San Francisco is known for being a tech city, the most expensive and one of the strangest cities in the world. There are many things that make this city unique but only a few that are nationally recognized. Check out this list of restaurants, events and places that people from around the world know about and discover the things that only San Francisco has to offer.
Of course the Golden Gate Bridge is on this list. What is San Francisco without the Golden Gate Bridge” This landmark has been declared as one of the Modern Wonders of the World as well as one of the most photographed bridges in the world. Fun fact — the bridge was designed to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake and 90-mile-per-hour winds.
Bob’s Donuts isn’t just an average donut shop; it’s the home of San Francisco’s $8 giant donut. This donut, which is about the size of a human head, comes in simple flavors such as glazed and chocolate. If you can eat this donut in under two minutes, you will receive a refund, free drink, Bob’s Donuts T-shirt, and your name listed on the hall of fame. Bob’s Donuts takes great pride with being one of the last independent donut shops that still make their pastries from scratch. The best part is that they’re open 24 hours.
San Francisco has an abundance of taquerias, but only one of them has fought through 67,391 restaurants to be named ‘best burrito in America.’ La Taqueria’s carnitas burrito was ranked the best burrito by FiveThirtyEight. That’s a lot of burritos to beat, so this one is definitely a big deal. San Francisco’s Mission Street is also home to many nationally recognized burrito shops including El Farolito, Taqueria Cancun and El Castillito.
Bay to Breakers is one of the most exciting races in which you will ever participate. Established in 1912, this is the longest running annual foot race in the world. The course begins at the Embarcadero and goes 7.46 miles to Ocean Beach. The best part of this race are the costumes that people wear (or don’t wear). This race has also become known for its public nudity.
Residents both love him and hate him. Karl the Fog is the notorious fog that rolls over San Francisco for most of the year. Obviously fog is a phenomenon that occurs throughout the world, but Karl has become more than a weather pattern. Karl is a part of this city, similar to how rain is described with Seattle.
There are LGBT Pride Parades around the entire country, but none of them compare to San Francisco’s. This two-day event brings thousands of people together to celebrate the largest LGBT community in the world. Each year, the parade features a different theme; next year will be ‘For Racial and Economic Justice.’ This parade also hosts musical acts, which have included Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys. This is one of those events that people travel the world to get to.
San Francisco is also home to the largest leather event in the world. Hundreds of vendors and leather-heads gather at the Folsom Street Fair to fill their material passion. This event is a playground for adults with dance areas, public playstations and a massive live stage. This event has also become known for its public nudity.
Every great music festival has a notable feature. For example, Sasquatch has the Columbia River, Hangout Fest has the beach and Burning Man is in the middle of nowhere. Treasure Island Music Festival is on an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. This festival features hip-hop and electronic artists (day 1) and indie artists (day 2). This is one of the many premier music festivals in San Francisco but the only one on the island. Last year’s lineup included Run the Jewels, Big Grams, Deadmau5, The National, CHVRCHES and many more.
In 1858, Alcatraz was a military fortress. Three years later, it became a military prison. Then in 1934, it became a federal penitentiary until 1963. Native Americans took over the land in 1969 in hopes of bringing attention to the land the government has taken from them. Today this national historic monument is visited by hundreds of locals and visitors. The dense history of it makes it a must-see for anyone who has the time for it. To get there, you have to take a boat via Alcatraz Cruises.
If you get car sick easily, this street probably isn’t for you. Lombard Street is known for its steepness and sharp turns and is one of the most crooked streets in the world. This is also a well-known tourist attraction that has been seen in many movies and tv shows. Whether you’re taking the hill by foot or by car, you’re guaranteed to have an adventure.
Joey is a student at San Francisco State University, where he studies music journalism. During his spare time, he can be found going to concerts, rock climbing, or finding the next best place to eat. In the last eight years, he has proudly attended more than 200 concerts.
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These recommendations were updated on April 24, 2017 to keep your travel plans fresh.