Locals guide to the Top 10 San Francisco attractions

Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge

I consider San Francisco my home town, having lived there on and off for decades (you’ll forgive me for discreetly not mentioning how many decades). As a child I lived in the Richmond and Sunset districts, where the fog diffused the hard edges of the city in a soft blanket, and Golden Gate Park was our backyard. As a young adult I lived in hip North Beach and enjoyed the close proximity to the club scene, swam at the Joe DiMaggio Playground pool and enjoyed authentic Italian food. As my career evolved I lived in the even hipper Cow Hollow, off of Union Street with its fabulous designer boutiques and cozy neighborhood haunts. I discovered the joys of abundant sunshine in the microclimate of Bernal Heights and thrived on the energy of the Mission District, where international cultures collide in a fusion of exotic flavors.

San Francisco skyline

San Francisco skyline

Where do I take visitors who come to San Francisco? To tourist destinations, of course. While there are many wonderful hidden, out of the way neighborhoods in San Francisco, if the visitor has never been to the City by the Bay how could I send them home without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or Fisherman’s Wharf? When visitors are in town it’s a rare opportunity for me to re-visit some of my favorite places and I enjoy it as much as any tourist.

Bay Bridge

San Francisco's other bridge, the Bay Bridge

I’ll start with the basic list and over the next few weeks I’ll expand on each destination, so check back often for updates and links to other articles. At first blush this will look like a very standard list, but I’ll give you my insider’s insight into what makes each destination special, even if it’s in a tacky tourist location.

  1. Ferry Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square
  2. Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point
  3. Palace of Fine Arts, Exploratorium
  4. Coit Tower
  5. Cable car ride
  6. Alcatraz/Bay Cruise
  7. Chinatown
  8. Golden Gate Park
  9. Neighborhoods (North Beach, Mission District, Haight Ashbury, Castro, Marina)
  10. Union Square shopping
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