There's a whole city to explore outside of downtown San Francisco and its waterfront. Remember that big golden bridge? Well, there's a lot going on around it these days. For instance, just across the bridge, and off to the right side of the road, is North Vista Point where you can take in the most remarkable views of the city, the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Great views of the bridge can also be had from the waterfront of The Presidio, the former military base now transformed into an amazing urban National Park. The nearby Golden Gate Park is home to some SF attractions you won't want to miss, especially if you're travelling with kids. The California Academy of Sciences is an amazing place, and we love the Japanese Tea Garden.
This massive park entertains the city with playgrounds, windmills, lakes, cutting-edge museums, a Japanese tea garden and the 19th-century Conservatory of Flowers.
The 1,000-acre Golden Gate Park starts right at the Pacific coastline and then stretches like an elongated rectangle towards downtown San Francisco — It's over 3 miles long. (See what we mean by massive?) There's even a tulip park with a Dutch windmill!
One of the most fun ways to take in the whole park is on a Segway tour, and there's one that specifically covers Golden Gate Park. For two and a half hours you ride one of those cool, crazy gliders around the greatest park in San Francisco.
While at Golden Gate Park take the chance to visit the oldest, and one of the best, flower conservatories in North America.
A $4 million grant has elevated the horticultural exhibits to the cutting edge of botanical and conservation standards. From Uruguay to Uganda, see plants and flora from around the world including rare orchids, prehistoric palms and carnivorous plants. Entrance is included with the GO San Francisco Card…
Located in Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden is one man's vision of transforming what were essentially sand dunes into an authentic Asian garden.
The plantings are stunningly lovely and there is an authentic Japanese Tea House where you can sample traditional brews of the country. You can learn more about the tea garden in our guide.
Also in Golden Gate Park, the recently revamped California Academy of Sciences was named by Condé Nast Traveler one of the "New Wonders of the World". Under its 2½-acre living roof is an entire universe.
Explore the four-story rainforest, the aquarium and the world's largest all-digital planetarium. Zoom through the galaxy at the speed of light and travel to the deepest oceans at this breathtaking modern museum.
Entrance is included with both the GO San Francisco Card and the San Francisco CityPASS, or $35 at the door. A fun way to visit the California Academy of Sciences is on the VIP adults-only Thursday cocktail night.
After a stint of 200 years in the military, The Presidio was released from service and turned into an incredible urban park.
There are hikes to take, historic sites to view, the Walt Disney Family Museum… the list goes on. The Presidio today is a rare US National Park located within city boundaries. In our review we suggest the best way to see it is on a guided urban nature hike.
Golden Gate Bridge
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