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Top 10 Things to See and Do in San Francisco - The City by the Bay

CableMover Guest Blog Post
By Jennifer of Eighty MPH Mom

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and some of the fondest memories from my childhood are of my parents and I visiting the city by the bay.  My parents met in a guesthouse in San Francisco, many moons ago, and they truly left their hearts in San Francisco.  We would frequently dress up and dine out in North Beach.  Mom and I would have many “girls” days in the city - having lunch, shopping, and seeing musicals. These were honestly some of the best times of my life.  There is just something special about San Francisco, and below I have shared some of my favorite things to do when visiting there.

Fisherman’s Wharf

If you love seafood, you will get a kick out of the huge crab pots and friendly “crab” guys!  Grab a sourdough bread bowl filled to the brim with clam chowder, find a seat, and warm up a bit.  I seem to say this about everything in San Francisco, but this is something you must do.  You will find some of the best chowder and sourdough bread around.   If you need to take a break, head into one of the many fine seafood restaurants that Fisherman’s Wharf has to offer.  

Head across the street to visit the Wax Museum of Fisherman’s Wharf (this is always entertaining!), or visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not for even more fun.  There is also a candy store with oversized candy - it is called Candy Baron.
Fisherman’s Wharf information:

Pier 39

It is hard to describe Pier 39.  I guess the words fun, yummy and exciting wrap it up perfectly. Pier 39 is a fun place to take the whole family.  Whether you feel like shopping, dining, enjoying the entertainment, watching sea lions (see the sea lion webcam linked below!), or just taking in the beauty of the bay, Pier 39 is your destination.  Fun abounds, whatever you decide to do while visiting this lively place.  It is conveniently located next to Fisherman’s Wharf, and just a few blocks from Ghirardelli Square.
Pier 39:

Aquarium of the Bay

The whole family will love the aquarium.  Kids can see and even touch sea creatures such as sea stars, sharks and rays, and they will learn about the ecosystems that support marine life.


San Francisco Chinatown is always an adventure.  It is extremely busy, but very interesting. One of my favorite things to do in Chinatown is have Dim Sum. If you have never had Dim Sum before, this is your chance to enjoy some of the best around.  There is just something really fun about the carts being brought around and you can pick and choose which plates you want to sample. Of course, there is plenty of shopping in Chinatown too!


This old prison (which operated from 1934 to 1963) housed some of the most notorious bad guys, including Al Capone!  Although it is a dark and eerie place, it really is fascinating.  You can take a guided tour, and there are headphones available if you would like to hear the stories. Or you might choose to just wander around and use your imagination of how it was to live on this dark island prison.  Boats to Alcatraz depart several times throughout the day, but I would recommend buying your tickets in advance.
Alcatraz information:

Golden Gate Bridge

The beautiful and majestic Golden Gate Bridge awaits you!   I was actually fortunate enough to live in a house across the bay, that had a view of all three bay area bridges. I remember staring out of our living room window, admiring this orange beauty. This San Francisco landmark is absolutely stunning.  Did you know that you can also walk across the Golden Gate Bridge?  It is an experience of a lifetime, and the views are phenomenal!

Ghirardelli Square

Love chocolate?  So do I!  After a day of touring San Francisco, head to Ghirardelli Square to indulge in a hand-crafted sundae or other ice cream treat.  This is some of the best chocolate around, and definitely a SF staple.   But Ghirardelli Square is more than just chocolate!  You can browse through a variety of fun shops both indoors and out, have a bite to eat, or maybe just enjoy the entertainment in the middle of the square.
For more information on Ghirardelli Square, visit:

North Beach

This is where we always went to celebrate our birthdays.  I remember one of my birthdays, we were eating at Ristorante Italiano, and there was a group of business men at a table near us. They saw that it was my birthday and they called me over, and one of the men handed me a $5 bill.  It turns out that it was Gordon Getty!

Although some of  my favorite old North Beach restaurants are now closed, there are still plenty of dining options that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.  You will enjoy the scent of garlic and other delightful smells as you walk the streets of North Beach.  Some of the best Italian meals I have ever enjoyed, have been in North Beach.  Some favorites of the locals are Bocce Cafe, Capp’s Corner, and Caffe Sport.  

Beach Blanket Babylon

Located in North Beach and a tradition in San Francisco for years, Beach Blanket Babylon is as San Francisco as it gets. In fact, it is the longest running musical in theatre history!  This wacky, hip, and extremely funny musical, parodies current events and celebrities with outrageous costumes and very talented singers.  Although this is mostly a show for adults, they do have a matinee, where those younger than 21 are welcome.

For the perfect night out, grab dinner at one of the numerous North Beach restaurants and head down the street to see Beach Blanket Babylon.  If you do nothing else is in San Francisco, you have to do this!   Make sure you plan ahead and get your tickets a few weeks in advance, as tickets sell out fast!  
Location: 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard (Green Street)
Visit for more information, tickets, etc.

Cable Cars

Ahhh, the familiar ringing of the cable cars, as you walk the streets of San Francisco. This sound brings back some very fond memories for me.  This is something you must do while visiting San Francisco, and it is a great way to get around to avoid driving. Whether you choose to sit inside or hang on the outside (for dear life), it is an adventure you don’t want to miss!
For the cable car routes, visit