San Francisco Itinerary – 3 Days in San Francisco for First Timers

Traveling to San Francisco for a long weekend? If you’ve got 3 days in San Francisco to plan, check out this suggested list of things to do for ideas.

This popular San Francisco itinerary is designed to showcase a wide variety of attractions and activities, and to appeal to visitors really looking for that authentic “San Francisco experience.”

This 3 day itinerary includes:

  • Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Sightseeing Tour
  • Academia de Ciencias de California
  • de Young Museum
  • Legión de Honor
  • Acuario de la Bahía
  • Exploratorium
  • Escape From the Rock
  • Madame Tussauds San Francisco
  • Puente Cruise 2 Bridge
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Only have a few days in San Francisco? We’ve also put together a 1 day and 2 day itinerary.

Ahorre dinero en la entrada a las atracciones

Pick up a 3-Day Go San Francisco® Card and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Recuerda esto 3 los días en el itinerario de San Francisco son solo una de las muchas formas de experimentar San Francisco.

The Go San Francisco® Card gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.

Looking for more things to do? – we’ve got a list of how to spend 5-7 days in San Francisco. Or, try our popular California road trip itinerary, which covers top San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco attractions.

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Stop #1: Big Bus San Francisco Sightseeing Tour

san-francisco-Hop-On-Hop-Off-Classic-Tour-2-Day-Ticket-1This Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco Bus Tour is the perfect addition to your itinerary, and an easy way to get around the city while sightseeing.

Tour guides are entertaining and knowledgeable, and you’ll see some of the best sights of the city, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and more

Your ticket is good for a full 48 hours, so you can use it to hop on and off at your leisure.

As a bonus, your ticket also includes a selection of free walking tours. Join up with one of these three tours at designated stops to see more of each neighborhood: Chinatown Walking Tour, North Beach Walking Tour, or Barbary Coast Walking Tour.

A su llegada: Hop On Hop Off Big Bus San Francisco Bus Tour tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop #2: California Academy of Sciences

Ningún visitante de San Francisco debe perder la oportunidad de explorar la deslumbrante y deliciosa Academia de Ciencias de California.

Comprised of four distinct areas – a natural history museum, an aquarium, an all-digital planetarium, and a four-story rainforest – there’s no end to the things to do at this attraction.

This attraction is not just entertaining or informative, it’s also on the cutting edge of research and conservation. Scientists based here are making discoveries and developments that have the potential to improve the environment and change the world!

Incluso tienen un hermoso, 2 ½ acre "techo vivo", solo una de sus muchas innovaciones ecológicas.

Hay una serie de programas y eventos especiales que se ejecutan con frecuencia en la Academia de Ciencias de California, también, así que asegúrese de consultar su calendario antes de su visita para ver qué hay.

We recommend reserving between 1-2 hours for this attraction.

A su llegada: California Academy of Sciences tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop #3: de Young Museum

de-young-museum-san-francisco-museumsRegrese al Golden Gate Park para visitar uno de los mejores museos de la ciudad: el Museo de Young. Esta magnífica instalación trabaja para integrar el arte, la naturaleza y la arquitectura en una sola experiencia estética cohesiva, convirtiéndola en una de las instituciones más exclusivas de la costa oeste.

Sus colecciones abarcan milenios y presentan desde el arte africano antiguo hasta la pintura contemporánea. También tienen un cuerpo fuerte de pintura estadounidense de los siglos XVII a XXI.

Insider Tip: Be sure to head up the observation tower for an expansive aerial view of Golden Gate Park.

We recommend reserving between 1-2 hours for this museum — perhaps more if you have an art lover in your party. They also have a lovely cafe for a nice coffee break!

A su llegada: de Young Museum tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop #4: Legion of Honor

legion-of-honor-san-francisco-museumsLocated just north of Golden Gate Park, the beautiful Legion of Honor museum is another great artistic attraction.

Designed to look like an eighteenth-century French palace, this institution is beautiful inside and out. Exhibits span a wide variety of artistic genres and nearly 4,000 years of history, so there’s no telling what you mind find inside!

Destacan el arte antiguo y la pintura europea, con obras de El Greco, Rembrandt, Monet y más. Uno de los favoritos es la escultura icónica de Rodin "The Thinker", que se encuentra al aire libre en la Corte de Honor.

We recommend reserving about 1-2 to explore the Legion of Honor.

A su llegada: Legion of Honor tickets are included with the Go San Francisco Card.


Stop #1: SFMOMA

This must-see San Francisco attraction is an excellent way to start off another day of your vacation. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has recently undergone a multi-year renovation project that has totally transformed this amazing space.

It’s one of the best museums on the west coast dedicated to contemporary and modern art. They also have a unique focus on living artists from the Bay Area.

Encontrarás a todos tus artistas favoritos representados en sus vastas colecciones, desde Klee hasta Calder y hasta Stieglitz.

Recomendamos llegar cuando el museo abra por primera vez para evitar el bulto de la multitud. Reserve a un par de horas este interesante museo, más si tiene verdaderos amantes del arte en su grupo.

A su llegada: SFMOMA tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop #2: Aquarium of the Bay

aquarium-of-the-bay-san-franciscoNow it’s time to head up to the Fisherman’s Wharf waterfront neighborhood for some prime explorations of the most popular locales in the city.

Visita el fascinante Aquarium of the Bay, que es una atracción familiar favorita. ¡Presenta exclusivamente especímenes de la Bahía de San Francisco, desde medusas hasta pulpos gigantes!

You won’t want to miss their clear crystal tunnel system, with more than 300 feet of amazing views of over 20,000 marine creatures and plants. It’s a surreal experience to feel like you’re walking underwater!

Another popular exhibit with kids is “Touch the Bay,” where you can actually reach into water and feel sharks, rays, and sea stars.

We recommend reserving at least an hour for this attraction.

A su llegada: Aquarium of the Bay tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop # 3: Exploratorium


Also located near the waterfront is the kid-centric Exploratorium. It’s a highly interactive museum, with tons of opportunities for your kids to touch and play with hundreds of different exhibits.

You’ll find everything from fun, climbable outdoors exhibits to science-focused exhibits like viewing sea creatures through a microscope.

Adults can have fun, too! Just check out the more inventive exhibits and learn about San Francisco’s truly creative culture.

It’s also really worth your time to consult their website before you visit. They have activities organized by theme online, and it’s a good way to plan out what you want to tackle first.

A su llegada:  Boletos de Exploratorium están incluidos en la tarjeta Go San Francisco.

Stop #4: Escape From the Rock Cruise

escape-from-the-rockEnd the day with a truly enjoyable cruise that heads out towards the infamous Alcatraz Island. Sail under the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, out to the Bay, and past this sinister prison while listening to informative narration from your crew.

And it’s not just about what you see in front of you, either — you’ll also be regaled with stories about famous crooks and criminals who served some time in Alcatraz, including tales about famous escape efforts that have inspired so many films.

El crucero en sí dura una hora y media; por favor llegue al menos 30 minutos antes de su hora de salida deseada. No se requieren reservaciones

Por favor, no que este crucero no incluya un aterrizaje en la isla de Alcatraz; Si está interesado en visitar la prisión, compre su Tarjeta Go San Francisco directamente de Alcatraz Cruises.

A su llegada:  Entradas Escape From The Rock Cruise están incluidos en la tarjeta Go San Francisco.


Stop #1: Madame Tussauds San Francisco

madame-tussauds-san-franciscoBegin your last day with a return to the popular Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood.

Stop by Madame Tussauds San Francisco for a truly special experience that only Madame Ts can produce. Meet celebrities from music to Hollywood to politics and snap your photo with your favorite.

Es una forma divertida de entretener a los niños, y también es un revolcón informativo a través de las figuras más importantes de la cultura pop y momentos en el tiempo, desde Elton John hasta Rosa Parks.

We recommend reserving about an hour to explore this attraction. You may experience lines, but probably not first thing in the morning.

A su llegada: Madame Tussauds San Francisco tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop #2: Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise

Golden Gate
Next on your itinerary, you’ll want to continue to explore San Francisco by water! The Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise is actually the only cruise in the area that sails under both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge (hence its name), and is a totally relaxing activity.

You’ll also see a number of iconic sights from San Francisco’s shoreline and maritime history, including the infamous Alcatraz and Treasure Island. So there’s an educational component, too, for those of you traveling with curious explorers of all ages.

If you’re wondering, the big difference between this cruise and the Escape from the Rock cruise is that this option features a more wide-ranging survey of San Francisco maritime culture and history, and less information about Alcatraz itself. Pick one, or enjoy them both!

Remember to pick up your ticket in advance at the booth prior to boarding the vessel. We recommend arriving at least 15 in advance of your desired sail time. Reservations are required for this cruise.

A su llegada: Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Stop #3: Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Ripley's Believe It or Not! San FranciscoThis is another destination the kids will love. The endlessly fascinating Ripley’s Believe it or Not! makes for an astonishing and fully entertaining last stop of the trip.

Filled with the bizarre, the strange, and the wonderful, Ripley’s has been delighting and puzzling visitors for generations.

With hundreds of crazy exhibits — many of them new each year — there’s something for adults to like, too. An area that absolutely everyone loves is the Toy / Candy Factory, which offers hundreds of different classic and contemporary sweet treats. Be prepared for the nostalgia when you see your favorite childhood candy for sale!

A visit here typically takes about two hours, so plan accordingly based on your dinner ideas.

A su llegada: Ripley’s Believe it or Not! San Francisco tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Let’s Recap

This 3 days in San Francisco itinerary really shows you the best and the brightest of the City by the Bay.

The wide variety of things to do and places to go on your three days in San Francisco will leave you feeling like you’ve gotten a true feel for the city.

Save on combined admission costs vs paying at the gate when you visit all of these attractions with a 3-Day Go San Francisco® Card.

You can also save even more with included extra discounts on dining, shopping, and additional attractions!

Go San Francisco Explorer Pass

La información que se incluye en esta publicación era, al leal saber y entender del autor, correcta y precisa en el momento de la publicación. Haremos nuestros máximos esfuerzos por garantizar y conservar la exactitud de la información.


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