and potato soup.
  • Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge: Don your windbreaker and walking shoes and prepare for a wind-blasted, exhilarating journey across San Francisco’s most famous landmark. It’s one of those things you have to do at least once in your life.
  • Strolling Through Chinatown: Chinatown is a trip—about as close to experiencing Asia as you can get without a passport. Skip the camera and luggage stores and head straight for the food markets, where a cornucopia of critters that you’ll never see at the grocery store sit, slither, or hop around in boxes waiting for the wok. Better yet, take one of the Wok Wiz tours of Chinatown.
  • Laughing Yourself Silly at Beach Blanket Babylon: Giant hats, over-the-top costumes, and wicked (decidedly liberal) humor are what it’s all about at this North Beach classic, the longest running musical review in the country.
  • Visiting with the California Sea Lions: These giant, blubbery beasts are probably the most famous residents of the City by the Bay. Though they left en masse for greener pastures—or bluer seas—back in 2009, they are now back in full force, barking, belching, and playing king of the mountain for space on the docks at Pier 39.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.