Just like any big city, everything sparkles in San Francisco even more at night especially when you’re a fan of intimate post-sunset activities. This urban jungle is more than just a mecca for daytime family activities and also offers a wide variety of choices to do at night including museum night tours for adults only, dinner cruises, ghost hunting tours, rooftop bars, and hidden locations where you can spend a peaceful night and enjoy the scenic view of San Francisco and its skyline.
Here are some fun activities you can do whether you’re alone, with a significant other, or hanging out with friends.
Scenic Sunset and Cityscape
Enjoy the scenic view of San Francisco blanketed in orange and pink skies and thousands of glowing lights.
connected via Yerba Buena Island to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
There’s no better way to start off the evening agenda than with a scenic view of the San Francisco sunset and as it gradually transitions into a jungle of glowing lights. You can capture this front-row view at the waterside Avenue of the Palms so make sure you bring a camera and also a bit of layers as it can be very cold and windy at night. From this view, you can also watch the moving light show on the Bay Bridge.
Treasure Island is a small man made island in the middle of San Francisco Bay which has been gaining reputation for its daytime activities and as a hotspot for wine lovers but many have also fallen in love with its night view.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
San Francisco, CA 94965
The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula located at the southernmost end of Marin County, California. It provides one of the best views of the sunset and also of the Golden Gate Bridge. That is, if the weather permits you of a crystal clear sky and not the usual foggy San Francisco. Nevertheless, this is a highly recommended place to enjoy the view of San Francisco and on its best days, you can even see the gorgeous downtown San Francisco skyscrapers.
Whilst there are many night tours in San Francisco such as the hour-long bus tours or longer segway tours, you can best whisk away into the city by hopping into a vintage Volkswagen van by Vantigo Tour and experience San Francisco in an entirely different vibe. You would be driven by charming and knowledgeable drivers who can share with you tidbits of city history, a few tips and recommendations on where best to go, a bit of photo ops, and even better, it’s cozy to do all of these with the free food and wine that comes with the tour!
Alcatraz Night Tour
This tour definitely pops at the number one spot on every night time activity list and rightfully so! What’s better than visiting an old maximum security jail during the night, right? These tours are guided by specially trained National Park Rangers limited to only a few hundred visitors per evening packed with talks and lectures. It also has a good view of San Francisco at night.
Night at the Museum
Museums are often one of the most-visited tourist attractions as it provides a cultural perspective on the place you’re visiting as well as educational tours of the sciences and the art. San Francisco is flocked with many of these and while daytime is more for family and kids, there are museums which offer night tours for adults to enjoy!
Pier 15, Embarcadero & Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
The Exploratorium After Dark happens every first Thursday of every month and is exclusive for all the adults with fun interactive science-related exhibits and even a DJ and a bar. The museum really does a good job in transforming the place and unlike some attractions which can be a one-time charm, you will be surprised at how the Exploratorium is different and you’ll find that this always a good treat for yourself everytime you come to San Francisco.
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
This museum which is one of the largest natural history museums in the world is open every Thursday from 6 to 10 pm with a different nightlife theme every week which goes beyond the barriers of science topics. They host Pride Night themes complete with a drag queen show and disco competition. Like the Exploratorium, it also offers a DJ and bar.
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
de Young Museum is a fine arts museum located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and are open every Friday night with a cultural immersion with dance performances, author readings, and even craft making experiences.
Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F Kennedy Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
The Night Bloom is an event that only happens for five weeks during the winter and if you have a chance to experience this opportunity, take it! The conservatory serves a wonderful aesthetic of glowing lights and sounds that can easily make you feel like you’re deep into a rainforest.
Food and Drinks
Of course, no trip is ever complete without a good meal. Here are some ideas to choose from.
If you’re one for a fancy, fun, and chilly nighttime experience, a dinner cruise out on the Bay would be a perfect choice for you. The nightly cruises usually offer four-course dinner complete with a DJ to set the vibe and you can also indulge in the views of San Francisco. You can try Hornblower Cruises & Events, San Francisco Bay Boat Cruises, or the Red and White Fleet for starters.
There are also a number of bars to eat and drink in the city and most locals and international tourists who have been in San Francisco before definitely recommend trying rooftop bars for the chill ambiance and view. You can try Dirty Habits, a high design space at Hotel Zelos, or Jones, a little terrace over at the Lower Nob Hill.