10 Iconic San Francisco Landmarks
Are you planning a trip to San Francisco and wondering what you should see? Here is a list of some of the most iconic San Francisco landmarks to help you make your itinerary! But if you’d like to take a downloadable (and printable!) copy of this list, simply enter your email here to have me send you a copy, complete with addresses and parking tips!
Now buckle up for some photos, tips and ideas for your visit to these iconic San Francisco landmarks!
1. The Golden Gate Bridge
What is a more iconic San Francisco landmark than the Golden Gate Bridge? I highly suggest viewing it from multiple points and walking, biking or driving across it! As of July 1, 2018, the toll rate for one-time payments was $8 for the average car. It’s easy to pay by phone or over the internet, but must be done within two days of driving over the bridge. Also, you only get charged when you are coming back into the city. Click here for more information on paying the toll in a rental vehicle and, if it wasn’t obvious, I went with option 2 to save money! Our rental car company was going to charge a convenience fee on top of the toll, so make sure you have all the information before you agree to option 1.
Side note, the less famous San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge looks pretty cool at night!
Travel Tip #22: Paid Parking is a Last Resort!
Seriously, there are a lot of free parking options around the bridge on the city side! The one we parked in was a car’s length from a $5 lot. We almost parked there, but decided to move to the area with a better view from the car. This was just one of the reason’s I had to include parking tips in my “Iconic San Francisco Landmarks” downloadable!
2. Alcatraz Island
I unfortunately can only show you photos of Alcatraz from a distance. When I went to book a tour one month before visiting, they were sold out for tours over Labor Day weekend. So if this is something you’re wanting to do, book early!
3. Pier 39
Pier 39 is sure to be a hit with the kids and provides some great views of Alcatraz and, of course, sea lions! What you usually don’t hear is how smelly it can be when the wind is blowing over the sea lions! My former coworker, Lisa, highly recommends grabbing some clam chowder in a sourdough bowl here! I did get to try a bread bowl at Chart House ($$-$$$$), with lobster bisque inside, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The views are are definitely one of those dollar signs during a nice day.
4. Fisherman’s Wharf
If you’re looking for seafood options, Fisherman’s Wharf is where you need to head for dinner! The wharf area is pretty crowded and they serve food every 2 feet. I suggest making a reservation at Alioto’s upstairs ($$-$$$$). This is also a restaurant that has a great view!
5. Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is one of the few iconic San Francisco landmarks that I feel you could spend a whole day at! Or come back to over several days! With multiple gardens, museums, picnic spots, paddle boats, segway tours, bike tours, a golf course, and concert area, the possibilities for your trip to the park are almost endless! For a full list of attractions, click here.
Japanese Tea Garden
One of the many iconic San Francisco landmarks within the Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden was a small, but beautiful area to walk around in. That being said, I would only suggest to go during one of their free times as adult, non-residents have a $9 entry fee.
Update: As of September 2019, the prices have increased and there are no free times except for children. Click here for the rate sheet.
One of the free attractions at the Golden Gate Park, the Dutch Windmill is one of two windmills near the Pacific coastline. It has been said that the best time to visit is in February and March when the tulips are in full bloom, however, the flower garden was still beautiful over Labor Day weekend. Also, the Dutch Windmill is within walking distance of the Beach Chalet, a family-friendly restaurant and brewery!
6. Lombard Street
You can’t go to San Francisco and not drive or walk down this crazy street! And I recommend doing both. The houses and foliage lining the street are perfect photo opportunities as much as a video of winding down the street is!
7. Painted Ladies
For the longest time I thought the Full House house was one of the iconic Painted Ladies on “Postcard Row”, but it isn’t! This is just another reason to download my “Iconic San Francisco Landmarks” document. I have the address for the real Full House house listed for you!
Full House House
Growing up with the Full House tv show, this landmark was honestly right behind the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz for me. Imagine my sadness when we pulled up and it was being renovated! Also, tour buses are no longer allowed to drive down this street. So don’t count on a tour taking you by it.
8. Lands End Lookout
This is a view from one area of Lands End! If you’re looking for a bite to eat with a great view, look no further than the building pictured here! Stop by Lands End for Cliff House and to see the Sutro Baths, ruins of an old saltwater, public swimming pool. I would say my parking tips, or at least experience when parking here, can save you money. See what I mean by entering your email here and I’ll send you the addresses and tips!
9. Twin Peaks
You know a viewing area in San Francisco has to be good when it’s so foggy you can barely see anything and it’s still crowded! As we were leaving Twin Peaks the fog got better down the “mountain” and we were finally able to see what Twin Peaks is all about.
10. Grandview Park
Looking to avoid some of the crowds of Twin Peaks and still see some great high views of San Francisco? Head to Grandview Park! You do have to park and walk up, which is a little bit of a workout coming from Texas. The elevation differences really sneak up on you!
16th Avenue Tiled Steps
Another bonus landmark! When you stop by Grandview Park, walk up and down the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. There are also a lot of different succulents growing in the area, which was a great surprise!
Iconic San Francisco Landmarks – Honorable Mentions
Redwoods and wineries are often associated with trips to California. If you’re looking for those things in San Francisco, look north!
If you enjoy being in the great outdoors, I highly suggest you visit Muir Woods! Before you go, be sure you have properly prepared for your trip. I’ve included a couple of tips here to help your trip go as smoothly as mine did!
Napa & Sonoma
Sometimes less is more. And with so many winery options in Napa Valley, sometimes it’s nice to have them selected for you! Click here for my recommendations on the top two wineries to visit.
If you’ve gotten to this point, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed some of my photos! If you’d also like to sign up for my email list and receive the download of addresses, click here.
Hi friends! This is one post of my blog series for San Francisco! Be sure to checkout the blogs I have posted for this Labor Day trip to see iconic San Francisco landmarks. Also, don’t be shy! Let me know if you’ve been to San Francisco and what you loved and *gasp* hated!