A group of friends poses for a photo at the Golden Gate Bridge during their summer tour of San Fransisco, California.

In a city with so much unadulterated awesomeness everywhere you turn, it’s hard to think of favorites. But I love making lists. And I love talking about this city.  So…..

Here they are,  our top five favorite sites and spots in San Francisco!

1) Pier 39
This is a great place to go to eat, shop, and people-watch.  My favorite thing about the Pier, though, is watching the amazing group of huge, stinky sea lions who live in the marina as they swim, sunbathe, scramble, and scream at each other. These guys are hilarious! And after only a few minutes there, you realize that each one has its own personality and you can’t help but fall in love.

2) Mission Dolores Park
Want to hang out with your friends and enjoy a picnic in the sun? This is the place! Pack a bag full of bread, cheese, hummus, fruit, and other goodies, and spread out a blanket for an amazing midday meal. Then grab your frisbee or tennis racket and go play! On nice days (there are a lot of them here) the park is full of young people chilling out or playing games. Last weekend, someone made a slip-and-slide. Which was awesome.

The park also organizes more official events, like music and movie nights. So check the schedule periodically to see what’s up.

3) Tartine Bakery
The most amazing pastries and bread in the city, if not in the entire country! This place has been a local favorite for years, and is well located in the Mission District.  On weekends, the line for goodies winds out the door and around the block, but it is well worth the wait! Grab a sandwich and cappuccino and enjoy!

4) The Fillmore
The most historic music venue in the city. There are tons of amazing places to go for great (and cheap) live music, but for historical importance, you can’t do better than the Fillmore. The center of San Francisco’s psychedelic music scene in the 1960s, this theater has been played by the likes of Janis Joplin, the Who, Ottis Redding, and the Grateful Dead. Today, it continues to uphold this long tradition of amazing acts in a newly renovated space.

5) The Golden Gate Bridge with the sun setting behind it
No matter how many times you see it, the Golden Gate Bridge is sure to get you every time. Connecting San Francisco with Marin County, the bridge marks the ultimate land’s end.  Here, the U.S. culminates in the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean. Catch it at sunset from Baker Beach for a view you can’t believe! Or check out the scene from Fort Henry, with Alcatraz Island right in front of you and Golden Gate rising in the distance. Every time I see it, I fall in love with this place all over again. You will too.

Can’t wait to see ‘Frisco for yourself? Check out our USA: Pacific Northwest Explorer or USA for Younger Teens: Hello California programs!