The famous City By The Bay is an ideal destination for your next vacation to California. San Francisco offer so many things to see and do, from the iconic cable cars and Golden Gate Bridge, to free walking tours and Alcatraz Island, there’s no way you won’t love this town.
Whether you’re seeing the sights or stopping by for business, HotelCoupons.com can help you save big on your San Francisco vacation by sharing our budget-friendly guide to the city. Find free things to do, cheap eats and annual events below, or search for a last-minute hotel in San Francisco to save on a discounted hotel.
These impressive steps offer excellent views of the bay, lush gardens and the opportunity to see the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. The base of the stairway can be found at the intersection of Filbert and Sansome, and the top of the stairs reach Coit Tower. Many suggest trekking up the stairs, but you can just as easily start at the top and make your way down.
Telegraph Hill & Pioneer Park
With stunning views of the city and the chance to see Coit Tower up close, a visit to Pioneer Park on Telegraph Hill is worthwhile. You have to pay to go up the tower, but a visit to the lobby is free and features beautiful murals to see.
After all, San Francisco is famous for its cable cars, so it’s no surprise that the Cable Car Museum is a great free attraction to visit. The railway museum is also free to visit.
For those who enjoy history, politics or architecture, San Francisco’s City Hall is a great place to visit. Enjoy an afternoon stroll to see the impressive exterior and the beautiful rooms with ornate ceilings and decor.
Walking Tour of the City
A wonderful group of volunteers runs San Francisco City Guides, an organization that provides free walking tours of the city. This is an ideal way to get oriented with San Francisco and hear from locals who truly love the town.
Golden Gate Bridge
You can’t visit San Francisco without discovering more about the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Whether you’re walking, biking or driving across it, you’ll be amazed by the expansive structure.
This Civil War-era fort offers incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Completely free of charge, Fort Point also offers exhibits and demonstrations about guarding the bay, loading canons, Buffalo Soldiers and more!
From the first week of the year through mid-July, sea lions congregate at Pier 39. Tourists and locals alike stop by to see the wildlife, take photos and listen to their barking sounds.
The 49-Mile Scenic Drive of the San Francisco Bay Area offers an ideal way to see the city. You’ll pass more than a hundred notable attractions and landmarks along the way, from downtown hotspots to overlooks like Twin Peaks.
See the City from Twin Peaks
If you don’t have time to enjoy the entire 49-Mile Scenic Drive, at least take a trip up to North Twin Peak, which feature amazing views of San Francisco from above. Active visitors can also hike the peaks along a network of maintained trails.
Lands End Lookout
For another view the Golden Gate Bridge, we recommend visiting the Lands End Lookout. This interesting area also features a coastal hiking trail and the ruins of the old Sutro Baths.
For a truly unique experience, check out the Wave Organ, a sculpture along the San Francisco Bay which uses the waves to produce music. This attraction is best experienced at high tide.
Another iconic San Francisco landmark is Lombard Street, which tightly winds its way down Russian Hill. This famous street is beautifully lined with flowers, but we recommend you keep your eyes on the hairpin turns.
La Taqueria Some say the best tacos in the city, and we agree
2889 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Roxie Food Center Scrumptious Deli Sandwiches on Soft Rolls
1901 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112
Super Duper Burger Delicious, conscious burgers, fries, soft serve and pies
2304 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94110 (plus 8 other locations)
4505 Burgers & BBQ Tender meat from a wood-fired barbecue pit
705 Divisadero, San Francisco 94117
Arinell Pizza New York style pizza, the best in San Fran
509 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Rosamund Sausage Grill 16 types of sausage including vegan options
2832 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110
545 Haight St., San Francisco, CA 94117
Ike’s Place 200 sandwiches and they’re all good
3489 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Silicon Valley Auto Show (January)
Independent Film Festival (January)
Pacific Orchid Exposition (February)
California Antiquarian Book Fair (February)
Bon Appetit Wine & Spirits Focus (February)
St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March)
San Francisco Flower & Garden Show (March)
Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (April)
San Francisco International Film Festival (April)
Opening Day on the Bay (May)
International Children’s Festival (May)
Sea Music Festival (May)
Asian Heritage Street Celebration (May)
Bay to Breakers Footrace (May)
San Francisco Carnaval Parade & Festival (May)
San Francisco LGBT Parade (June)
Stern Grove Festival (June – August)
San Francisco Waterfront Festival (July)
North Beach Jazz Festival (July)
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (August)
San Francisco Fringe Festival (September)
Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival (September)
San Francisco Blues Festival (September)
San Francisco Jazz Festival (October)
Oktoberfest By The Bay (October)
Macy’s Union Square Tree Lighting (November)
Tree Lighting at Ghirardelli Square (November)
Fisherman’s Wharf Holiday Festival of Lights (November – December)