From the iconic Pier 39 sea lions to the great Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco has one fascinating history. While there are several San Francisco historical sites of interest scattered throughout, these “Top 5” destinations definitely set the bar high as a “must-do” in your historical San Francisco bucket list.
Pier 39’s Historic Waterfront Restaurant – Eagle Cafe
Believe it or not, the historic waterfront restaurant Eagle Café used to be up the street on Embarcadero and Powell! This iconic San Francisco landmark now stands on the second level of one of the most famous landmarks in San Francisco, Pier 39. Since 1928 The Eagle’s been a welcome and frequented place by veterans and active military, as well as longshoremen who’ve worked the San Francisco waterfront when it was primarily used for shipping. Today it is owned and operated by the Simmons Family Waterfront Hospitality Group who also happens to be the founder of PIER 39.
Golden Gate Bridge
Ah, the Golden Gate Bridge one of San Francisco landmarks known worldwide. This iconic suspension bridge spans the channel between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge was completed in 1937, and saw 200,000 people cross it by foot (and roller skates!) on opening day. We’re just glad the U.S. Navy did not get their way: They wanted to paint the bridge black with yellow stripes for greater visibility. 💡Fun fact: this San Francisco landmark, although looks red, it’s actually orange, or more specifically “orange vermilion”.
The Presidio dates back to 1776, when the Spanish fortified the area. It’s since seen as San Francisco’s historical landmarks. It was occupied by the U.S. Army and active in the American Civil War and World War II. It eventually became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, so that we can all enjoy its beauty.
A semaphore telegraph (precursor to the electrical telegraph) was built atop this hill back in 1849 to signal to the rest of the city what types of ships were coming through (hence the name Telegraph Hill). By the early and mid-1900s, poets and bohemians flocked to the area. Today, Coit Tower is one of the most iconic San Francisco monuments; otherwise, it’s mostly a cozy, affluent neighborhood and home to the city’s famous wild parrots. This definitely makes the list as a must-see if you want to experience one of the most iconic San Francisco landmarks.
The Mission is one of the most historical places in San Francisco. Founded in 1776 by the Spanish, the Mission is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. The large basilica beside it was completed in 1918. Today, it’s in quite the hotspot, near local fave Dolores Park.
Well, what are you waiting for? There are tons of things to do and discover in San Francisco. We hope you enjoyed this list and continue to explore the amazing historical sites in San Francisco, California 🗺️