San Francisco Bay Area Bucket List

San Francisco Bay Area Bucket List

Summer is here and school’s out…Let’s go explore and take advantage of the many local adventures that the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer. If you’re looking for some family fun activities to do close to home, here is our “Bay Area Bucket List” with some ideas before the season ends that will allow you to create great memories with friends and family.

Please check back regularly since we will be updating it frequently… so if you have ideas to share please comment below, we would love to heard them!

We can’t wait to check more items off this list!


Fisherman’s Wharf

Includes…North Point

  • Visit and LISTEN to the Sea Lions at Pier 39 :-)
  • Eat sourdough bread at the Boudin Sourdough Factory and Museum.
  • Have clam chowder on the wharf.
  • Eat an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli Square.
  • Play games at the Musée Mécanique museum.
  • Eat Cioppino (seafood soup which is uniquely San Franciscan) at Cioppino’s.


 Marina / Pacific Heights

Includes…Cow Hollow, and Lower Pac Heights

  • Walk and/or Fly a kite along the water from Marina Green.
  • Listen to the ocean at The Wave Organ.
  • Visit the Palace of the Fine Arts, the last remaining structure from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
  • Visit Fort Mason Center, a converted military base.
  • Climb up to Pacific Heights for some of the city’s best views.

 Union Square

  • Ice skate on the Union Square Ice Rink during Christmas time.

Nob Hill

Includes…Russian Hill and Polk Gulch

Embarcadero/Financial District

  • Try every sample offered at the Ferry Building.
  • Visit the Saturday morning Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.
  • Catch a Ferry and take a tour to mysterious Alcatraz Island.
  • Visit the Exploratorium a 21st century learning laboratory.
  • See the Bay Bridge Bay Lights display. The largest public light sculpture in the world. (Lights will return in 2016)
  • Walk around the expansive lobby of the Hyatt Regency.

Chinatown — North Beach — Telegraph Hill

  • Visit the Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown.
  • Explore Chinatown.
  • Climb the stairs to the top of Telegraph Hill and visit the top of the nozzle-shaped monument “Coit Tower”. Check out the beautiful murals at Coit Tower.


Includes…Golden Gate Park, West Portal, Park Merced, and Ingleside

Golden Gate Park

  • Visit the California Academy of Sciences and/or roll out your sleeping bag for Penguins + Pajamas at the Academy.
  • Conservatory of Flowers.
  • Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers.
  • Cross the Drum Bridge at the Japanese Tea Garden.
  • Visit De Young Museum: The oldest museum in San Francisco.
  • Ride to the top of the Hamon Observation Tower at the De Young Museum. It’s free!
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden.
  • Smell the roses at the Rose Garden.
  • Rent a rowboat on Stow Lake.
  • Check out the bison paddock.
  • Play and Ride the carousel at the Koret Children’s Quarter Playground.
  • Bike along Golden Gate Park’s John F Kennedy Drive on a Sunday when the street’s closed to traffic.
  • Check out the Casting Pools & Angler’s Lodge.


Includes…Cole Valley, Alamo Square, Lower Haight, and Parnassus Heights

Mission District

San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood. Includes…Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, and Dogpatch

  • Take a walking tour to learn about the Balmy Alley Murals in the Mission – the most concentrated collection of murals in the city.
  • Near the Mission Find a favorite taquería in the Mission; eat lots of tacos and burritos.
  • Sit in top of Bernal Heights Park and enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree panorama and clear views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown, San Bruno Mountain, and the hills of the East Bay.
  • Enjoy a picnic at Dolores Park (It’s between the Mission and Castro neighborhoods).
  • Drive down Vermont Street, the actual curviest street in San Francisco.

Castro / Noe Valley

Includes…Twin Peaks. Glen Park, and Upper Market

  • Drive to the top of Twin Peaks.
  • Visit Billy Goat Hill Park.  It is a rope swing on the big tree near the top of the hill.
  • Diamond Heights.
  • Mount Davidson (927 feet, is the highest point in San Francisco)
  • Slide down the Seward Street slides.
  • Visit Tom and Jerry Christmas House during the Holidays.

Civic Center / Hayes Valley

  • Step inside City Hall and stand under the dome, which is the tallest in the United States, 42 inches higher than the one in the nation’s capital in D.C.

Treasure Island

  • Check out the “Bliss Dance” (dancing lady statue) a forty-foot tall sculpture by local artist Marco Cochrane and enjoy the Amazing views of the city.

SOMA / Yerba Buena

Includes…Mission Bay and South Beach

  • Create a work of art at the SFMOMA.
  • Visit the Yerba Buena Gardens an oasis in the heart of the city.
  • Read inspiring words from Martin Luther King Jr. behind the cascading fountain at Yerba Buena Gardens.
  • Zip down the 25-foot tube slide at the Yerba Buena Gardens Play Circle.
  • Go to a Giants game at AT&T Park or Take a behind the scenes AT&T Park Tour.
  • Museum Modern Art.
  • Celebrate cartoonists and visit the Cartoon Art Museum.
  • Visit the San Francisco Flower Mart


Marin County

  • Walk the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Hike the Muir Woods National Monument.
  • Visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum a 7.5 acres of natural beauty framed by the majestic backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Take another view of the Golden Gate bridge from Battery Spencer at Fort Baker.
  • Visit Point Bonita Lighthouse in the Marin Headlands.
  • Go to the Italian Street Painting Marin in San Rafael.
  • Take the ferry from Sausalito/Larkspur to San Francisco.
  • Visit The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.
  • Hike in the Marin Headlands.
  • Day trip out to Stinson Beach.
  • Visit the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito.
  • Hike Mount Tamalpais.
  • Visit Angel Island State Park.
  • Visit Point Reyes and the lighthouse.
  • Visit the stunning Cypress tree tunnel In Point Reyes National Seashore. At the end of the tunnel is the historic RCA/Marconi station, a wireless telegraph station where operators tap out Morse Code messages from ship to shore in the early 2oth century.
  • Enjoy the Inkwells swimming holes – small, deep pools lie beside Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Lagunitas, Marin.
  • Visit Paradise Beach Park – A 19 acre regional park is located along the east shore of the Tiburon Peninsula.
  • Hike the Alamere Falls – A waterfall in Point Reyes National Seashore.
  • Hike the Cataract Falls in Fairfax.

Wine Country/Napa & Sonoma

South Bay/East Bay Towns/Santa Clara Valley


Central Coast

  • Take a Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (US Highway 1).
  • Half Moon Bay.
  • See the elephant seals in Año Nuevo State Reserve.
  • Visit Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
  • Santa Cruz – Combine a mile-long beach with cool rides and games.
  • Hike in Big Basin State Park.
  • Visit the Mystery Spot where gravity defy nature.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • Tour the 17-Mile Drive.
  • Dennis the Menace Park.
  • Walk the Cannery Row.
  • Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea– Carmel-by-the-Sea was rated #3 in the list of the world’s best cities for romance by Travel + Leisure and Rated the #1 Dog Friendly Town in America :-)
  • Walk around Point Lobos State Reserve.
  • Visit Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park & Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – Park offers a hike to a waterfall, a redwood grove & coastal views.
  • Experience The Big Sur – Check the Bixby Bridge.
  • Pebble Beach.
  • Explore Hearst Castle a magnificent Mediterranean-style country house.
  • San Luis Obispo — Stay at the Madonna Inn, see the mission and the sand dunes, and explore downtown on foot.
  • Visit Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove one of our most beloved attractions from late October through February. Thousands of colorful Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of Eucalyptus and Monterey Pines in the area, giving the appearance of yellow and orange leaves.

High Sierra North

  • Enjoy Lake Tahoe during Summer and Winter.

North Coast

  • Explore Fort Bragg
  • Visit Mendocino
  • Visit Point Arena Lighthouse
  • Visit Bodega Bay
  • Take a history lesson at Fort Ross, an impressive historic Russian fortress that was once a bustling base for Pacific trade.

The Big Valley

Gold Country

High Sierra South

  • Yosemite Valley. — See El Capitan and Half Dome.
  • Visit Redwood Country
  • Humboldt County — See Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
  • Sequoia National Park — General Sherman Tree, Crystal Cave, and Grant Grove.

Shasta Cascade

  • Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic National Park.
  • Sundial Bridge, Sundial Bridge Drive, Redding, CA.

3 Comments on “San Francisco Bay Area Bucket List

  1. Wow! Look at all of the things to do in San Francisco and the Bay Area…
    lol, now where do I start?

  2. I found your blog by accident. My fiancé & I are trying to plan our honeymoon. In the midst of wedding planning, trying to learn all I can about San Francisco has been overwhelming. Thank you for your posts and links. I can tell I will be a frequent visitor.

  3. Hi Tina,
    Thank you for your comment. San Francisco is a beautiful city with a lot of places to visit and things to do. I’m sure you will have a wonderful honeymoon.

    Make sure you dress in layers. San Francisco weather can change a lot from day to day and you will also find temperature variances from neighborhood to neighborhood.

    If you have time I would recommend you to visit the Wine Country (Napa and Sonoma). It is around 1 hour north of San Francisco. Romance is in the air :-)

    Best Wishes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>