San Francisco can feel like a movie set; it’s such a famous city that seeing it with your own eyes feels somewhat surreal. The downside to visiting San Francisco is the overwhelmed feeling of wanting to see so many places when you’re short on time. Even during a pandemic, there are many Covid-friendly outdoor activities to choose from that it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re visiting San Francisco, don’t be overwhelmed by FOMO. Instead, mark these must-see places off your San-Fran bucket list.
- See the Sea Lions. These giant sea mammals love to sun themselves on the docks of San Francisco Bay—Pier 39 is especially famous as sea lion central. The winter months are the perfect time to see sea lions in action, since herring, a favorite snack of sea lions, tend to spawn in the Bay in winter.
- The Golden Gate Bridge, Duh. Pretend you’re in your very own action movie and jog (or bike) the length of this 1.7-mile historic feat of engineering. Then, enjoy the natural beauty of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Just be sure to bring/wear your mask: the bridge is a major tourist attraction.
- Hike Amongst the Redwoods. Across the Golden Gate Bridge from downtown San Francisco is Muir Woods National Monument, an old-growth coastal redwood forest. Take in the majesty of these prehistoric trees up close and personal on over six miles of hiking.
- Haight Ashbury and its Famous Homes. Even if you’re not a huge psychedelic rock fan, the neighborhood home to Jimi Hendrix’s house and the Grateful Dead house—as well as the start of the 60s counterculture movement—is an integral part of San Francisco’s history. The house the Grateful Dead once lived in is a private residence now, but it’s still fun to imagine how different it must’ve been back in the day.
- Get the Full Winding Experience on Lombard Street. Especially if you’re visiting from a less hilly city, a trip down the famously winding Lombard Street, surrounded by cute houses and picturesque gardens, will be slightly nerve-wracking but completely memorable. This is the perfect opportunity to get that memorable Instagram picture that sums up your trip.
- Pop Into an Abandoned Prison. It’s easy to forget that right off the coast of San Francisco lies the infamous island prison of Alcatraz. Though it’s abandoned now, and the interior remains closed due to Covid, you can take a ferry ride over and explore the architecture and forbidding terrain of this dark piece of San Francisco’s history.
No list could ever cover all the incredible sights to see when visiting San Francisco, but this list can definitely get you started on an unforgettable, socially-distanced trip.