If you're a first time visitor in San Francisco it can be overwhelming to try and figure out which of all the beautiful spots to visit. There's so many iconic sites, neighborhoods and views to take in. Many of the spots listed below may be considered popular "tourist" destinations but all for good reason. Each one of my top 10 picks has features and characteristics that are uniquely San Francisco. This blog post features snapshots from our afternoon in Alamo Square, the Painted Ladies make a picturesque backdrop for your trip photos.
1. Alamo Square - This historic park and neighborhood is home to the famed Painted Ladies. This row of preserved Victorian houses brings feelings of nostalgia to another era before the tech world of Silicon Valley took over. Take a stroll through these streets and imagine what early San Francisco days must have been like. And of course these lovely houses can be seen in the opening credits of TV sitcom Full House.
2. Golden Gate Bridge - No trip to SF is complete without scenic views of the iconic bridge. You can either chose to walk across for stunning bay views or take in the whole bridge from Crissy Field. Either way, you'll have plenty of great photo opportunities to commemorate your trip. See our walk across the bridge on a stormy day.
3. Seals at Fisherman's Wharf - This area is popular for its clam chowder bowls in sourdough bread (which are delicious!), but my favorite part is visiting the seal colony that took over the harbor. It is surprising to see wildlife so close to the city, but these seals are right at home.
4. Cable Car from Powel-Hyde to Ghirardelli Square - Some of the best city views can be found sitting on the cable car. It's by far the most romantic and scenic way to get around the city. First timer tip: be aware that it can get quite chilly and windy on the cable car so wear layers. Also, plan your itinerary ahead of time because routes are limited.
5. Ghirardelli Square - After you take the cable car down, explore the square and get your chocolate fix. Depending on the weather, you can chose from a hot cup of coco or a decadent ice cream Sunday. Take in some gorgeous bay views while you enjoy sweet treats and make sure not to miss the "pirate ship"!
6. Dolores Park - A favorite low key hangout spot for locals. It's a great place to set up a picnic and relax after a day of climbing city hills. On sunny San Francisco days you can see skyscraper views from the downtown strip.
7. Sutro Baths - The city streets abruptly end at "Lands End" park and you behold a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean, complete with historic ruins of a once massive aquatic park. See our visit on a perfect sunny day.
8. Lombard Street - You've never seen curves like these! This street feels like it's straight out of a fairytale book with tight twists through tiny streets filled with blooming flowers.
9. Telegraph Hill - Ready for a serious workout with major rewards? Climb to the top of Telegraph Hill and reap the rewards of panoramic city views. If you're lucky you'll see a wild parrot!
10. Ferry Building and Embarcadero - Pick up some fresh produce at the farmer's market or grab lunch at one of the many delicious restaurants inside the Ferry Building. Afterwards take a relaxing walk down the Embarcadero and feel the romantic vibes at Cupid's Span.
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