The botanical trifecta for Golden Gate Park and located within walking distance of one another. The Conservatory is North America’s oldest, and features an all-glass Victorian structure with lush tropical plants. The Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest public Japanese Garden in the U.S. Next stop are the redwoods in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, along with rare plants that no longer exist in their own native environment but thrive in this perfect Mediterranean climate.
Golden Gate Park
Across San Francisco Bay from the city, the Marin Headlands rise above the water to offer panoramic views. Here, you can capture the bridge, Alcatraz and the downtown area all in a single image. And since you've made the trek over, you might as well stick around to enjoy the headlands' beaches and hiking trails.
On the east side of the Golden Gate Bridge (opposite the Marin Headlands), Fort Baker was once an army outpost. The soldiers have now relocated elsewhere and a luxury hotel, Cavallo Point, has moved into the officers' homes. Even if you aren't staying at the hotel, you can still adore the view from the dock at Horseshoe Bay, located out front.
One of the most underrated view spots in the Bay Area, head over the Bay Bridge to take in the long view of downtown financial district skyline with the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge in foreground; take mid-span turnoff from bridge and enjoy a dramatic night shot.
Built in 1933, the tower atop Telegraph Hill is blessed with marvelous views. Constructed using funds bequeathed from Lillie Hitchcock Coit , who left one third of her fortune "to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved." Murals on its ground floor walls were painted in 1933 by some 30 local artists– each piece depicting a different aspect of the Great Depression. A 360-degree view of the city is visible from the observation platform at the top of the tower.
Take Lombard Street to Telegraph Hill Blvd.
Built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I, the Legion of Honor displays a collection of more than 4,000 years of ancient and European art and houses the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in a neoclassic building overlooking Lincoln Park and the Golden Gate Bridge.
100 34th Avenue and Clement Street
Step into another world at the corner of Grant Avenue and Bush Street. San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. Visually stimulating, rich in color and culture- it’s no surprise that it’s one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco.
Grant Ave. and Bush St.
8. Cable Cars
Hop onto a bit of San Francisco history, it also happens to be a great way to get around the City. Pick up at Hyde and Chestnut streets and enjoy views of Alcatraz and the Exhibition Ships at Hyde Street Pier. From Victorian Park at Hyde and Beach streets the cable car turntable offers stunning views of the Bay and Golden Gate. Jump on at the Nob Hill cable car intersection for amazing cityscapes down California and Powell Streets.
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is the only one still situated on its original site. It remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals and is such an icon that a miniature replica of it was built in Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim.
3301 Lyon Street
10. Twin Peaks
There may be no better place to view the city than here. This set of high peaks is located near the geographical center of the city, offering stunning 360-degree panoramic views of this beautiful city and the bay and ocean beyond.
11. Alamo Square
One of the most photographed locations in San Francisco, Alamo Square's famous "postcard row" at Hayes and Steiner Streets is indeed a visual treat. A tight, escalating formation of Victorian houses is back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers, providing a stunning contrast. The grassy square itself is an ideal midday break.
Steiner Street between Hayes and Fulton
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