San Francisco attractions and Activities * Things to Do in SAn Francisco Ca * Tourist Activities and Attractions in San FRancisco California

Even for locals, San Francisco takes years to explore. Bursting with popular tourist attractions and eclectic neighborhoods, San Francisco is definitely a wonder to behold. One of the top attractions in San Francisco is the infamous Alcatraz Island, if not for its history then for its view of the entire San Francisco Bay. Fisherman's Wharf bustles with the sounds of barking seals and brims with Dungeness crab restaurants. North Beach's Italian flavor sidles up next to the exotic Chinatown, while Union Square and the Haight Ashbury district entice with world-class and diverse shopping. Just beyond San Francisco, the Napa and Sonoma wine country beckon with rolling vineyards and award-winning wineries.

Alcatraz Cruises       

The exclusive operator to Alcatraz Island, one of San Francisco's top visitor attraction, operated by the National Park Service. Cruises start at 9am and continue throughout the day. Ten to 14 daily departures depending on the time of year. Evening tours offered Th-M. All Alcatraz tours depart from Pier 33. Guaranteed lowest prices to Alcatraz Island. For complete tour information, including departure schedules and pricing, visit the Web site. Purchase and print tickets online - save time and avoid lines. Alcatraz Cruises - an Inescapable Experience.

Address: Pier 33, Alcatraz Landing
City: San Francisco 94111
Phone: 415-981-ROCK (7625)
Fax: 415-986-1721

Angel Island TramTours & Catered Events     

This company oversees recreation, sightseeing and hospitality options on Angel Island State Park in San Francisco Bay. Responsibilities include mountain bike rentals, open-air tour trams with an audio interpretive program, operation of the island's Cove Cafe, catered picnics and special event services. Hours Wednesday-Sunday in April; daily May-October; weekends only November and March; closed December-February. Tram Tours weekdays 10:30am, weekends 10:30am and 3pm. Admission $13.50 adults, $12.50 seniors, $9.50 juniors ages 6-12. Prices and schedule subject to change; call for current information or visit Web site at Groups Miniumum 15, 40 for catered events, 415-897-0715, ext. 5

Address: 5757 - A Sonoma Drive
City: Pleasanton 94566
Phone: 415-897-0715
Fax: 925-426-3075

Palace of Fine Arts

The Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915 was an event dedicated to progress, the celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal, and the rebirth of San Francisco following the disastrous 1906 earthquake. Funds came from six million dollars in donations, five million in state bonds and five million in San Francisco taxes.

A nationwide architectural commission conceived of the Exposition as an architectural unit, and Berkeley architect Bernard Maybeck was assigned the task of designing the Palace of Fine Arts.

The Palace was the last of the major buildings of the Exposition to be started; construction began December 8, 1913. The original columns and Rotunda were framed in wood, and covered with "staff", a mixture of plaster and burlap-type fiber. It was the largest building ever to be made of that material. For purposes of an exposition, in which buildings were supposed to last a year and then collapse readily, staff was ideal; but durability was one quality it lacked.

William Merchant, who was from Maybeck's office, designed many of the Palace's decorative elements. He also spent the last ten years of his life until 1962 planning the Palace's restoration.

A move to preserve the Palace was begun in October, 1915 with a Fine Arts Preservation Day. 33,000 supportive signatures were gathered, and $350,000 was raised towards the duplication of the Palace in lasting materials.

When the ashes of the Exposition were cleared, all that was left was the Palace of Fine Arts. It was maintained first by the San Francisco Art Association who attempted to raise additional funds for the preservation. After the First World War, the Palace became part of the city park system. Federal funds were used to repair and replace some of the Palace's decorations, and in 1934, the Recreation and Park Department installed eighteen lighted tennis courts that operated until 1942. During the Second World War, the Palace was used by the Army as a motor pool. In 1947, the Army returned the building to the city.

The Palace slowly crumbled from the ravages of the weather and ill-use. Finally, the structure had to be fenced off as it was a public hazard.

Then, in the late 1950's, a group of dedicated citizens, led by philanthropist Walter S. Johnson, initiated a drive to rescue the Palace from planned demolition and restore it to its former glory. On July 20, 1964, a contract was awarded and the reconstruction began. Workers carefully removed original design elements from which molds were made. The rotunda, colonnade and all except the steel framework of the gallery were torn down and replaced with concrete castings. In September, 1967, work was completed of a stripped-down version of Maybeck's original. The addition of the remaining original colonnades was completed in January, 1975 - a gift from Walter S. Johnson to the city and the people of San Francisco.

The gallery area now houses the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and the Exploratorium . The theatre, which seats 1,000 in a continental-style configuration, was added in 1970. The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre is operated by the Palace of Fine Arts League, Inc., a non-profit corporation. Past events at the theatre include:

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre 3301 Lyon Street San Francisco, CA 94123 Administrative Office: (415) 563-6504 Box Office: (415) 567-6642 Fax: (415) 567-4062

Boudin at the Wharf       

Set in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, the new, two-story flagship building allows visitors to observe the 5,000 square-foot bakery in action. Learn the story of sourdough French bread, how it is made and why it cannot be baked anywhere else on earth. Complimentary trip to tasting room included with Museum & Bakery Tour.

Address: 160 Jefferson Street
City: San Francisco 94133
Phone: 415-928-1849
Fax: 415-928-8876

Conservatory of Flowers   

A spectacular living museum of rare and beautiful tropical plants from around the world that will engage visitors physically, intellectually and emotionally. Tu-Su 9am-4:30pm. Free children 4 and under, $5 for adults, $3 for youths, seniors and students with ID, $1.50 for children 5-11.

Address: 100 John F. Kennedy Drive
Address2: Golden Gate Park
City: San Francisco 94118
Phone: 415-666-7001
Fax: 415-666-7257

Cow Palace      

This historic entertainment center hosts a variety of concerts, conventions, tradeshows, exhibitions and sporting events throughout the year.

Address: P.O. Box 34206
City: San Francisco 94134
Phone: 415-404-4100
Fax: 415-337-0941


A historic estate and includes a 36,000 square-foot mansion and European-inspired gardens. Tu-Sa 10am-3:30pm, Su 11am-3:30pm.

Address: 86 Canada Road
City: Woodside 94062
Phone: 650-364-8300
Fax: 650-366-7836

Golden Gate Fields        

Live thoroughbred racing with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop. For groups, meetings, incentive and leisure with great food, views and action. Admission for live racing Grandstand $4, Clubhouse $6, Top of Stretch $2, Turf Club $10-15. AE, CB, DC, D, JCB, MC, V.

Address: 1100 Eastshore Highway
City: Berkeley 94710
Phone: 510-559-7383
Fax: 510-559-7481

Lucky Chances Casino       

A 43 table casino offering Poker, Vegas Style Blackjack, Pan 9, Asian games, Pai Gow Tiles, daily poker tournaments, two restaurants, free shuttle from Colma BART station. 21 and over. Open 24/7. AE, MC, V.

Address: 1700 Hillside Boulevard
City: Colma 94014
Phone: 650-758-2237
Fax: 650-758-6475

Mare Island Historic Park Foundation       

Tour National Landmark, former Mare Island Naval Shipyard; chapel has beautiful Tiffany glass. Commander's mansion, a huge 1855 museum, up to 1,000 person events. Tours $10-14, advance reservations required.

Address: 328 Seawind Drive
City: Vallejo 94590
Phone: 707-557-1538
Fax: 707-552-3266


Metreon is the first-of-its-kind entertainment center located at Fourth and Mission streets in the heart of downtown San Francisco. This 350,000 square-foot complex features an eclectic mix of the Bay Area's best restaurants, shopping venues, theatres, and entertainment destinations, including the West Coast's largest IMAX theatre.

Address: 101 Fourth Street
City: San Francisco 94103
Phone: 415-369-6002
Fax: 415-369-6025

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum       

A collection of odd/unusual exhibits, interactive and video displays in 11 galleries - a landmark at Fisherman's Wharf for 40 years and entertaining for all ages. Open daily. General admission $14.99 (ages 13 and older), $8.99 children (ages 5-12), $12.50 seniors and students (with I.D.) Prices subject to change without notice.

Address: 175 Jefferson Street
Address2: Fisherman's Wharf
City: San Francisco 94133
Phone: 415-771-6188
Fax: 415-771-1237

Riptide Arcade at Pier 39       

The largest video and prize arcade in San Francisco with over 10,000 square feet of the latest video games, prize games, and virtual reality including an Old West shooting gallery.

Address: Pier 39, Space M3
City: San Francisco 94133
Phone: 415-981-6300
Fax: 415-981-6308

San Francisco Botanical Garden Society at Strybing Arboretum        

There is always something new at San Francisco’s Botanical Garden. Stroll through New Zealand, the Mediterranean or Central American rain forests. The garden is a beautiful, calm oasis. M-F 8am-4:30pm, Sa-Su and holidays 10am-5pm. Tours M-F 1:30pm, Sa-Su 10:30am and 1:30pm, departing from Bookstore; W, F, Su 2pm, departing from North Gate. Admission is free, donations accepted.

Address: Golden Gate Park
Address2: Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way
City: San Francisco 94122
Phone: 415-661-1316
Fax: 415-661-7427

San Francisco Zoo      

Northern California's largest zoological park features approximately 1,000 exotic and endangered wildlife. Visit the new Grizzy Gulch (June 2007), home to two grizzly bears and stroll through the African Savanna habitat. Experience the wonders of the Children's Zoo and visit other favorites such as Gorilla Preserve, Penguin Island, Koala Crossing, Lemur Forest and the Australian WalkAbout. Ride the historical Dentzel Carousel and Little Puffer minature steam train. Open daily 10am-5pm. Admission for San Francisco residents $9; $4.50 ages 12-17 and seniors 65 and over; $2.50 ages 3-11; free age 2 and under. Non-residents $11; $8 ages 12-17 and 65 and over; $5 ages 3-11; free age 2 and under.

Address: One Zoo Road
City: San Francisco 94132-1098
Phone: 415-753-7080
Fax: 415-681-2039

Submarine USS Pampanito      

This authentic, World War II submarine - with near perfect restoration - offers visitors an unforgettable experience. Individuals and groups will feel history unfold, seeing how the crew of 80 men lived for weeks on end in amazingly tight quarters. Many original artifacts are on display. Exclusive iPod audio tour features Pampanito crewmen telling real-life war stories. The gift store is chock full of gifts, books, video/DVDs and memorabilia. National Historic Landmark. Summer hours: Th-Tu 9am-8pm, W 9am-6pm; Winter hours: M-Th 9am-6pm, F-Su 9am-8pm. Admission $9 adults; discounts for children, seniors and active duty military.

Address: Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 45
City: San Francisco 94133
Phone: 415-775-1943
Fax: 415-561-6660

Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf       

For 45 years, 15 million visitors have enjoyed more than 270 wax portraits of entertainers, heroes, scoundrels and more in 50 expertly crafted settings, enhanced with artistic lighting, props and informative narrations.

Address: 145 Jefferson Street, Suite 500
City: San Francisco 94133
Phone: 415-202-0400
Fax: 415-771-9248

Yerba Buena Gardens       

An award-winning public facility, features a children’s garden, public art, museums, a historic carousel, ice-skating and bowling centers. Open daily sunrise-10pm.

Address: 750 Howard Street
City: San Francisco 94103
Phone: 415-820-3550
Fax: 415-820-3554

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