Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

San Francisco's 10 Best Tourist Attractions

How to pare down what's worth your time in this vibrant city that's so full of icons worth seeing? Just refer to our list.

Despite the opinions of some locals, there's nothing wrong with being a tourist. Especially in a city like San Francisco, where there's so much to see and do. So how to pare down what's worth your time in this vibrant city that's so full of icons worth seeing? Just refer to our list below.

1. Golden Gate Bridge. In 1937, it cost $0.50 to cross this globally recognizable landmark by car. The toll has since changed, but the bridge's awe-inspiring architecture has not. Experience it for free by walking or biking its 1.7-mile length.

2. Alcatraz Island. Relive history on "the Rock," where you'll stand in the prison cells of notorious criminals like Al Capone. Reach the island by ferry from Pier 33 (the fee includes an audio tour) and visit daytime if you prefer a self-guided experience, or in the evening for a more formal guided tour.

3. Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf satisfy tourists in search of food, shops, entertainment, and maritime views. Savor clam chowder in a bread bowl or watch as street performers of all kinds entertain. The real stars of the show, though, are the hundreds of lively sea lions on the marina's western docks.

4. Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth streets comprises what's known as the world's "crookedest" street (though it's not). Created in 1922 with eight hairpin turns to manage the hill's steepness, it's lined with flowered walkways -- and throngs of picture-snapping tourists. Photos are best from the bottom looking up.

5. Coit Tower, piercing the skyline from the top of Telegraph Hill, is where to get a bird's-eye view of the city. Built in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, some say the 210-foot tower resembles a fire-hose nozzle that stands in tribute to firefighters. The lobby's vibrant murals depict scenes from the 1930s, and an elevator goes all the way up. If you're feeling hearty, take the nearly 400 steep steps up and down -- and look for the green parrots chirping along the way.

6. More than a century after the cable car system's creation for transportation, the trolleys operate today as more as a tourist attraction -- and they're worth the experience. Sit outside and hang on tight.

7. The neoclassical-style California Palace of the Legion of Honor enshrines an impressive collection spanning 4,000 years of art, including works by Monet, Picasso, and Rodin, including a cast of The Thinker.

8. The Haight-Ashbury intersection, like Woodstock, was a pulsing point of the revolutionary '60s. Today, the Haight retains much of the hippie-bohemian culture of its heyday, despite slight gentrification. Psychedelic history lives on in the homes of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, take the Flower Power Tour, led by Izu, who has known the neighborhood since its historic prime.

9. Chinatown's 24 blocks are San Francisco's most crowded; they're densely packed with tourist-friendly shops, markets and restaurants. Don't miss the Golden Gate Cookie Factory (on Ross Alley), where every day, two women make 20,000 fortune cookies by hand.

10. Wear orange and black at AT&T Park, where attention-grabbing bay views rival the action on the field. The open-air home of the Giants boasts fan-pleasing sights like an 80-foot Coca-Cola bottle, a giant baseball mitt, and a nine-foot statue of legendary player Willie Mays. Cheer a home run hit splashing into McCovey Cove (where fans on boats try to catch Giants history), order Gordon Biersch garlic fries, and sing classic ballgame tunes.

Additional reporting by Justine Rivero