Think of San Francisco and what comes to mind? The magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets stretching up the sky, cable cars at almost vertical angles, and the sinister island of Alcatraz looming out in the bay. The breezy city, surrounded on three sides by water, has much to offer visitors and locals alike. As well as visiting the major attractions, consider shopping for vintage items on Haight Street, sipping java and watching the world go by in a North Beach coffee shop, or skating through Golden Gate Park. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags, jump on a plane and check into a world-class hotel in San Francisco, the City by the Bay.
Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
For over 70 years, this spectacular bridge has been an integral part of the San Francisco skyline and has become its most famous icon. The 1 ¾ mile bridge, which is often partially shrouded by the city’s trademark fog (which often only adds to its beauty and mysticism), can be seen from many viewpoints but the best is at Marin’s Vista Point at the northern end of the bridge. As well as viewing it from afar, you must make time to actually cross it as you will be rewarded with stunning views across the city and the bay. For a truly breathtaking sight, leave your San Francisco hotel early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the bridge.
See The City From A Cable Car
San Francisco was built on hills and cable cars have been in operation since1873 to help residents travel around the city. One of the best routes is the Powell-Hyde cable car which stops at Nob Hill and you can see some of the finest views of the bay. Afterwards take the cable car to Chinatown, one of the biggest outside of Asia, and don’t forget to finish at Fisherman’s Wharf by the sparkling waterfront.
Sail over to spooky Alcatraz Island
Another San Francisco icon, Alcatraz was used as a federal maximum security prison from 1934 to 1963, when it was closed due to high costs and security concerns. Today visitors can take a boat ride to the island for a guided tour of the prison block by a park ranger, who will regale you with anecdotes from the island’s time as a prison housing some of America’s most vicious criminals.
Marvel at the Victorian Painted Ladies
The Victorian houses painted in 3 or more colors to enhance their stunning architectural features are icons of San Francisco. They line the steep streets all over the city but one of the best-known groups is the row at 710-720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square Park.
Watch The Sea Lions Sunbathe at Pier 39
Pier 39 is a recreation of an early 20th century street scene on an abandoned cargo pier lined with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants all vying to extract the tourist dollar. A tourist trap by any means, the main attraction is the hundreds of sealions that come to sunbathe on neighbouring docks. Beautiful natural surroundings and stunning bay views are also a great highlight.