- Download our Moving to San Francisco Guide (PDF)
Known for its steep hills, gently ascending cable cars and, of course, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, there is a wealth of sightseeing opportunities and famous attractions in San Francisco for new arrivals to explore once the stress of relocation has settled. Here are some of the best things to see and do in San Francisco.
Attractions in San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is by far the most famous symbol of San Francisco. There is nothing quite like seeing this iconic rust-coloured bridge in person for the very first time.
Commonly known as ‘The Rock’, this alleged escape-proof island prison once held the likes of Al ‘Scarface’ Capone and George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly. Expats can explore the prison on guided tours and learn about the island’s fascinating history.
Golden Gate Park
One of the most picturesque open spaces in the city, Golden Gate Park has plenty of features that will keep residents coming back for more. Beautiful lakes, the spectacular Muir Woods forest, numerous sporting facilities, and fascinating museums make the parkland a fantastic destination for families, picnickers, or just a break from the day-to-day grind.
Aquarium of the Bay
Featuring more than 20,000 aquatic animals, from sharks and starfish to otters and octopi, the Aquarium of the Bay is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.
By some measures, famous Lombard Street is the most crooked street in the world, featuring eight hairpin turns. Originally designed in 1922 to make the 27-degree slope of the hill manageable for residents, Lombard Street has become one of San Francisco’s quirkier attractions.
San Francisco has one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States. Even today, the area draws more tourists a year than even the famous Golden Gate Bridge. This is a great place to pick up fresh fish and vegetables and spend some time perusing the herbal shops and enjoying a meal in one of the many enticing eateries.
►Lifestyle in San Francisco provides an overview of expat life in the city.
"I love the variety of things to do and see in San Francisco. On any day of the week there are so many things that I could get out to (if I had the money) – music, food trucks, comedy, great restaurants, lectures, festivals, fairs, free shows in parks – there really is never 'nothing to do'. But to be honest, if you're moving from Sydney and want to go somewhere that feels like home, California should be first on your list. The climate is practically the same (apart from Karl The Fog) and the people are lovely."
Read more about Aussie expat Katherine's experiences in San Francisco.
Are you an expat living in San Francisco?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to San Francisco. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
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