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20 Most Famous San Francisco Landmarks

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Are you wondering what the most famous San Francisco landmarks are? Whether you are planning a trip to San Francisco, researching whether journeying there is worth your time or you simply want to know more about this fascinating city, I have you covered in this article outlining the most famous San Francisco landmarks!

Famous for its golden gate bridge and diverse culture, San Francisco has a lot of stories to unfold. San Francisco has been declared one of the largest cities in the United States. It is a one-of-a-kind cityscape surrounded by fog and world-famous landmarks. So, without further ado, let’s skim through these famous San Francisco landmarks. Make sure to note them down on your bucket list!

1. The Golden Gate Bridge

Famous San Francisco Landmarks

It is impossible not to talk about the Golden Gate Bridge while mentioning famous San Francisco landmarks. One lesser-known fact about this landmark is that it was decided to be painted black with yellow stripes at the request of the US Navy, but eventually, their consideration was denied.

The bridge crosses straight and joins San Francisco Bay to the Pacific, which gives it this huge name and makes it one of the famous San Francisco landmarks. Like its twin brother, the Bay Bridge, construction began in 1933. Bay Bridge and the Golden gate Bridge opened in 1936 and 1937, five months apart.

Yearly, many visitors travel to the location to have quality time. If you ever get there, don’t forget to shoot that iconic picture for your Instagram.

2. San Francisco Symphony

What would be the point of visiting San Francisco; if the San Francisco Symphony is not on your bucket list? Nothing right? This could be one of your favourite landmarks if you have been a sucker for good entertainment.

Five years after the 1906 earthquake, the San Francisco Symphony was established as an orchestra for the public. It has presented creative programs combining classical and contemporary music for over a century. So, finding a concert that suits your taste is simple. You can find a wide variety ranging from Mahler to Pops making this location one of the famous San Francisco landmarks.

3. San Francisco Zoo And Gardens

Among some other, famous San Francisco landmarks is the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens. This for those who will have their little ones on board while visiting the city. San Francisco Zoo and Gardens is a historic treasure adored by adults and toddlers equally.

The zoo has around 1000 rescued and endangered animals with about 250 species in a space as spacious as 100 acres. Basically, the primary mission of the zoo is to connect visitors all around the world with wildlife. Its noble cause is what makes it one of the famous San Francisco landmarks.

4. Contemporary Jewish Museum

San Francisco has long been associated with rich history, and the residents there have ensured to preserve their rich culture. The Contemporary Jewish Museum is located just in Downtown San Francisco. The museum is known for holding dynamic exhibitions and programs to educate tourists about Jewish history and their culture. It is one of the famous San Francisco landmarks from the religious point of view.

5. Angel Island State Park

Another famous San Francisco landmark is Angel Island State Park. Honestly, visiting this island is a perfect day trip if you have a weeklong stay in San Francisco. Moreover, if you ever plan your visit there, make sure to get the ferry ride as it takes only 30 minutes to get there.

You can enjoy various activities on the island, including biking, fishing, hiking, bird watching, or even playing baseball. Also, there are many historical sites around the island ready to explore.

6. Legion Of Honor

Now, this famous San Francisco landmark is for those who love to visit art museums. Legion of Honor was initially built in the memory of Californian soldiers who died in World War I.

The museum has more than 4000 years of ancient European art that is just a treat to the eyes. Inside the museum, you will also find neoclassical architecture with views of Lincoln Park and the Golden Gate Bridge. One good thing here is you get to have a multilingual tour, so you don’t have to scratch your head here and there.

7. San Francisco Giants At Oracle Park

Oracle Park is among the famous San Francisco landmarks located at the city’s scenic Waterfront. Officially the park is the home to some of the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

You can reach there by a short walk from Downtown, or you can have any means of public transport. The park is open to exploration, and tourists mainly visit there to tour places like the Batting Cage, Suite Level, and View Level. 

8. The Mission

I have been through many famous San Francisco landmarks, but The Mission neighbourhood was the one I enjoyed the most. Be it the sunny weather or the shadow of the Twin peaks, the atmosphere here is somewhat different.

So what’s the specialty of this neighbourhood? Of course, it’s tasty taquerias, vibrant murals, and relatively flat geography. Additionally, the area has Mission San Francisco De Asis, the town’s oldest structure. If you’re staying somewhere else in the city, do yourself a favour and explore this spectacular neighbourhood on foot, as it will be an amazing experience.

9. San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

One of the longest bridges in the world is the Bay Bridge. The San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge opened just a half year earlier than the golden gate bridge. This spectacular bridge links Downtown San Francisco to the city of Oakland.

A portion of the upper section was rebuilt following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, converting it to a single deck carrying all lanes. As of 2014, the bridge’s latest construction makes it the widest in the world. This makes it one of the famous San Francisco landmarks that receive a lot of tourists.

10. Chinatown

One of the most famous San Francisco landmarks is, without any doubt, Chinatown. The place is just overwhelming and has this red dragon theme to it. The streets literally feel as if you have stepped into some local street of china.

The largest and oldest Chinatown outside of Asia is in San Francisco. If you ever get to visit there, you will notice these peculiar stone-carved dragon gates. The neighborhood offers some colorful shops, lanterns, street lights, and almost everything you would find on a Chinese street.

Chinatown spans from Stockton to Montgomery Street. You can try dim sum, shop around, or explore Chinese art in this not-so-tiny Chinatown.

11. Crissy Field

Crissy Field is the perfect spot for you if you want a picnic spot while holidaying in San Francisco. The park is situated at the Northern Waterfront in the Presidio or just to the East of the Golden Gate Bridge and is known as one of the famous San Francisco landmarks. While enjoying your time there, you can also have fantastic views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

You can also enjoy walks alongside the scenic marshes and watch some rarest bird species. If you don’t want to do anything you can still relax there and breathe the fresh air.

12. San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

Launched in 1935, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is situated on Third Street. After undergoing an expansion, SFMOMA reopened in 2016 and had some amazing scenic views for the tourists making it one of the most famous San Francisco landmarks.

The museum has around seven floors, with international and fine art exhibitions going on throughout the year. And if you are planning a visit there, don’t forget to check out the largest living wall in the States. Spectacular city vistas from the outside gardens and terraces are just a couple of the museum’s remarkable attractions that make it one of the most famous San Francisco landmarks.

13. The Cable Car Museum

Famous San Francisco Landmarks

If you have been on those cable cars while in San Francisco, you might be curious to know where they come from. If that is so, you can head to the Cable Car Museum in the Nob Hill neighbourhood at Mason street. Being known as one of the most famous San Francisco landmarks the Cable Car Museum receives a lot of tourists throughout the year.

The museum has some huge engines and wheels that actually show how San Francisco’s famous cable cars move. Besides cables and windings, you would also find photographs and antique cable cars that date back to the 1870s. In the end, if you want to get a souvenir for your friend, you can fetch one from a gift shop nearby the museum.

14. The De Young Museum

The De Young Museum is one of the famous San Francisco landmarks. Located inside the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is the De Young museum. This is the perfect place for anyone who likes to dig up the history of different kinds of art and how they came into existence.

The museum has art from the 17th through the 21st century. You can find contemporary and modern art, photography, international textile art, and other art from Africa and all over America.

De Young’s Hamon Tower’s observatory offers a 360-degree view of the city. You can visit the ninth-floor observatory for some spectacular views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.

15. California Academy Of Sciences

One of the places you must visit in San Francisco is the California Academy of Sciences. The academy has everything you could ever ask for. Aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and top-notch research and educational programs; in short, the academy offers every sort of program.

While your stay there, you can enjoy many options, from diving into the coral reef to feeding penguins. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the four-story live rainforest and breathtaking coral reef ecosystem. The spot is among famous San Francisco landmarks for children and especially teens.

16. Lombard Street

Famous for its tight turns, beautiful gardens, and exceptional views of the bay, Lombard street is another famous San Francisco landmark. Locals there call this street one of the most crooked streets in the world because it has eight sharp turns.

You might have seen those turns in pictures or sceneries, so why not visit and witness the sight for yourself? Lombard Street is near other famous San Francisco landmarks, including North beach and ChinaTown. If you visit there, make sure to respect the residents and don’t make noise.

17. Alcatraz Island

Historically Alcatraz Island is among the famous San Francisco landmarks. The island has been used as a prison in the past from the late 1930s to the 1960s. Because of its safe location, the military previously used it as a prison.

However, now the place is a huge tourist attraction and one of North America’s most famous landmarks. The island’s natural habitat allows numerous animals and birds to grow on the landscape. As soon as you get to this island, you will notice a huge variety of flora, including geraniums and roses.

18. Golden Gate Park

The golden gate park is larger than New York’s central park and is among famous San Francisco landmarks. This San Francisco landmark has several exciting locations, including statues, windmills, museums, and other natural elements, like gardens, lakes, and a waterfall.

The park is free to visit any time of the day; however, special occasions like Exhibitions at the De Young Museum might cost you a ticket. If you get to visit there, don’t forget to catch up on the oldest glass and wood greenhouse.

Besides museums, the park has other terrific sites like the Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Gardens, An Ornate Carousel, and the once Alemany Emergency Hospital. I guess a day would be enough to explore this park. The activities there makes this location as one of the famous San Francisco landmarks.

19. The Presidio

Facts About California

Presidio is now open to the public, known as a military post in the past, featuring many spectacular landscapes. The Presidio has been known for its architectural and historical treasures that tourists all around the globe love to visit. You can either go for a hike, a walking tour, a picnic or take a stroll back in time at the Presidio, as one of the famous San Francisco landmarks it has a lot to offer.

20. The Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is a local interactive museum that sparks curiosity and encourages creativity in people of all ages. It is situated on Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, right in the middle of the Waterfront. It is on the top among famous San Francisco Landmarks.

In the magnificent glass-and-steel Bay Observatory, discover more than 600 interactive displays, including 150 brand-new experiences, and take in breathtaking views of the city and bay.

Famous San Francisco Landmarks- Bottom Line

Voila, you have reached the end of my 20 most famous San Francisco landmarks list. I hope you have enjoyed this post and have prepared your bucket list for your next trip there. Why don’t you read other exciting posts if you liked this article? Here I have recommended some-

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