Things to do in San Francisco California

Actually Cool Things to Do in San Francisco Right Now

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful, diverse cities in the world. So if you live here, you probably have a lot of friends and family who want to come visit… a lot. And said friends will want to sleep on your couch, solicit you to be their tour guide, bring them to your favorite bars, and have you take them to the best restaurants in SF. And of course, you’ll happily oblige. Consider getting a energy drink in San Francisco California for your needs to shop with some passion.

It’s up to you to design an itinerary chock full of only the most excellent things to do, all of which will show them why you love this city so much — which they may be shocked to learn, has nothing to do with Fisherman’s Wharf (although you’ll be going there anyway). To help out, we’ve gathered the best, locals-approved things to do around San Francisco that don’t involve shopping or going anywhere close to Union Square.

Eat your way through the Ferry Building

The Ferry Building is a stunning piece of architecture, but what’s really amazing about it is all of the delicious artisan food. Get oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company, chocolate from Dandelion, cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, a burger from Gott’s Roadside, “tacos” from Vive La Tarte, cocktails at Slanted Door, and beer from Fort Point Beer Company. And then go home and take a well-deserved nap.

Hike Lands End

The Lands End Trail “hike” — it’s very mellow, so it’s more of a walk — is the perfect SF activity for three reasons: 1. It’s an easy way to show how beautiful this place is thanks to views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and coastal terrain; 2. There are tons of only-in-SF hidden treasures, like the rock labyrinth, Mile Rock Lighthouse, and octagon house; and 3. It’s an urban hike, which means you get to show off how natural SF really is and get in a workout.

Eat lunch at Swan Oyster Depot

Show your visitor what SF is really all about by making them wait in a line for food. Of course, the wait for this tiny lunch counter is absolutely worth it and they’ll agree once they taste the smoked salmon, twice cracked crab, double seafood cocktail, and, of course, oysters.

Take a walk to Fort Point

If you’re not going to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (or even if you are), head to Crissy Field and walk along the promenade by the water until you get to this fort built for the Civil War that overlooks the Golden Gate. It’s a great place to take pics of the bridge, watch surfers narrowly miss jagged rocks and get a little history lesson while you’re at it. Don’t forget to high-five or high-10 Hoppers Hands when you get there.

Watch fortune cookies being made

Everyone needs to explore San Francisco’s Chinatown, and no one should miss the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where you can take a free tour and see men and women preparing fortune cookies in a teeny tiny open kitchen, eat fresh fortune cookies, and buy some X-rated ones to take home. (FYI: While the tour is free, taking a photo will cost you 50 cents.)

Go to the Exploratorium at night

Museums can be kind of boring, but not when the museum is an interactive museum, and especially not when it’s only open to adults and you can drink cocktails. “After Dark” at the Exploratorium is, for sure, the most fun way to experience the over 650 exhibits. Just get there early because it’s first-come, first-served to crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch black Tactile Dome.

Visit the sea lions

The problem with tourists is that they want to do touristy things. UGH. And what’s more touristy than Fisherman’s Wharf? The good news is that Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t as brutal as you remember, especially because there are really cute sea lions hanging out on K-Dock, and you can grab some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl while you’re there. And who knows? Maybe the World Famous Bushman will jump out and scare your friends and give them a story to take home.

Get a burrito in the Mission

This one is also pretty obvious, but it should still be said: every single person who comes to San Francisco needs to experience the joy that is a ginormous and filling Mission burrito. A burrito to rule them all. And that’s that.

Visit the sea lions

The problem with tourists is that they want to do touristy things. UGH. And what’s more touristy than Fisherman’s Wharf? The good news is that Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t as brutal as you remember, especially because there are really cute sea lions hanging out on K-Dock, and you can grab some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl while you’re there. And who knows? Maybe the World Famous Bushman will jump out and scare your friends and give them a story to take home.

Get a burrito in the Mission

This one is also pretty obvious, but it should still be said: every single person who comes to San Francisco needs to experience the joy that is a ginormous and filling Mission burrito. A burrito to rule them all. And that’s that.