The 17 best things to do in San Francisco, according to people who live there

Find the best Mexican food in the Mission District.

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Find the best Mexican food in the Mission District.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

In November, 170,000 tech workers will descend on San Francisco for Dreamforce, a massive conference hosted by Salesforce. Those eager attendees will be looking for things to do.

The Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf might seem like obvious choices, but San Francisco has more to offer than tourist traps like the trolley cars and “Full House” home.

To help you experience the best of the city, we surveyed Business Insider employees based in San Francisco on their favorite local spots. From the nature trails at Lands End to happy hour at the Tonga Room, these off-the-beaten-path destinations showcase the best of the city.


On Thursday nights, the California Academy of Sciences stays open late for adults-only special events. Take a yoga class in the aquarium, see the stars at the planetarium, or grab a cocktail and mingle with the nearly 46 million scientific specimens on site.

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Tim Williamson

Address: 55 Music Concourse Drive

Cost: $15


Church of 8 Wheels is a roller disco like no other. On Friday and Saturday nights, skaters (many in costume) fill the rink located inside a 120-year-old former Catholic church.

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Facebook/The-Church-of-8-Wheels

Address: 554 Fillmore Street

Cost: $10 for admission and $5 for skate rental


GameVibes at the Folsom Street Foundry is a gamer’s paradise. Thursday and Friday nights, players flock to the bar for video games, board games, and everything in between.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Address: 1425 Folsom Street

Cost: $5


Drink your way through history with a tour at Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco’s original craft brewery. The tour ends with a beer tasting in the taproom.

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Facebook/anchorbrewing

Address: 1705 Mariposa Street

Cost: $25


Sing Alongs at the historic Castro Theater are possibly the most fun you’ll have at the movies. The theater screens musicals, ranging from “Mary Poppins” to “Moana,” with subtitles so the audience can join in. Dress up as your favorite character to win prizes.

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Facebook/Castro-Theater

Address: 429 Castro Street

Cost: $16 for adults and $11 for seniors and kids ages 12 and under


Some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge are to be had on the rocky and windswept shoreline trails at Lands End. Wear sneakers — the hike includes many stairs.

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Facebook/Maria Padilla

Address: 680 Point Lobos Avenue

Cost: Free


And don’t miss the rock labyrinth at Lands End for a very Instagrammable moment.

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Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco may not have invented the burrito, but it arguably perfected it. Wander the Mission District for the best shopping, people-watching, and burritos the city has to offer.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

We tried 8 of the best burritos in San Francisco – here’s the champion »


We recommend Papalote Mexican Grill or Taqueria Cancún for a less touristy experience.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The Alemany Farmers’ Market is sometimes referred to as the “people’s market,” for its laid-back atmosphere and low prices. It was the first farmers’ market in California.

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Flickr/stuart_spivack

Address: 100 Alemany Boulevard

Cost: Free


People of all faiths gather to practice yoga in the darkened Grace Cathedral on Tuesday nights. Get there early to nab a spot in the center labyrinth.

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Facebook/yogaonthelabyrinth

Address: 1100 California Street

Cost: $10 to $20 donation suggested


It may be touristy, but happy hour at the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is not to be missed. Enjoy the Pacific Rim cuisine and umbrella drinks in this sprawling tiki-themed lounge.

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Facebook/tongaroom

Locals know the best way to get to know the city is through the free walking tours offered by volunteers known as the San Francisco City Guides. Each tour lasts about two hours.

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Shutterstock

Cost: $10 to $20 donation suggested


The landmark Conservatory of Flowers building in Golden Gate Park is home to more than 2,000 species of plants and flowers. Catch the evening light show through November 26.

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Flickr/David Ohmer

Address: 100 John F. Kennedy Drive

Cost: $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and children ages 17 and under


The original Philz Coffee location in the Mission is a San Francisco institution. This venture capital-backed chain offers 30 unique blends. Order it “Phil’s way” for sweet and creamy.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Address: 3101 24th Street

Cost: $3.50 – $4.50

This Silicon Valley coffee shop just raised $15 million in venture capital and is planning to take over the US »


Fort Funston sits on 200-foot bluffs on the western edge of San Francisco. High winds make it a top hang-gliding spot, while others come for the dog-friendly walking trails and beach.

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Flickr/btwashburn

Address: Fort Funston Road

Cost: Free


Musée Mécanique is the only acceptable reason for venturing to Fisherman’s Wharf. The museum contains 20th-century music boxes and penny arcade games you can play.

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Flickr/janitors

Address: Pier 45

Cost: 1 cent to $1 to play the coin-operated games