35 Fun Things to Do in San Francisco at Night


11 min read
A red suspension bridge over a body of water at night
San Francisco offers visitors many exciting things to do at night

San Francisco is a stunning destination found on the West Coast of the United States. This well-known destination offers visitors lots of attractions to see and houses outstanding restaurants, unique shops, and many entertainment options.

You can also discover numerous fun things to do in San Francisco at night. The city has an array of bars, unique venues, such as a roller-skating rink in a church, and many places to watch the sunset across the bay.

If planning a visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, be sure to check out these top 35 things to do after dark!

  • 35 San Francisco things to do

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35 Things to Do at Night in San Francisco

San Francisco Things to Do Map

A map of San Francisco. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

One of the fun things to do in San Francisco at night is going on an Alcatraz tour
An Alcatraz tour is one of the fun things to do in San Francisco at night

Visit the inescapable prison on an Alcatraz night tour

Alcatraz Island is one of the many world famous landmarks found in San Francisco. The island is best known as being an inescapable prison. The prison facility closed in the 1960s, and today, Alcatraz is a popular tourist attraction.

A spooky way to see this landmark is on an Alcatraz night tour. You’ll get the opportunity to tour the prison after dark and hear tales about former inmates and attempted escapes.

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Eat and drink your way through a North Beach pizza pub crawl

North Beach is a vibrant neighborhood, known for its Italian influences. There’s a lot to see in this area of San Francisco during the day and at night, but one of the best things to do after dark is going on a North Beach pizza and beer crawl.

The crawl will take you to numerous stops where you can try a selection of pizzas and tasty local beers.

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Two cable cars on a road at night
Riding the cable car is an easy way to move around San Fran at night

Experience a cable car ride

The San Francisco cable cars are one of the most iconic attractions in the city. Riding the cable car while visiting is a must and hopping on in the evening offers a great way to see San Francisco by night. Best of all, the cable cars are less crowded at night, and you’ll have a shorter wait time.

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Treat yourself to some Dim Sum

San Francisco has an array of great dim sum spots. While dim sum is more often enjoyed in the morning or mid-afternoon, some eateries are open until later.

One of the best places to get dim sum after dark is at Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House, which stays open until 8 PM. You can order various dim sum dishes at affordable prices, with noodles, fried rice, and soups also on the menu.

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A street with lanterns hanging and Asia-inspired shops
There's a lot to see and do in Chinatown during the day and at night

Shop and eat in Chinatown

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest in the world outside of Asia. This area features a vast selection of Asian restaurants and many interesting shops.

Both restaurants and stores here tend to stay open late, so exploring Chinatown at night has to be on your San Francisco itinerary!

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Enjoy dinner and a movie at Foreign Cinema

One of the best places to visit in San Francisco at night is Foreign Cinema! This unique restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining, serving meals while movies play on a big screen.

Delicious dishes served at Foreign Cinema are generally Mediterranean-inspired and include arugula and burrata salad, butternut squash tagliatelle, and beef carpaccio. Films to watch range from classics to newer releases.

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An orange "California Academy of Sciences" sign in front of a glass building
California Academy of Sciences houses an array of science exhibits

Learn something new at the California Academy of Sciences

If looking for an early evening activity, a trip to the California Academy of Sciences is a great idea. The museum is one of the largest natural history museums in California, and houses exhibits on wildlife, paleontology, space, and much more.

To ensure you get in, buy a California Academy of Sciences skip-the-line ticket in advance.

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Explore Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a charming 1,017-acre urban park located in downtown San Francisco. The park has water features, flower gardens, and statues, with multiple walking paths to follow. If visiting in the evening, you’ll benefit from fewer crowds and can admire the gardens lit up under the night sky.

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A red suspension bridge crossing a bay of water at night under a purple sky
Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco's most iconic landmark

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is home to one of the most iconic landmarks in North America, the Golden Gate Bridge. Walking across the bridge to appreciate the sunset is hands-down one of the best things to do in San Fran at night!

You can stop on the pedestrian path to watch the sun go down over the bay and watch as the city begins to illuminate the surrounding area. Be sure to also take lots of photos to remember this magical experience!

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Attempt to break free from an escape room

Playing an escape game is always a fun idea! Escape Game San Francisco offers visitors a selection of escape rooms to try. Themes include an Alcatraz-style prison break, a museum heist, and a special ops mission.

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A red suspension bridge at covered by a light fog
The views at sunset from the Golden Gate Overlook are spectacular

Go to the Golden Gate Overlook to see the San Francisco skyline

A fun place to watch the sunset is at the Golden Gate Overlook. This lookout point offers vistas across the bay with landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands in view. Of course, you can also watch the skyline as the city lights up once night sets in.

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A suspension bridge over a bay with a skyline in the distance at night
The illuminated San Fran skyline is visible from the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

Admire the view from the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge

Another of the San Francisco night activities that allows you to take in great views is walking across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The bridge is an important commuter route but also has bike and pedestrian lanes.

As with the Golden Gate Bridge, you can walk across the bridge during sunset to admire the stunning sky.

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A skyline at night with water in front of it
Treasure Island is a small neighborhood that offers stunning vistas of San Fran

Go across to Treasure Island

Treasure Island is an artificial island that was constructed in the 1930s for the Golden Gate International Exposition. At night, you can go to the island and admire the views of the San Francisco skyline. You can also find some cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal.

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An illuminated suspension bridge over a body of water at night
You can sail past the Golden Gate Bridge on a nighttime cruise

Luxuriate on a nighttime cruise

One of the most relaxing and memorable San Francisco things to do at night is going on a sunset cruise. You’ll get to sail past the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco Bay Bridge as the sun goes down. You can also see the San Francisco skyline.

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Laugh at a comedy club!

You can find a good selection of comedy clubs in the city, with Cheaper Than Therapy being a popular choice. This independent comedy club features stand-up shows from an array of comedians. The club also has a bar so you can enjoy a beer, mixed drink, or glass of wine with the show.

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A cathedral with buildings around it and a park in front of it at night
The Grace Cathedral is one of the places to see on a nighttime sightseeing tour

Visit San Francisco landmarks on a sightseeing tour

While many sightseeing tours are offered during the day, you can take a night tour of San Fran. On this nighttime bus tour, you’ll see an array of attractions, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Treasure Island, and the Grace Cathedral.

This experience is the perfect way to see all of the city’s landmarks, even if only visiting for a short time.

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A ship's wheel sign that says "Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco"
Going to Fisherman's Wharf is one of the things you have to do in San Fran at night

Spend the night at Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most famous San Francisco landmarks and is a great place to hang out at night. At the wharf, you can find restaurants, shops, and lots of other attractions. If you arrive before it gets dark, you may also spot sea lions!

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Get spooked on a ghost tour

If you’re interested in the paranormal, one of the San Francisco night activities to try is a ghost tour. During the spooky walking tour, you’ll visit a range of haunted spots, including Pacific Union Club and 450 Sutter Building, and hear about the eerie stories associated with them.

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A large stone building with a domed roof lit up in yellow and blue at night
City Hall gets lit up in bright colors every night!

Marvel at the San Francisco City Hall lights

San Francisco City Hall is an incredible building that’s modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A cool thing to see at city hall is the lights that illuminate the building.

Every day after sunset, 220 LED lights illuminate the building. While the lights usually offer a soft white glow, you may see colored lights during different holidays.

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Sip on delicious cocktails

For those that love cocktails, one of the best places to go at night in San Francisco is Peacekeeper. The unique bar features an open roof and lots of delicious drinks. Beverages to order include a tequila, ginger, and lime cocktail and a vodka, citrus, and cucumber mix.

Other bars to check out include Whitechapel and Novela.

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Aerial view of a city at night with a bay in the distance
Taking a helicopter tour of San Francisco is a memorable activity

See San Fran from above on a sunset helicopter flight

A memorable way to watch the sunset in San Francisco is on a helicopter tour. You’ll get the opportunity to fly above the city and spot a range of landmarks, like the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf. This experience also includes a luxurious dinner cruise after your flight!

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Get drinks at a Tiki bar

Smuggler’s Cove is another of the great bars in San Francisco. This venue is a tiki bar and serves tasty tropical rum drinks in a pirate-themed space. Cocktails include a passion fruit and rum mix, a banana, lime, and rum drink, and a classic Mai Tai.

If you love the drinks, you can buy a Smuggler’s Cove book with over 100 drink recipes inside!

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A hexagonal structure with buildings and a street behind it at dusk
Exploratorium is an exciting attraction that has after-hours events

Head to Exploratorium for its after-hours event

Exploratorium is a much-loved California landmark that combines science museum exhibits with interactive displays and experiments.

On Thursdays, the museum hosts an after dark happy hour for adults only. You can sip on science experiment-themed cocktails while checking out all the exhibits without the noise and bustle of kids.

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Listen to live music at Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio

One of the best places to go in San Francisco at night to listen to live music is Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio. The venue hosts amazing live jazz shows that you can enjoy with craft cocktails and snacks. Spending an evening at Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio is a must when in San Francisco!

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A boat on the water with a bridge behind it at sunset
A sunset catamaran sail is a memorable experience to try in San Fran

Set sail on a sunset catamaran experience

Another perfect way to enjoy the sunset from the bay is on a catamaran cruise. Once aboard, you’ll sail past various landmarks as the sun begins to go down. You also get to enjoy alcoholic drinks as your take in the views.

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Go bowling at Lucky Strike

Going bowling is always a fun way to spend the evening. One of the best spots to bowl at in San Fran is Lucky Strike. This bowling alley stays open until late and also has an extensive menu of snacks and drinks.

After bowling, you can enjoy dishes like pizza, quesadilla, and wings, plus beer, wine, or craft cocktails.

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A basketball court with a game being played and fans watching
The Golden State Warriors are one of the teams to watch in San Francisco

Cheer for San Francisco’s sports teams

San Francisco is home to three professional sports teams, the San Francisco 49ers NFL team, the Golden State Warriors NBA team, and the San Francisco Giants MLB team.

While the Golden State Warriors are the most likely to be playing at night, both the 49ers and Giants play some of their games in the evening. Whichever team you watch, you’re sure to have a great time cheering for San Fran’s teams!

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Try dishes from food trucks at Off the Grid

If you love trying new dishes and are looking for stuff to do in San Francisco at night, visiting the food trucks at Off the Grid is recommended. Off the Grid operates food truck events weekly, with an array of local eateries on site.

The number of food trucks at each event does vary, so be sure to check the website to see who will be on-site when you visit.

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A conservatory with grass and palm trees surrounding it lit up at night
Going to the Conservatory of Flowers' Night Bloom event is a must!

Walk around magical gardens at Conservatory of Flowers

Conservatory of Flowers is a botanical garden and conservatory in Golden Gate Park. The attraction features many beautiful tropical plants and floral displays. Throughout the year, Conservatory of Flowers hosts its Night Bloom event where you can explore the gardens after dark.

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Roller skate at the Church of 8 Wheels

Whether you’re traveling with kids or not, roller skating at the Church of 8 Wheels is a great idea! This roller rink is located inside a former church and hosts themed nights. In the evening, you can skate under neon and black lights, and there are adult-only nights held each week too.

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A pier at dusk with skyscrapers in front of it
Walking along Pier 7 at sunset is a laid-back evening activity

Wander along Pier 7

Another of the top San Francisco night attractions is Pier 7. This scenic pier stretches across the bay and offers views of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the skyline, and more. At night, the walkway is illuminated, and you can see the sparkling city around you.

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Dance at a concert at The Fillmore

The Fillmore is an independent music venue that hosts a range of concerts. Musicians to see include local artists, indie bands, and more well-known acts. No matter who you see, dancing the night away to a show at The Fillmore is always a fun time!

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A lookout across a city as the sun sets
Twin Peaks is one of the best lookouts in San Francisco

Appreciate the stunning views from Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks are two 922-foot-high summits located 20-minutes from downtown San Francisco. A main attraction at Twin Peaks is a 64-acre hilltop park that offers spectacular views of the city. Going up to the park just before sunset to watch nightfall over the city is highly recommended.

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Play arcade games at Emporium

Emporium is an arcade-themed bar that features arcade games and delicious drinks. Games to play include Alien vs. Predator, Asteroids, and Donkey Kong.

The funky bar also has pool tables, basketball hoops, air hockey, and more! You can also enjoy a beverage as you play, including craft beer, wine, and retro-inspired cocktails.

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A street with illuminated buildings at night
The Orpheum Theater in Market Street hosts many Broadway shows

Catch a Broadway show

One of the places to go in San Francisco at night for theater lovers is the Orpheum Theater. The venue opened in 1926 and today hosts an array of Broadway productions. Shows that have been on here include Moulin Rouge, Oklahoma!, and Jersey Boys.

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In Summary

If you've been wondering what to do in San Francisco at night, hopefully, this article has given you some unique ideas! No matter what you like to do in the evening, you'll be able to find many exciting things to do in San Fran.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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