Must-See San Francisco Buildings

If you had 2 or 3 days in SF, what would be the top 7 must see buildings? The new museums? Old towers? Or a washing machine inspired cathedral. Me thinks the ferries and city halls are missing.

According to the poster below, the must-see buildings listed are:
  • Coit Tower
  • The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption
  • Federal Building San Francisco
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Building
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • De Young Museum
More thoughts and lists after the break.

The drawing in the image two buildings from the list, but interestingly several not on the list. Coit Tower and the Cathedral of St. Mary are shown prominently. However, we also see a sliver of the Transamerica Pyramid, One Embarcadero Center and what appears to be 505 Montgomery with its distinctive trapezoidal crown.

The image was found on Washington Street in the Financial District, but it has no credit. An image promoting San Francisco Made products appeared next to it.

As noted in the intro we noted that there are several buildings we would consider "must-see" that are not included, while some on the list are less relevant in our eyes. Of course, the "must-see" or "best" buildings or architecture in San Francisco are up to the observer. Below are a few other buildings to consider. Feel free to chime in with your top 7 "must-see" buildings in San Francisco or other cities.

The Domes
The Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco City Hall
Neptune Society Columbarium of San Francisco

The Towers
The Ferry Building
Transamerica Pyramid
Sutro Tower*

The Financials
The Old U.S. Mint
Bank of Italy Building
The Pacific Exchange

The Trendsetters
Hallidie Building for its
Crown Zellerbach Building
Xanadu Building (Frank Lloyd Wright Building)

Alas, the it's hard to make a list of only 7 buildings. In summary, we'd adjust the list in the image to the following based on history, architecture, and uniqueness:

  • Coit Tower
  • The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption
  • San Francisco City Hall
  • The Ferry Building
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Building (Xanadu Building)
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • De Young Museum
  • The Old U.S. Mint (by not burning down in the Great 1906 Earthquake and Fire, it saved San Francisco by allowing money to flow immediately after the disaster)
Many others have made similar lists. Check out the SF.Curbed list here.


  1. Yeah, weird that there's no credit or agenda to this random list... There are a million I'd like to add, but must-see for me probably means "really awesome when I walk by" so maybe the Russian Consulate (not the real one), those houses on Laidley or Mission Dolores are less impressive than these...

    1. I believe this might be from 7x7 because I now recall (after looking through my photos) that there was another window poster like this about 7x7. That might explain why the list only includes 7 buildings.

  2. Great, I like the post..I'm impressed by these building signs..Thanks for sharing!!


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