Things to Do in San Francisco for Young Adults

Discover the best things to do in San Francisco for young adults! Explore top attractions, outdoor adventures, and unique local spots in our guide.

There tons of fun, interesting and unique things to do in San Francisco for young adults, you’ve just got to know where to look.

with its iconic hills, eclectic neighborhoods, and vibrant cultural scene, is a playground for the young and adventurous. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, the city offers an array of activities that cater specifically to young adults seeking both excitement and unique experiences. 

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From the adrenaline-pumping escape games and the serene beauty of its expansive parks, to the historic streets lined with endless culinary delights and buzzing nightlife, San Francisco promises a dynamic array of activities to fill your itinerary. 

Ready to find out what you’ll be doing on your next visit to San Francisco? Read on!

And just so you know, nobody pays us to be listed here. They’re just our recommendations to you, so you can find the best things to do in San Francisco. No affiliate links, just personal opinions!

Best Things to Do in San Francisco for Young Adults

Go on a San Fran Scavenger Hunt

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Where? Various start/end locations

Whether it’s your first time in the City or you’ve lived here your whole life, this is one of the best things to do in San Francisco for young adults.

Why? Because everyone can get involved, it’s a lot of fun, and you won’t believe how many secrets San Fran can hold. 

Ideal for the young and the young-at-heart, scavenger hunts like these combine trivia with exploration, making for a uniquely interactive way to discover hidden gems and popular spots alike. 

Follow clues, solve puzzles, unravel riddles and discover San Francisco your own way! 

Practical information: Stop and start whenever you want, the hunts are self-guided so all you need is a phone with data and good walking shoes. Best suited for young adults looking for an energetic, educational outing.

Take The Ferry Out to One of The World’s Most Formidable Prison Islands, Alcatraz

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It wouldn’t be a list of things to do in San Francisco for young adults without mentioning Alcatraz.

We know you know about it, but there’s no harm in telling you how great this place is anyway. If you’re into penal or military history, a visit is a no-brainer. If you’re not, you should come anyway.

Known globally for its notorious inmates and dramatic escapes, Alcatraz offers a gripping glimpse into America’s penal history alongside stunning bay views. If photography is your thing, this is the place to be, and it’s a great place to explore with friends or by yourself.

Practical information: Ferries depart multiple times daily from Pier 33. Tickets start around $40, including the cellhouse audio tour. Wear appropriate clothing, meaning, don’t be fooled by a sunny morning - bring a sweater, rain jacket and comfortable walking shoes. The bookstore sells candy but there’s nowhere to get food on the island, so bring your own or eat beforehand. 

Explore San Francisco in an Outdoor Exploration Game

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Ever seen the movie Jumanji? Stupid question, of course you have. And if you’ve ever fantasized about being in your own real-life board game, this is the closest thing you’ll find.

Outdoor exploration games like these transform the City into your own live-action board game by making you the main characters and delivering quests, puzzles and riddles straight to your phones. 

Innocent-looking buildings and street furniture become clues, you become detectives on a mission to unlock San Francisco’s storied past, vibrant culture, and hidden secrets and by the end of it, you’ll know the city better than a local!

Practical information: Play and pause the game whenever you want, prices vary. 

Get Dim Sum at San Francisco’s Iconic Chinatown

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This is going to sound dramatic, but you seriously haven’t lived before you’ve visited San Fran’s Chinatown. 

Because of its popularity, Chinatown is super touristy (which, if you’re a tourist, is fine) but if you’re looking to explore a little deeper on a local level, I can give you a few local tips.

First up, if you have to walk downstairs, the place is legit. If it’s cash only, full of older people and you don’t hear much English being spoken, it’s legit. If you get handed flyers, the place is probably more touristy - but that doesn’t make the place bad. 

San Francisco’s Chinatown is especially famous for its dim sum, so you should definitely try to grab some of that while you’re in town. If you want personal recommendations, head to Hang Ah Tea Room (the oldest Dim Sum restaurant in America), New Woey Loy Goey and Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant

Practical information: Open daily, prices are super reasonable at most places, check out any specials (ask if you can’t see any) and remember cash is king here! 

Go on an Urban Adventure Together

Looking for the best things to do in San Francisco for adventurous souls? This is for you.

Experience the urban thrills of San Francisco with an adventure that takes you through the city's vibrant neighborhoods.

Combine the thrill of the chase with some fun-packed quality time with your friends as you search

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high and low for clues, solve riddles, and unravel mysteries together. If you’re competitive, race against the clock to finish the game in record time, or if you’re in the mood for exploring, take your sweet time strutting around San Fran’s coolest neighborhoods. 

Practical information: Book online, clues sent to your phones (you’ll need data and WhatsApp installed). Suitable for all young adults, especially those eager to explore urban culture.

Visit One of San Fran’s Many Street Fairs

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Young or old, I always tell people that they’re visiting San Francisco during spring or summer, they have to visit a street fair. Why? Because it’s the best representation of the city I think you can find. 

From June until October, San Fran’s calendar gets filled with all kinds of events for every kind of interest: food, music, subcultures, cultural representation, celebrations, you name it. 

Most neighborhoods have a particular street fair at some point during these months, and I’d highly recommend looking up what’s going on in the city when you plan your visit. 

Ones to look out for include the Nihonmachi Festival, the Haight Ashbury Street Fair and Castro Street Fair.  

Practical information: Street fairs are typically held on weekends throughout the year, with free entry. Perfect for young adults looking to experience San Francisco’s diverse community spirit.

Fun Things to Do in San Francisco for Young Adults

Play Games or People Watch at Mission Dolores Park

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If you’ve got some time to kill or you just want to go somewhere relaxed, head to Mission Dolores Park.

This is my go-to place to hang out with friends or just to squeeze in a few moments of solitude in an otherwise busy day, and best of all, it’s completely free.

Bring a frisbee or a card game, grab a bite to eat from one of the nearby food trucks and set yourselves up for a few hours of “me” time, this is the best place for a relaxed picnic (or people watching), plus you get stunning city views and a lively, fun atmosphere. 

Practical information: Open daily from 6 AM to 10 PM. Entry is free. 

Take the Ferry Out to Angel Island

Known as the "Ellis Island of the West," Angel Island offers a rich mix of historical sites and natural beauty, plus plenty of space for active individuals to burn up a sweat.

Take a ferry ride and spend the day hiking, biking, or exploring the immigration station museum to uncover layers of American history. If none of that sounds good to you, you can also try out scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, windsurfing, actual surfing, or photography here - Angel Island is your oyster!

Practical information: Ferries run daily; schedules and prices vary. Entry to the park is subject to a small fee. Best for young adults interested in history and outdoor activities.

Check Out the Graffiti “Museum”

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I love museums, but if you don’t, don’t skip past just yet – this isn’t what you might expect.

Rather than a typical “museum”, the Graffiti Museum is actually an outdoor street art project called Clarion Alley Mural Project. 

This ever-changing outdoor gallery showcases the works of local artists, reflecting the city’s dynamic cultural and social narratives and it’s a great place to take some cool, arty pictures of the City.

Practical information: Open 24/7 with free access. Best experienced during daylight hours. Ideal for art lovers and those interested in contemporary social issues.

Get on Over to Marshall Beach

Speaking of photography, one of the most fun things to do in San Francisco for young adults is make us of the nearby beaches, and my favorite is Marshall Beach.

This small, rocky beach offers breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, is one of San Fran’s more secluded hidden gems, but it’s right up there in terms of beauty spots. 

Practical information: Accessible by a short hike, the beach is free to the public. Best visited during low tide.

Climb up Coit Tower

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People always ask where they should go to get the best views of the City, and since you’re here, I’ll throw in my two cents’ worth: it’s Coit Tower.

For one thing, you get panoramic views of San Francisco from here. Secondly, the tower itself is an art deco masterpiece, adorned with murals that depict California life during the Depression era, so it’s sort of like getting a two-in-one-deal: awesome views on the way, and awesome views at the end. Win-win!

Practical information: Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM. Admission is around $10 for elevator access to the top (although you shouldn’t count on the elevator working. If it isn’t, it’s 13 sets of steps to the top, not for anybody who has knee problems or trouble walking). 

Unique Things to Do in San Francisco for Young Adults

Play an Outdoor Escape Room Game to Find San Francisco’s Secret Garden

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A quest for a secret garden? Sign. Me. Up.

If you’re someone who loves the outdoors, you’ve got to give this outdoor escape room a try.

As a team, you and your friends will be led around San Francisco’s hidden gems and historic landmarks on a journey that culminates in the City’s hidden rooftop garden. 

Kind of like a city tour but with a gamified twist, it’s perfect for puzzle aficionados and urban explorers alike – and unlike a tour, there’s no guide, no strangers, and you can do it all at your own pace. 

Practical information: Available daily; book in advance or on the day. Prices vary depending on group size. 

Visit Yoda Fountain

Bet you weren’t expecting this one to appear on the list, were you? 

If you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco for young adults who know Han Solo’s lines better than Chewbacca, you’ve gotta visit Yoda Fountain. 

Great for Star Wars fans and those curious about film history, visiting the Yoda Fountain at the Lucasfilm headquarters is a unique treat. Snap a selfie with the beloved Jedi Master's statue surrounded by beautiful landscaping - and then brag on social media about how you’ve met the wisest Jedi in the business. 

Practical information: Open to the public during business hours. Free entry. A must-visit for movie buffs and pop culture enthusiasts.

Visit The Walt Disney Museum

Speaking of Star Wars, that’s not the only Disney connection to San Francisco you’ll find around here. 

Dive into the fascinating world of animation at The Walt Disney Museum. Located in the scenic Presidio of San Francisco, the museum offers a deep dive into the life and legacy of Walt Disney with interactive exhibits and original artwork.

PSST: They also hold awesome workshops here fairly regularly, so check ‘em out before you visit. Wanna make your own lion’s roar? Learn to paint a cat like a Disney pro? Learn some animation? You can! Check out the website to see what’s on. 

Practical information: Open Wednesday to Monday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Admission is around $25 for adults. 

Explore The Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park

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Listen, you’ve gotta visit Golden Gate Park while you’re in San Francisco, but there’s somewhere in particular I want to direct your attention to. 

The Conservatory of Flowers is one of my all-time favorite places in the city (and even the world, to be honest). This lush, exotic and historic greenhouse is filled to the brim with rare and beautiful plants, and it’s such a treat to walk around - especially if you’re feeling tired after a flight or long road trip. 

Practical information: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission is approximately $10. 

Head Out to Muir Woods and Hike Around Ancient Redwood Pines

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There’s thousands of things to do in San Francisco for young adults, but sometimes what you really need is to leave the city behind (just for a short while).

Whether you’re an introvert who gets overstimulated by the city buzz, you feel a pining for the great outdoors, or you just want to explore some incredible nature close to San Francisco, you can’t get better than Muir Woods. 

You’ll find Muir Woods National Monument just a short drive from the city, and these ancient coastal redwoods are truly an incredible sight to behold. 

Practical information: Open daily from 8 AM to sunset. Entry fee is $15; parking reservations required. Perfect for hikers and nature lovers of all ages.

Try The Best West Coast Pizza at Golden Boy

No shade, NYC - I love your pizza, too. But since you’re here, you might as well check out the West Coast pizza scene. 

For those who don’t know, West Coast pizza is a little different to what you’ll find over on the East Coast. If you’re the kind of person who’s happy to throw some interesting local ingredients on top of a slice, you’ll love it. And even if you prefer more “traditional” pizzas, you should give it a try.

My favorite place to grab pizza in SF is at Golden Boy just off Columbus Avenue - they’re a staple pizza joint (they’ve been around since 1978) and they serve up thick, focaccia-style crust and fresh toppings.

Practical information: Open daily, hours vary. Prices are reasonable, making it a great spot for a casual meal. 

Go to a Giants Game

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Sports fan or not, this is one of the best things to do in San Francisco for young adults who like their sports.

Catch the thrill of Major League Baseball by watching a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park. Nothing beats the excitement of live sports, the roar of the crowd, and the iconic views of the bay and hey, you’re in Giants’ territory now!

Practical information:Check the Giants’ schedule for game times. Ticket prices vary. A quintessential San Francisco experience for sports fans of all ages.

Find More Things to Do in San Francisco with CityDays

Whatever your interests are, there’s always something new for you to discover and do in San Francisco.

In fact, you don’t have to go out of your way at all to find them - you just have to know where to look. 

Discover San Fran’s secret sites and noteworthy nooks by playing one of our San Francisco scavenger hunts, exploration games or urban adventure games

Are you looking for corporate scavenger hunts? Read more about our San Francisco team-building activities and contact us for more details.