How to Find Things to Do in San Francisco

How to Find Things to Do in San Francisco
When you mention San Francisco, many people picture the city itself. With access to the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, the city is filled with opportunities for water sports, boating of all types and beach recreation.

Several islands and over 200 parks are also part of the city. San Francisco embraces its mild weather and sunny reputation, providing 200 miles of bicycle paths and lanes, in-line skating at Marina Green and public tennis courts throughout many parks and neighborhoods.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Local Resources

Step 1
Upon arriving in the area, inquire at your hotel about recreation opportunities. The concierge and staff who live in and frequent the city may be your best resource for finding the activity you want. Hotels often have arrangements with local businesses and can offer guests a discount along with a referral. The staff may have seasonal tips, leads on equipment rental and the ability to offer detailed travel directions.
Step 2
Use the Visitors and Convention Bureau. The San Francisco bureau has a website that includes an insider's guide filled with diverse locations, activities in the area, vacation packages and gay travel highlights ( You can find information there on accommodations, dining, local events and weather. Maps and transportation services are listed as well. The site includes an explanation of the neighborhoods and adjacent areas, such as Monterey/Carmel, Big Sur and Salinas.
Step 3
San Francisco's Visitor Information Center is located at 900 Market Street (the lower level of Hallidie Plaza). The personnel there speak 12 languages and can provide you with details on current activities within the city. A recording is also available at (415) 391-2001 which lists each month's events. These recordings are available in several languages.
Step 4
Download the Guide to San Francisco's Historic Civic Center brochure and you will have access to a map, short history, sample itinerary for the area and a list of all of the nearby cultured entertainments. Theater and symphony, the arts, museums and galleries, performing arts centers, walking tours and the farmer's markets are all included.

Parks Services

Step 1
San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department website has a list of attractions including Golden Gate Park, Steinhart Aquarium, Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and the San Francisco Zoo. The site offers a link specific to each location which describes the activities offered and hours of use
Step 2
The National Park Service site ( discusses Alcatraz Island (Golden Gate National Recreation Area), the International Indian Treaty Council activities held on the island and Alcatraz museum. Activities on Alcatraz include viewing nesting sea birds or a cruise to the island.
Step 3
The SF Bay Wildlife Info site ( has an extensive list of the wildlife preserves and organizations in the San Francisco area. These may provide wildlife viewing opportunities, tours of unspoiled or reclaimed areas, volunteer and networking opportunities. Some offer programs and educational opportunities, others protect and restore land or explore resource management.

Article Written By Alice Moon

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.

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