Tips For Arriving At Sfo Airport
Theres nothing worse than trying to maneuver your way around a new citys public transit system after just being crammed into a middle seat on the red-eye or any flight, for that matter.
So, start your vacation the right way take the hassle out of your arrival by arranging your transport to your hotel before you even set foot on the plane. A range of airport transfers is available, with both luxury and affordable options to suit all kinds of travelers.
Back The Niners At Levis Stadium
Sports fans, listen up!
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful franchises in the history of American football, and if you want to see them on their home turf, its off to Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, just over 45 minutes south of San Francisco by car.
Being in Silicon Valley, its no surprise that the stadium is outfitted with tech think, WiFi in every seat so you can tweet plays and order food.
Theres plenty of memorabilia to immerse yourself in the history of the beloved 49ers and their greatest players, including Steve Young, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana. If youre a fan, its definitely worth the trip.
Test Your Film Knowledge On A Movie Sights Tour
Consider yourself a bit of a film buff?
San Francisco features prominently in thousands of movies and series, and keen eyes will be able to identify iconic scenes from movies such as The Princess Diaries, Dr. Doolittle, Full House, Dirty Harry, and many, many, many more.
Rather than stumble across locations, see all the Tinseltown landmarks in one go, by jumping on a tour
From the air-conditioned comfort of the tour bus, expect to be shown the sights by a professional actor-turned-guide, visiting landmarks in all the major neighborhoods including Nob Hill, Union Square, Civic Center, and Fishermans Wharf.
Or, hit the sidewalk on a walking tour and put yourself in the scene. And cut!
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Appreciate Two Periods Of Art At The Fine Arts Museums
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are two museums from the same organization that could not be more different.
The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park is a sleek, contemporary collection of modern, African, and Oceanic art, while the classic French-style architecture of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park houses art from across European history.
Combined, they are a tour de force of artistic skill and iconic pieces but you might want to tour them separately to properly take it all in.
South Coast Botanical Garden:
Located in Palos Verdes this lush green oasis is a house of 2800 different species of plants and trees. If youre a nature lover and love to walk through greenery then this is heaven for you.
If youre planning to travel around the South Bay then come to this place with your kids and family. They will definitely love this place. It is said that this is a fairytale place in South Bay because of its tranquility and serenity.
If your family members are looking for a place where they can have fun things near South Bay then this botanical garden is the right choice for you.
It is a popular botanical garden in California. Throughout the year people who are in charge of this botanical garden conduct many activities related to gardening. So if you want your children to learn things about gardening then South Coast Botanical Garden is must visit place for your kids.
South Coast Botanical garden
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Stop And Smell The Roses At The San Francisco Botanical Garden
Dubbed a one-of-a-kind urban oasis, the San Francisco Botanical Garden sits in Golden Gate Park and offers a stunning collection of more than 8,000 different types of plants from every corner of the globe.
Reconnect with nature in this living museum, spanning over 55 acres of pristine horticulture, and celebrate the amazing growth potential of coastal California.
Fun for the whole family, the Garden opens daily at 7:30 am and holds regular events throughout the year, so theres always something unique on the calendar.
Almaden Quicksilver County Park
This rambling hilly landscape in the south of San Jose is on the site of the New Almaden Mines, exploited for mercury from the early days of the Gold Rush in 1847 until as recently as 1976. Mercury was used to process gold ore, and, after 130 years, some 37,388 tons of the metal had been extracted from this ground.
What was once a town for more than 1,800 miners and their families is now 4,163 acres of hills climbing more than 500 meters above sea level and rich with wildflowers in early spring.
The county park is also strewn with subtle clues to its industrial history like crumbling housing and sealed adits.
There are 37 miles of hiking trails and picnic tables dotted at scenic spots.
Fishing is permitted at the Almaden and Guadalupe Reservoirs, but given the lands mercury mining history, this fish is not to be eaten.
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Smell The Flowers At The Municipal Rose Garden
Touted as Americas Best Rose Garden, the Municipal Rose Garden is a peaceful place to take a break from San Jose sightseeing, read a book, and smell the flowers.
This historic rose garden was founded in 1927 and exclusively features roses a total of 189 rose varieties to be exact.
May and the springtime as a whole is the best time to visit the gardens for the most blooms.
However, because there are so many different types of roses, theres almost always at least some roses blooming at any time of the year.
And if youre looking to explore more gardens, San Jose has a lot of options. Id recommend adding the Japanese Friendship Garden, Heritage Rose Garden, and Overfelt Gardens to your garden itinerary.
Eat Oysters At The Marshall Store
What is it? A postcard-perfect waterfront spot for oysters near the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Why go? Youll feel transported to New England at this charming seafood shack dishing up local crustaceans and mollusks on the banks of Tomales Bay. A line forms early for a simple menu of local oystersdont miss the BBQ oysters with chorizo butterwith a side of buttery garlic bread. Grab a bottle of rosé from the cold case and head to the communal tables lining the oyster shell-dotted shoreline.
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Recycle Bookstore San Jose
Recycle Bookstore has been in business for more than 40 years and is stocked with over 100,000 titles, both popular titles as well as academic subjects. The helpful staff buys, sells, and trades used books and provides a welcoming space to satisfy your need to read. This reading oasis is also home to friendly cats who keep you company while you enjoy your books.
Keplers Books And Magazines Menlo Park
This quaint bookshop was founded in 1955 by peace activist Roy Kepler. Keplers is known for its exemplary literary events, knowledgeable staff, a broad selection of books and magazines, as well as its community significance. This mom and pop shop is an innovative hybrid business model that includes a for-profit, community-supported bookstore, and a nonprofit organization that features educational and cultural programming.
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Indulge Your Taste Buds At The Ferry Building
Sure, the Ferry Building is home to San Franciscos ferry terminal, but its also so much more.
A historic landmark with a massive clock tower, the building boasts a wide variety of shops and some of San Franciscos most delicious cuisine.
At the locally adored Ferry Building Marketplace, youll find sweets, treats, cheeses, coffee, pastries and wine , and you can take home a haul of Northern Californias best produce.
It couldnt be easier to get to the Ferry Building its a central transit hub of the citys neighborhoods.
Walk Around Santana Row
As the best shopping and dining destination in the city, Santana Row is one of the best places to visit in San Jose if you enjoy poking your head into interesting stores.
This is the ritzy upscale part of town and even if you dont have the cash to spend, its a fun place to simply walk around, window shop, people watch, and look at nice cars.
Think of it as the equivalent of what Beverly Hills is to LA or Nob Hill is to San Francisco.
In addition to the shopping, there are quite a few bars and restaurants in Santana Row, such as El Jardin, which is perfect to visit for a margarita on a hot summer night. Just note that most bars in the area close up by 11 pm.
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Drive A Porsche At A Minimal Cost
If you are a fan of high-end cars, one of the top South Bay attractions that you should try is heading to the Porsche Experience Centre to experience a luxurious car driving experience at a minimal cost.
Launched in 2015, it is a theme-based car park and a gift by Porsche to its fans for test drives, the first company to come up with such an initiative in the United States.
Porsche Experience Center also has this in Atlanta and Los Angelesright in Carson, CA in the South Bay, just off the 110 freeway.
You can drive Porsche for 90 minutes at USD 595 with a private coach, which is not cheap, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can choose from different models and the experience package. Make sure you record your video while riding your dream car.
Best Things To Do In The San Francisco South Bay California
The San Francisco Bay Area is so much more than just San Francisco! One region of the Bay Area thats often overlooked is the South Bay. Ever heard of Silicon Valley? Yeah, this iconic region sits right here in Californias South Bay!
If you can take some time to venture out of San Francisco, theres a whole world of premier shopping, live music, tech museums, unmissable bars/restaurants, childrens parks, and other fun things to do in the South Bay.
So without further ado, lets get into the best things to do in the Bay Area Californias South Bay!
This post may contain affiliate links. You wont be paying a cent more for anything, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out free and useful content. Thanks a lot!
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Cheer On One Of The Local Sports Teams
If theres one thing San Jose locals take seriously its their sports teams.
If youve never seen a professional hockey game before, catching a San Jose Sharks game at the SAP Center is a unique experience.
Not a fan of hockey? San Jose also has a professional soccer team called the San Jose Earthquakesthat play at Avaya Stadium.
And lastly, even though the 49ers are technically San Franciscos professional football team, they actually play in San Jose.
So if youre looking to experience an NFL game, head over to Levi Stadium.
San Jose is a great city for sports enthusiasts since locals are loyal fans and theres bound to be at least one professional sporting event going on at any given time of the year.
Witness Some Of Mother Natures Finest On A Yosemite Day Trip
When youve ticked off most of the things to do in San Francisco and need to get out of the city and amongst nature, there are few places in the world better than Yosemite National Park.
In just over three hours youll be enjoying the stunning panoramic views of colossal granite summits and lush tree-filled valleys of this World Heritage Site.
Take a day tour full of hiking and see first-hand the unforgettable shape of the Yosemite Half Dome, the powerful Yosemite Falls and the towering Giant Sequoia trees before returning to SF to relax once more after six to seven hours of walking, youll probably need it.
Hot tip: while myriad travelers rent their own wheels, the most hassle-free option is a guided tour that includes both pick-up and drop-off from San Francisco .
See also: best day trips from San Francisco
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Road Trip The Palos Verdes Peninsula
A lot of people visiting Los Angeles rent a car and drive around Malibu. I get it. Malibu is a gorgeous place that deserves lots of attention.
However, let me tell you something. We have another natural wonder in the southwestern part of the Los Angeles County. Some people believe the coastal views in here are far superior to the ones in Malibu. That place is called the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
There is an easy, well-maintained road that hugs the curves and cliffs of the Peninsula. Your jaw will drop when you see what is waiting for you in here. What is best, this place is desolated when compared to Malibu. So, this is one of my top recommendation on things to do in the South Bay!
I have an entire article discussing the best coastal hikes in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. You can use the article to set a route along the Peninsula. It is very easy to spend a day around.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore spans more than 71,000 acres along Point Reyes Peninsula within Marin County. The National Park Service-maintained seashore and nature preserve attracts more than 2.5 million visitors each year and is home to important wild coastal beach, headlands, and estuary habitats. Attractions within the seashore include the 1870 Point Reyes Lighthouse, which serves as a popular whale-watching observation spot, and the Point Reyes Lifeboat Station, the last rail-launched lifeboat station on the Pacific coast. Important early European settler sites are preserved as part of the Drakes Bay Historic and Archaeological District, while indigenous Coast Miwok culture is recreated at the Kule Loklo village. 30,000 acres of the seashore are also preserved as the Phillip Burton Wilderness, which features grassland and fir and pine forest regions. An extensive hiking trail system offers day-hike and backpacking opportunities, and four hike-in campgrounds are available with reservations.
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Walk Or Bike The Strand
The Strand is a 22-mile paved path extending from Pacific Palisades to Torrance. Most of this trail hugs the coast of Los Angeles County. The section within the South Bay is approximately 9 miles long.
Now, that is a lot to walk in one sitting. I recommend exploring the path by areas. Here are some of my favorite sections to walk:
- Manhattan Beach Pier to Hermosa Beach Pier
- Manhattan Beach Pier to El Porto
- Hermosa Beach Pier to Redondo Beach Pier
- Redondo Beach Pier to End of Trail
If you prefer to bike and do not have your own wheels, you can rent at the Hermosa Beach Cyclery, or Pedego Electric Bikes Redondo Beach.
Spending some time at The Strand is one of the classic things to do in the South Bay. This is a highly recommended activity.
Catch A Glimpse Of The Blimp
If you have spent some time in the Los Angeles area, you have probably seen the Goodyear Blimp flying around. If you want to see it up close, you can stop by its Carson base. Through the companys website, you can request a visit. I do not have details on what it is included in the visit or how much it costs.
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Order A Drink And A View At A Rooftop Bar
For a culinary experience like no other, Top of the Mark sits on the 19th floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel and offers celebrity-approved cocktails with a superb outlook from the venues sky lounge.
Over on top of the Moscone Center and Gardens, B Restaurant and Bar is renowned for its menu, rooftop terrace, and the best Happy Hour in San Francisco.
In the Mission, El Techo has been voted one of the citys best restaurants and offers soul-satisfying pan-Latin American cuisine.
Charmaines Rooftop Bar & Lounge sits 120 feet above Market Street and is the perfect blend of European terraces and coastal Californian vibes.
Plus, Rooftop 25 is one of the citys trendiest new venues, atop the 25 Lusk restaurant in SoMa.
San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
For three days in August Plaza de César Chávez, in front of the Tech Interactive, is the anchor for a leading jazz festival.
Going strong for more than 30 years, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is loved for the amount of performances it squeezes into these three days , the events small footprint and the sheer breadth of performers.
Every sub-genre has equal footing, be it blues, Latin, R& B, funk, soul or gospel.
Well-known names on the bill in 2019 were pianist Fred Hersch, Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter, drummer Kassa Overall and R& B icons the OJays.
The festival partners with local bars, clubs and hotels so you can party into the night, and at the Swing Stage youll find teachers showing you how to do the Charleston and Lindy Hop.
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Enter A Celebrity Haven At Madame Tussauds
Its not often youre given the opportunity to see all your favorite celebrities in one place.
Madame Tussauds world-famous wax museum is a family-friendly display of some of the greatest icons of film, music, sports, and business.
Snap a pic with the likenesses of Leo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Muhammad Ali and a whole lot more, as well as a collection of local San Franciscan celebrities but shh, these famous Bay Area names are a secret!
No ropes or boundaries mean you can literally rub shoulders with the greats.