Hugging the tip of a hilly peninsula in north California, San Francisco is the largest of the Bay Area cities and is home to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf and Yosemite National Park. San Francisco’s mild climate and cool summers means idyllic weather for city tours, street car rides, bay cruises, hiking, cycling, winery excursions and more.
San Francisco embodies an eclectic blend of Spanish-Mexican history, modern pop culture and ethnic diversity, so while you’re taking in the major highlights, take time to explore the city’s unique attractions. Pass through Chinatown’s Dragon Gate to experience Tien Hau Temple, Sing Chong building, markets and leaf tea tastings. Hail a cable car or trolley bus and tour the Financial District, Hayes Valley, The Castro, Nob Hill, Japantown and North Beach’s ‘Little Italy’ where Beat Generation poets penned their pieces.
If you’re more artistically-inclined, turn your attention to haute couture, art galleries and beauty salons in Union Square, San Francisco’s central cultural precinct; shop for Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and other high-end retailers. Keen to see a show? Purchase half-price theatre tickets from TIX Bay Area booth located in the square.
Keep your camera handy for breathtaking photo opportunities as you wind down Lombard Street, ‘the crookedest street in the world’ – with eight hairpin turns over a one-block segment, it’s certainly a challenge for motorists. Architecture buffs won’t want to miss the incredible ‘painted ladies’ in Alamo Square, where rows of Queen Anne and Edwardian townhouses have been repainted to enhance their exquisite design detail.
Break up the day with a lazy lunch at Pier 39. Sidewalk crab stands, sushi, pasta, steaks, burgers – you’ll find something for everyone’s taste-buds at Fisherman’s Wharf, and the kids will love the colourful carousel rides and sun-baking seals. For family fun, hit the hiking trails in Yosemite National Park, visit the beaches or cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and check out Bay Area Discovery Museum.