San Francisco: What to See and Do in the Spring

Spring Activities in San Francisco

Spring is the time to enjoy the blooming gardens and sunshine in San Francisco. This time of year brings the city to life with parades, festivals, and celebrations for everything from St. Patrick's Day to Cinco de Mayo. While San Francisco's weather can be very unpredictable with regards to the temperature, Spring is often a time where residents and visitors alike can get out into the gardens, parks, and streets to enjoy the fun activities that SF has to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in the spring in San Francisco for your next trip.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses an impressive collection of contemporary art. There are over 33,000 works including paintings, sculptures, photography, architecture, and more.
151 3rd Street, South of Market, SF, California, 94103
San Francisco Zoo
San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo is an impressive zoo that sits on about 100 acres in the southwestern corner of the city. The zoo has more than 1000 individual animals and 250 species. It's also the birthplace of the well known gorilla, Koko.
To Little Puffer Steam Train, SF, California, 94166
Interested in more travel advice for San Francisco? Check out San Francisco: Off the Beaten Path Things to Do and San Francisco's Best Architectural Landmarks.
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island, located in the San Francisco Bay, once served as a federal prison from 1934 to 1963. Today it is a National Historic Landmark that offers tours that cover the island's history, the former prison, and the many famous prisoners that were held here. To get here, you need to take a scenic ferry ride from Fisherman's Wharf, and it's best to book ahead, especially on weekends.
West Road, SF, California, 94133-1312
Aquarium of the Bay
Located at The Embarcadero and Beach Street, near Pier 39, Aquarium of the Bay has a number of local aquatic animals. It's an affiliate of the Smithsonian and works to promote ocean conservation.
SF, California, 94133
Coit Tower
Coit Tower
The 210 foot Coit Tower is located on Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park. It was built in 1932 and 1933 and offers impressive views of the city. If you're short on cash, you can explore Pioneer Park for free and enjoy comparable views to those offered at the top of the tower.
15 Telegraph Hill Boulevard, Telegraph Hill, SF, California, 94133
Ghirardelli Square
Ghirardelli Square
Named after the famous chocolate maker and constructed from a historic chocolate factory, this shopping center and public square has a number of boutique shops, ice cream, cafes, and nearby restaurants. Naturally, the most visited shop is the Ghirardelli Chocolate shop and ice cream cafe where you can get all sorts of yummy treats. Visitors can also find some fun activities such as mini-golf, a public fountain with outdoor seating, and great views looking out to the bay.
871 Beach Street, Marina District, San Francisco, California, 94109
SFJAZZ Center
This music venue is located in Hayes Valley and first opened in 2013.
201 Franklin Street, Hayes Valley, SF, California, 94102
Japan Center
Located in the fascinating Japantown neighborhood, The Japan Center is a shopping center that highlights the area's Japanese culture. It first opened in 1968 and includes the Kinokuniya Mall, Kintetsu Mall (Japan Center West), and Miyako Mall (Japan Center East).
1613 Geary Boulevard, Japantown, SF, California, 94115
If you're looking for more information about San Francisco, read The Best Squares and Plazas in San Francisco and An Art Lover's Guide to San Francisco.
The Marine Mammal Center
Created in 1975, the Marine Mammal Center, focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured marine mammals. It's also a research and educational center.
2000 Bunker Road, San Francisco, California, 94965
Lands End Park
Lands End Park
Lands End is a park that's located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It runs along the beautiful rocky shoreline and offers stunning views out over the water. It's located between the Sutro District and Lincoln Park and has a number of hiking trails that follow the coast. You'll also find a few small beaches such as Mile Rock Beach and Sea Rocks Beach. Also inside the park is the Legion of Honor art gallery, Holocaust Memorial, a golf course, the USS San Francisco WW2 Memorial, the Sutro Baths, and more. It's a nice place to explore, or find a space to yourself and enjoy reading or simply relaxing.
Seacliff, SF, California, 94121-1545
Shakespeare Garden
For a quieter setting, head to the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park. The flowers in this garden have all been mentioned in Shakespeare plays, so literary enthusiasts can enjoy identifying the species. You can enjoy a quiet and romantic picnic and it's also the perfect place to relax with a book or spend time with your thoughts. The setting is often used for weddings as well.
Golden Gate Park
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf is a classic tourist's neighborhood in San Francisco. It's filled with souvenir shops where you can by t-shirts and other nick nacks. This is also where you'll find the famous Pier 39 with its many attractions including San Francisco's famous sea lions. Also in the area are a couple of museums, the famous sourdough and clam chowder restaurant, Boudin, and ferries to Alcatraz. Fisherman's Wharf is also the turn around point for one of the cable car lines.
San Francisco, CA
The Presidio
The Presidio
The Presidio historically served as a U.S. Army base but today it is a large green space and a public park. It's situated in the northwestern corner of the city at the gateway to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is a national park that is controlled by the National Park Service and it runs between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, ending at Baker Beach. Within the park there are stunning views of Marin County and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as a number of biking, hiking and walking paths. There are also plenty of places to enjoy a picnic or rest with a good book. The Walt Disney Family Museum as well as a golf course and several cafes are also found within the park.
The Presidio, San Francisco, CA
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is one of the closest places to San Francisco where you can enjoy a forest of redwood trees. The park spans 554 acres, with 240 acres filled with redwoods. The park is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Center and it's a popular day trip from the city. Plan to arrive early if you're visiting on a weekend.
Mill Valley, CA 94941, CA, 94941
The Conservatory of Flowers
Located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, this conservatory offers a tropical oasis that dates back to 1878. It's set in a Victorian building that is one of the oldest public wood and glass conservatories in North America. There are five galleries, each with their own unique ecosystem from around the world. This unique setting offers the atmosphere of a world adventure without leaving the city. Outside there is a beautiful lawn that is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a picnic or relax in a peaceful setting.
100 John F. Kennedy Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94118
Grandview Park
Grandview Park, also known as Turtle Hill, is in Golden Gate Park. It's the place to go for spectacular views and on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean, the city's skyline, the San Francisco Bay, and all of Golden Gate Park. It's particularly spectacular during either sunrise (for those early risers) or sunset.
1705 14th Ave, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94122
Ina Coolbrith Park
This small park is perched on a small piece of land in the Russian Hill neighborhood. It's a bit removed from the main tourist areas, so it's a nice place to rest your legs and enjoy a peaceful setting. It is a bit of a climb to reach it, but for those who put in the effort, the park's stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge, and the city's skyline are a spectacular reward.
Vallejo & Taylor, Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA, 94133
Buena Vista Park
Buena Vista Park, in the famed Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, is the oldest park in the city. It's a bit of a climb to reach the park's peak, but from here you can enjoy views of the city, the University of San Francisco, and the surrounding hills that make up San Francisco's unique topography. The setting is a nice place to relax or enjoy a picnic.
Buena Vista & Haight Street, Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, CA, 94117
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
Head to this beautiful garden during the spring season to see the tulips in bloom. The garden offers a touch of the Netherlands in San Francisco. The flowers are set beneath an authentic Dutch windmill and the beautiful red, pink, orange, and yellow colors really pop when the flowers are in bloom. You can also grab a bite at the Park Chalet Garden Restaurant and enjoy the view while you dine.
Golden Gate Park
The Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is the last building remaining from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. It's a beautiful, classical style building that sits by a lagoon that serves as a reflecting pool. Inside the palace there are regular art exhibits and performances. The theater seats about 1,000 people.
3301 Lyon Street, Marina District, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Botanical Garden
This large botanical garden has more than 9,000 plant varieties. The park is divided into different sections including the Succulent Garden, the Moon Viewing Garden, the Ancient Plant Garden, and the Garden of Fragrance. There are monthly guided tours where you can learn about the seasonal flowers as well.
1199 9th Ave, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94122
Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon Park is a city park with 60 acres of green space and a number of fun activities including a rock climbing wall. There's a 1.8 mile trail that can get a bit crowded during popular times. During the spring season, the park is popular for its wildflowers.
Elk St and Chenery St, San Francisco, CA, 94127
Patricia's Green
Patricia’s Green is a small park with a grassy area in the Haye's Valley neighborhood. The park has become a lively setting with a couple of snack shops and a public art installation. During the summer months, there's a Burning Man wooden temple built here.
50 Oak St, Haye's Valley, San Francisco, CA, 94102
San Francisco Railway Museum
Located by the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero, this fun and family-friendly railroad museum focuses on the history of railroading in San Francisco with a special focus on the historic street cars. After all, the city is not just home to the cable cars, but also street cars and a subway system. Visitors can get into the driver's seat of a replica street car and view a variety of exhibits about local history as it relates to transportation in the region.
77 Steuart Street, Embarcadero and Financial District, San Francisco, California
Oakland Aviation Museum
This large aircraft museums offers plenty to see and do for aviation lovers. Featuring a huge hangar full of historic and modern aircraft, visitors can see items from the early days of flight (Wright Brothers models), to World War II aircraft to Vietnam and modern era aircraft. Also on display are exhibits about women in aviation, Black Americans in aviation, aircraft engines, historic airlines, and more.
8252 Earhart Rd, Oakland, California, 94621
Hayes Valley
Hayes Valley is a dynamic neighborhood centering on Hayes Street between the blocks of Van Ness Ave and Laguna. Here you'll find plenty of shops and restaurants. If you're interested in clothing boutiques, this is a good spot, as this area has plenty. Also found here are some home and garden design stores, tech and gadget shops, and shoe stores. A few bars and restaurants can be found along Hayes Street as well such as Doppio Zero (pizza & Italian), Anina (cocktails & beer), Monsieur Benjamin (French), and Chez Maman (French). The Davies Symphony Hall and the SFJAZZ Center are also in this area of town. Also, check out Patricia's Green which is a small park with some art exhibits.
Hayes & Gough, San Francsico, California
Lombard Street
Lombard Street
Often called "the crookedest street in the world" (although technically it's ranked second - the first is also in San Francisco), this zig zag street is a popular tourist attraction. It's fun to drive through this small stretch of switchbacks, but depending when you visit, be prepared for traffic.
Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA
Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens
Located amid the hustle and bustle of the Financial District, this garden offers a nice retreat from the surrounding energy. There's a hedge maze, waterfalls, and grassy areas where you can relax in the sun. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a snack or take a break with a book. It's also conveniently located where you can rest your legs during a busy day of sightseeing.
750 Howard Street, SoMa, San Francisco, CA, 94103
Chabot Space & Science Center
Located in Oakland, this science museum and planetarium focuses on space exploration, astronomy, rocketry, and other space-related sciences. After undergoing a large renovation in 2021, the museum has a number of hands-on science exhibits which are great for children and adults. They also have an engaging planetarium, an outdoor deck space with more exhibits, and large telescope observatories.
10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, California, 94619
Japanese Tea Garden
This garden is designed specifically to create a zen experience. It offers a wonderful retreat from the chaos of the city and you can sit and relax or wander through the pagodas, koi ponds, and bonsai trees. The blooming cherry blossoms and the native Japanese plants create an authentic experience where you can immerse yourself in tranquility. For a light snack, head to the teahouse.
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94118
Mission Dolores Park
Mission Dolores Park
This large park is a popular hangout with locals, who head here when the weather's nice to enjoy picnics, ballgames, and hanging out in the sun. The park has a full-sized basketball court, a bike polo court, a soccer field, and six tennis courts. There's also a large playground that's perfect for kids. The park is in a family-friendly area so parents and kids often spend their afternoons here.
Dolores St &, 19th St, Mission and the Castro, San Francisco, CA, 94114
Pioneer Park
Climb the stairwell on Filbert Street and you'll stumble into Pioneer Park, which is a 5 acre park that surrounds the famous Coit Tower. The park offers views of Russian Hill and it's possible to see The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz when the weather allows.
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, CA, 94133
Japantown
Japantown in San Francisco is the oldest of the three remaining Japantowns in the United States. At the heart of the neighborhood is the Japan Center, which is a shopping area filled with restaurants, hotels, and a movie theater. Head here for some of the city's best sushi and ramen. The neighborhood also hosts a number of great festivals throughout the years including the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Children's Day in May, and the August Nihonmachi Street Fair
San Francisco, CA
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Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $8 to $4,939. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $740. A few of the best options are below.

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