Recent Searches
Clear
See all San Francisco tours
730 tours & tickets
Things to do in San Francisco
See all things to do in San Francisco
How to Tackle San Francisco as a First Timer
Visiting San Francisco for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do

5 Must-See San Francisco Neighborhoods and How to Visit


5 Must-See San Francisco Neighborhoods and How to Visit
Hi, I'm Leah!

Leah Still Joll is a freelance writer based in San Francisco with a specialty in travel writing. Her favorite destinations include Maui, Sayulita, the Northern California coast, Paris, Morocco, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

see more

Squeezed into a tight grid, San Francisco’s many beloved neighborhoods—each with its own charms and quirks—are what makes the city what it is. Here’s what you need to know about the top neighborhoods for food, history, shopping, culture, and nightlife.


North Beach

San Francisco's hilly North Beach neighborhood. Photo: Rosa Furneaux / Viator

From the Financial District to Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach attracts locals and visitors looking for buzzing nightlife, Italian restaurants, shopping (on Grant Street), and people watching (in Washington Square). Main attractions include Coit Tower and Beat-era spots such as City Lights bookstore, Vesuvio Café, and the Beat Museum.

Find things to do in North Beach

Fisherman's Wharf

Pier 39 is one of Fisherman's Wharf's most popular spots. Photo: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator

Many visitors begin their San Francisco explorations at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can catch a cable car to Union Square, look out at Alcatraz Island, enjoy a bowl of clam chowder, and watch the sea lions laze around the docks at Pier 39. Tourist venues such as Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe It or Not can also be found here, as well as lesser-known gems such as Musée Mécanique. Plus, many [city tours])https://www.viator.com/tours/San-Francisco/San-Francisco-Fire-Engine-Tour/d651-3952FIRE) start and end here, making it easy to see the neighborhood before or after sightseeing.

Find things to do in Fisherman's Wharf

Chinatown

paper lanterns in Chinatown, San Francisco
Paper lanterns hang above a street in San Francisco's Chinatown. Photo: Anthony Cruz / Viator

One of the biggest and oldest Chinatowns in North America, San Francisco’s Chinatown is a must-visit. Starting at the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue, walk through the Dragon Gate and head north on Grant to take in the bustle of souvenir shops, produce markets, and restaurants. Chinatown bumps right into North Beach, so you can easily explore both. Nearly all city tours include a stop or drive through Chinatown.

Find things to do in Chinatown

The Mission

The Mission is one of the city's best foodie neighborhoods. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small / Viator

Just southwest of SOMA, the Mission District is San Francisco’s foodie central, home to everything from no-frills taquerias to some of the city's most sought-after restaurants. The nightlife scene also makes it a favorite with San Franciscans. To experience the best of the Mission, book a food or drinks walking tour, or check out Mission Dolores for a bit of history. The church is thought to be San Francisco’s oldest structure, dating back to 1776. On a sunny day, Mission Dolores Park is the place to be for people watching.

Find things to do in The Mission

Haight-Ashbury

Victorian houses in Haight-Ashbury. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small / Viator

Perhaps the most iconic SF neighborhood due to its association with 1960s counterculture, hippies, and the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury is known for Victorian homes, bars, and proximity to Golden Gate Park. The main drag is Haight Street, which intersects Ashbury Street and is home to vintage clothing stores, head shops, and independent record store Amoeba Music. One of the most popular tours is the Magic Bus, which features window projections that take you back to a ‘60s version of the Haight.

Find things to do in Haight-Ashbury

Keep reading

Hi, I'm Leah!

Leah Still Joll is a freelance writer based in San Francisco with a specialty in travel writing. Her favorite destinations include Maui, Sayulita, the Northern California coast, Paris, Morocco, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

Keep exploring
See all San Francisco tours
730 tours & tickets
Things to do in San Francisco
See all things to do in San Francisco
How to Tackle San Francisco as a First Timer
Visiting San Francisco for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do