Visit San Francisco


San Francisco Hotels, Attractions, and Information

Written by Beth Garrett

San Francisco is at once a modern day city and a town that is steeped in Old World charm. The famous cable cars gliding along the rolling hills and the Golden Gate Bridge have become major representatives of this "City by the Bay". Since the days of the Gold Rush people have flocked to San Francisco in search of opportunity and success. During the 1960's the city was bursting with flower children that were in search of peace, love and happiness. Some of the most important music created during that time came out of San Francisco. Today the city is a major tourist destination for anyone traveling to the west coast of the United States. San Francisco is absolutely exploding with culture, shopping and dining. It is a city that is easy to fall in love with whether your trip carries you there on business or for pleasure.

Charming Neighborhoods

San Francisco can be divided up into various neighborhoods, each of which is worth taking a look at. Haight-Ashbury is the one most associated with San Francisco because of its strong ties with the hippie community during the Vietnam War. Former flower children will take delight in the unique shops and the laid back cafes. You can easily find the buildings that musicians such as Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead called home. Union Square is located in the heart of San Francisco. Some of the city's most exclusive hotels and shops are in this area. The cultural heartbeat of San Francisco resounds from SoMa, otherwise known as South of Market Street. During the day explore the various museums and artists' studios. Once the sun goes down, dance the night away at any of the happening night clubs. San Francisco's Chinatown makes New York's famous neighborhood look small by comparison. Temples, shops and restaurants stretch over 24 blocks. A walk through Chinatown is a fun and exciting way to learn about another culture. The Financial District boasts some of the most celebrated architecture in all of San Francisco.

Golden Gate Park and Bridge

There is such an abundance of things to do while in San Francisco that it may take several trips back to the city in order to experience it all. One of the best ways to see the city is a ride on the Cable Cars which have been declared a national historic monument. Three separate lines run through three different parts of the city and have been a beloved part of San Francisco for well over a hundred years. It is a fun and inexpensive way to get from place to place. Golden Gate Park is the ideal place to spend a leisurely day. Situated on over a thousand acres, the Golden Gate Park has everything from lush gardens to cultural buildings. The Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Garden is paradise on earth with its 6,000 plus species of plants. A herd of bison even calls Golden Gate Park their home. Walking tours of the park are available or visitors can explore it on their own while riding horseback. Other cultural highlights inside the park include the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and the Asian Art Museum among others. If weather and your schedule permits, a walk across the infamous Golden Gate Bridge is a must do. The walk takes approximately 30 minutes and the view is absolutely breathtaking. Fort Point is located underneath the Golden Gate Bridge on the city side. Built in the 1850's to protect the city, the fort was fortunately never called to action. Park rangers dress as soldiers and regularly hold demonstrations on what military life was like over a century ago. The Presidio, a former army base, is located nearby and is the National Park Service's newest project.

Beaches and Recreation

San Francisco has some of the country's most beautiful beach areas. Pt. Reyes National Seashore is ideal for both bird and whale watching. The city's largest beach, Ocean Beach, lies between Seal Rocks and Cliff House. The view from the two restaurants at the Cliff House is absolutely spectacular. Children will love the old time arcade games. The hiking amongst the cliffs at Lands End is a wonderful way to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors. While visiting North Beach a climb up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower is a must. The view is the best in the city. A great way to spend a day and see the city from every vantage point is a ferry cruise. A visit to San Francisco would not be complete without a tour of the notorious prison, Alcatraz. Built in 1858 as a fort and ending up a military prison, Alcatraz is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. The entire tour takes approximately two hours and will leave visitors feeling quite haunted. It is best to book a tour of Alcatraz several weeks ahead of time.

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