If you are heading on a Royal Holiday to San Francisco, one of the top places in America to see before you die, you’ll find plenty to occupy your time. San Francisco is a hub of culture, business, and diverse lifestyles. Founded in 1776, this city is now the fifth most populous in the nation. From cable cars to that famous bridge, you will be lucky to see it all in just one trip. Odds are you will visit again and again and manage to experience something new each time. For your first trip to the bay area, consider some of the top must-see spots.
It is a little cliché, but Alcatraz is one of those San Francisco attractions that you are going to see eventually, so you might as well get it out of the way. Located on a small island just off the coast of the bay, Alcatraz was once the most famous federal penitentiary in the country. It housed the likes of George Machine Gun Kelly and James Whitely Bulger. It was the site of a notorious prison break in 1962 written about in J. Campbell Bruce’s book Escape from Alcatraz.
2. Twin Peaks
There are many fabulous views of this city, but one of the most spectacular is found on two hills called the Twin Peaks. The Twin Peaks are the highest elevation in this region, topping out at 922 feet.
Each peak has a name. Eureka Peaks, the one to the north, allows you to see Cobb Mountain in the distance. Noe Peak, the south hill, provides a clear view of the Santa Clara Valley. Between the two hills is the Muni Metro Twin Peaks Tunnel that links Downtown San Francisco with the southwestern section of the city.
3. Palace of Fine Arts
Located in the Marina District of San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts is a monumental structure created during the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It hosts art exhibitions and the occasional wedding.
A trip to the Palace of Fine Arts is as much about seeing the architecture as it is the artwork. Built around a small lagoon, the Palace features a central rotunda and classic ornamentation. At night, the building lights up to reflect off the water, making it an intricate part of the San Francisco skyline.
4. The Exploratorium
If your Royal Holiday includes entertaining children while in San Francisco, then you want to pencil in a trip the Exploratorium. The Exploratorium is more than just a children’s museum. It is over 600 mind boggling exhibits designed to peak your curiosity and inspire the creative side of you. The attraction’s website describes it as an ongoing exploration.
A visit to the Exploratorium introduces you and your young ones to films, tinkering activities, music and lots of science.
5. The Walt Disney Family Museum
If you are a fan of the mouse, then you are a fan of the man. Walt Disney brought his vision to life in animation and theme parks. Along with his brother Roy, he built an empire. The San Francisco Museum is owned by a non-profit group established by Disney’s heirs.
The site consists of three historic buildings that showcase artifacts and technology that describe Disney’s life. There are interactive galleries, a model of the original Disneyland and a state-of-the-art digital theater. The museum is set up to tell a story, which is how Walt envisioned all his rides.
6. The Cable Car Museum
Chances are when you think of San Francisco, the vision of cable cars pops into your mind. Sine 1873, cable cars has helped tourists see San Francisco. The museum celebrates that history by introducing you to the man who tested the first car on Clay street and walking you through the evolution of the cars in the city. Today, they are still one of the top vehicles of choice in the area.
7. Pier 39
Pier 39 is a mainstay of the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. It is a combination of places to play, shops, and exquisite cuisine. Start by exploring the Aquarium of the Bay to visit with over 20,000 local sea creatures. From there, try your hand at the Laser Maze Challenge or take a ride on the virtual roller coaster for a 7D experience.
Pier 39 consists of 45-acres set on the waterfront. It includes over 90 shops and 14 full-service restaurants plus a 5-acre park and marina for you to enjoy while visiting San Francisco.
A Royal Holiday in San Francisco, California means good food, plenty of history and lots of fun things to see.