But for those on their first trip to the city, it can be tricky to know what to do on a short timescale.
Which of the attractions are worth it? What hidden gems should travellers definitely seek out?
Express.co.uk took a trip the the Golden City, as it is sometimes known, to discover the best of San Francisco.
Perhaps one of the trickiest decisions to make is where to stay, as in a city of this density, location matters.
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For newbies, it is best to be centrally located to make it as easy as possible to navigate, and Hotel Nikko, one of only three 5 star properties in SF, is the way to go.
Just around the corner from Union Square, this Asian-inspired hotel has stylish rooms and a fantastic restaurant, Anzu, to go with its perfect location. As you would expect from a 5 star, service is impeccable, but has a very friendly, Californian feel to it lacking in some premium hotels which can feel stiff or formal.
Famed for its cycling, even the most nervous rider should try riding in San Francisco – it really is the best way to enjoy the city’s most famous attraction, the Golden Gate Bridge. Hire a bike from Blazing Saddles, who will set you up with a helmet and route guide from $8 per hour.
A gentle cycle over the famed red bridge will take you to Sausalito, a very pretty spot with plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery (and a glass of Californian wine).
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The really hardcore may want to cycle back, but for those wanting a more restful experience, the Blue & Gold ferry, costing $31 for an adult, is the best bet. Cycle over the bridge late afternoon and you can enjoy a golden setting sun as the boat approaches the city, making for excellent photos.
This is not the only boat experience worth a look – the Hornblower Dinner Cruise is a tad cheesy, but will give the best pictures of the Golden Gate bridge and the city from a distance of your whole trip.
In fact, the water is as much a part of the city as everything else, and one stop not to miss is Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf. Celebrating it’s 39th birthday this year, the Pier is home to the stars of San Francisco – its sea lions. Well used to tourists, the large mammals laze in the sun, occasionally rolling off their boards into the water.
To get to Fisherman’s Wharf, jump on the San Francisco…