One of the most liberal cities in the United States and one of California’s largest, San Francisco is filled with hilly landscapes, eclectic neighborhoods, Victorian architecture and year-round entertainment.
From steep trolley rides to city boat tours, San Francisco can be explored on land and water. It is known as one of the top destinations for walking cities in the United States and prides itself on being an eco-friendly city. From hybrid taxis to solar-powered convention venues, San Francisco is a leading city for being environmentally-friendly. While vacationing in San Francisco, visitors can also visit nearby regions including Napa Valley wine country, which is home to some of the best vineyards and wineries in the world.
This city full of culture and diversity was one of the first cities in the United States to support gay communities and continues to advocate for gay rights. The district of Castro is home to one of the largest gay communities in the United States, where you will find an array of theatres, retail stores and business.
There are direct flights from Heathrow Airport to San Francisco International Airport on a daily basis. Continental Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines are some of the airlines that fly directly to San Francisco from major UK airports. Flight time is approximately 11 hours. Facilities at the airport feature airline lounges, retail stores, restaurants and tourism information counters.
San Francisco International Airport is 21kms from the city centre and is located nearby the junction of highways 101 and 380. If not renting a car, the easiest way to reach the city is through the BART rapid rail system. Upon arrival, passengers will need to take the free Airtran to the Garage G/BART stop. Taking the BART is a stress-free option for getting in to the city.
San Francisco experiences a mild climate, with wet winters, foggy springs and dry summers. Throughout the year, the temperature highs are usually between 15°C and 25°C. Summer mornings usually begin with a fog, bringing clear skies in the afternoon. Even during the summer time, visitors should bring a light jacket as the ocean breeze can make for a windy day. The autumn is an ideal time to visit since it experiences little fog and wind throughout the day.
San Francisco is a cultural oasis. From fashionable and waterfront neighborhoods to immigrant communities, each of San Francisco’s districts adds a distinct local flair to the city. Recognised for being a multicultural city, San Francisco houses a large Asian community. Many Chinese immigrants occupy the district of China Town, which is the largest and oldest Chinese community in the world outside of Asia. Japanese descendants reside in Nihonmachi, also known as Japantown. Here, visitors will find incredible authentic Japanese cuisine, including a plethora of sushi restaurants.
Dining options in San Francisco are endless. Vegetarians will find a wide variety of dishes that suit their lifestyle. Sushi has become an obsession and many locals and visitors flock to the Richmond district, where sushi bars are found at nearly every street corner. Head to Chinatown to find inexpensive, authentic Chinese dishes. Travellers who desire fresh seafood should visit Fisherman’s Wharf, which is especially known for its crab and clam chowder dishes.
Travellers can explore San Francisco on foot, or by taking the BART, trollies, taxis, or even boats. From historical museums and bridges to designer shopping and venues, there are a plethora of attractions to discover.
Musical performances regularly take place, ranging from opera performances to local jazz bands. You will be amazed at how many concerts take place, whether at local restaurants or in larger venues. Listed below are attractions and excursions that should simply not be missed.
Golden Gate Park
The most famous park in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Park. This large, urban park is surrounded by Kezar Stadium, De Young Museum, San Francisco Botanical Gardens and the Golden Gate Bridge. It consists of 1,107 acres of land and is the third-most visited park in the United States. It is filled with historical venues and offers breathtaking views of the city.
One of San Francisco’s most famous attractions is the former federal and military prison of Alcatraz. It lies 2.4kms offshore from the city and has been featured in many movies, television shows and books. Alcatraz Island can be reached by taking a ferry at Pier 33, near Fisherman’s Wharf. Guided tours can be taken, where visitors are explained the history and stories of this remarkable landmark. There is an admission charge.
The neighborhood of Chinatown remains one of the most cultural neighborhoods in San Francisco. Walk along Stockton Street and you will find the Chinatown market, which offers authentic Chinese cuisine and local handmade goods. Its narrow, bustling streets are filled with architecture that is reminiscent of China. Due to limited parking, driving into Chinatown is not recommended. Each of the three Cable Car lines runs through Chinatown, making it an easy destination to visit.
De Young Museum
As one of the most acclaimed art museums in the US, the De Young Museum displays international contemporary artwork, costumes and textiles dating back to the 17th century until the present day. It is located in Golden Gate Park, where visitors can view exhibits of the likes of Picasso, Balenciaga and Spain, Olmec and other incredible artists.
Home to the San Francisco Giants, this baseball stadium resides on McCovey Cove. Its modern architecture makes it a work of art, while tipping its hat to the classic stadiums of the past. While this is a must-see for baseball enthusiasts, visitors do not have to be a sports fan to appreciate the lively atmosphere of this park. Since the Giants became World Series Champions in 2010, reserving tickets in advance is highly recommended. There is limited parking around this venue, so taking the CALTrain is encouraged, being that it conveniently stops right at the foot of the stadium.
Known for its impeccable views along the harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf is a seafood lover’s dream. Ranging from lobsters and crab to shrimp and fresh fish, many restaurants along Fisherman’s Wharf offer some of the freshest seafood in the world. Check out the amazing sea lions that are scattered around Pier 39 or take advantage of San Francisco’s hilly terrain for a satisfying workout. For a beautiful view of the city and bay, many locals and tourist opt to walk or bike along the Golden Gate Bridge.
Riding the cable cars in San Francsico is an adventure in itself. The city currently has three cable car routes in operation, including the Powell-Mason and the Powell-Hyde lines. Both lines begin at Market Street and continue to the Nob Hill district. Once the Powell-Mason car descends from Nob Hill, it takes passengers to Bay Street at Fisherman’s Wharf. The Powell-Hyde line serves Powell Market, Russian Hills and Aquatic Park. Ticket fares are US$5.00 each way for both children and adults.
One of the most exciting ways to see the San Francisco Bay is through one of the harbour tours. There are a variety of companies that offer tours that include the chance to take in spectacular views of Alcatraz Island, the bridges, the city, and the bay itself. Keep in mind that only certain tours stop at Alcatraz, but most tours will slowly circle the vicinity, allowing passengers to snap photos of this historical landmark. Most tours begin at Fisherman’s Wharf, along Pier 39. The bay can be chiily, so it is recommended to bring along a sweater.
Japanese Tea Garden
The oldest tea garden in the US is located in Golden Gate Park. The Japenese Tea Garden was built in the late 19th century and remains one of San Francisco’s most cultural icons. Surrounding the garden, visitors will find immaculate monuments, ponds, gardens, bridges and native Japanese plants. Enjoy an authentic cup of Japanese tea while soaking up the views of the gardens. There is even a gift shop for travellers to purchase tea, sake sets, tea sets and tablewear.
The Exploritorium isn’t just any museum – with hundreds of hands-on exhibits, visitors finally have the opportunity to interact with exhibits! Featuring over 700 exhibitions, the Exploratorium combines art, science and human perception. Its demonstrations provide for a fun, learning experience for all age levels. From learning about jellyfish genes to mouse stem cells, kids and adults alike will be amazed at what they can learn in a short amount of time.Author's Google+ Page