Top Places To Visit in San Francisco
Hotels and Homestays in San Francisco
Weekend Getaways from San Francisco
About San Francisco
San Francisco is the city one falls in love with. The San Francisco bay area is surrounded from three sides by the pacific ocean which brings in the coldest summers i had ever witnessed . After an hour drive from the San Jose city i was able to see the skyscrapers line of the city . Crossing amidst the clouds the skyscrapers were standing strong and rigid without any top ( because of the dense cluster of clouds) . I could only think of the transcendent view people working on top must be having . yeaah!!! i didnt went on top of those skyscrapers ( not in my hands)
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Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing I did on reaching the city was borrow my cousin's car and experience what San Francisco has been known for- the Golden Gate Bridge. And it was the most remarkable drive and even a better view, for the driveway from the City to the Marin County and back was not merely any highway road trip but a drive along what was once the longest suspension bridge. Today also, when I look back on that drive, it seems to be one of the most fabulously designed architectural masterpiece!
Far away from the chaotic streets of San Francisco lies an island usually called as "The Rock" and houses a prison which anyone will never dare to escape from. This beautiful island of Alcatraz also having a magnificent light house offshore of California is a famous and wonderful attraction of San Francisco. The famous prison and the lighthouse are historical landmarks and engineering marvels in the history of San Francisco and is now maintained by the National Park Service.
‘The most crooked street in the world!’ goes the moniker. I bet some crafty settler decided to throw this, probably because he knew it would become a historic quirk a few decades down and just get incorporated into the cityscape façade, earning itself the unique and generally meaningless distinction of being a tourist hotspot that signifies nothing and yet stands for something. At least, plenty of tourists stand and pose for pictures.
Ferry Building, Pier 39... These are old edifices converted into lovely centres for indulging in some good grub. The Slanted Door is highly raved but I found it just about average. It wasn’t bad but it is nothing to rave about; unless you are a stranger to great food. But there were other places but I doubt if they are aiming any higher. Mama’s (a bit away) is a good brekkie place.
Once I reached the much talked about Fisherman's Wharf, it was difficult for me to decide where to start exploring the hidden experiences of the City of Bay. Truly called a tourist spot, one day seemed just too short a period of time. From the extraordinary view of sea lions at Pier 39, to the world famous statues at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, were the kind of sights I got to see. While the food was mouthwatering, I couldn't resist from choosing my favourites in the world fmaous clam chowder, fried fish and the well-known San Francisco sour dough. And this was just the beginning of my tour at Fisherman's Wharf. Later came the international hotspot Musee Mechanique, 1980's arcade games and Ghirardelli Square.
Golden Gate Park
While I enjoyed the drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, I was told not to miss out on the Park either. So off I went to unravel what seemed to me a plethora of interests merging at one place- the Golden Gate Park. While on one side I sipped on some exotic tea at the Japanese Tea Garden, on the other side the nature lover in me came alive seeing the exotic species at the Conservatory of Flower. As I walked further into the greens, I encountered an opportunity to walk along paths of history at two of the most famous museums- the California Academy of Sciences, which was a wonder in itself and then came the De Young Museum. And then I thought to myself, little did I know before I had left home for that one drive across the bridge, that I'll get to explore something much more than what I had expected.
Chinatown became my favourite lunch spot whilst my stay at San Francisco. While each and every structure reeled of being the oldest Chinatown in North America, the souvenir shops and little takeaway hideouts spoke of the authentic oriental essence for which the place had stood for since the 80s. with a friend, I explored and checked out the representation of its fascinating history in a Chinese Heritage Walk.
This was one place that I could vouch for the best view of the city, as I had never seen San Francisco the way i saw it when I reached Alcatraz. It's intriguing history reflected in every inch of a step I took around the island. And as I walked amongst the walls that once imprisoned ingenious criminals like Al Capone and Mickey Cohen, the walls seemed to be speaking back to me about their military and ethnic history. While I did have a choice to be part of some guided tour around the island, I broke away from those creepy cramped cells and climbed up the stairs of the lighthouse for the most breathtaking view of the bay and its city!
From here the route will take us through the heart of SOMA (South Market) and CBD (Community Benefit District). There are numerous shopping options and high-end restaurants here. But you won't be sorry about ditching them once you face the Embarcadero, Telegraph Hill or walk around Chinatown or gape at Transamerica Pyramid.
Oakland Bay Bridge
The lights of the Bay Bridge, designed by a world renowned artist Leo Villareal, shine from dusk until dawn in a myriad of different patterns that are a visual spectacle.The lights glistening above the water, changing their patterns every few seconds and casting their reflection in the waters below with the moonlight gleaming behind, is a treat to the eyes.
So the sun had begun to hide behind the clouds as dusk drew above us and, along with my cousin and friends, I went to what they called the "Little Italy" of San Francisco. With pristine blue waters facing us on the shores, I stood on the North Beach and so did little treats from Italy; while we relished on pizzas at Italian cafes and bistros on one side, we ended our meal at the gelato patisserie and the tiramisu it offered on the other side. It seemed like the perfect end to my day as we then headed to Vesuvio bar to celebrate life the San Francisco way!
6. Shopping at Union SquareThis refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district of San Francisco. The area got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War,earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark. Come here to visit the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and beauty salons in the United States.Union Square is a major tourist destination, a vital, cosmopolitan gathering place in downtown San Francisco, and one of the world's premier shopping districts.
Cable Car Corner
The Cable car, you will do it once and never regret not doing it again. It is borderline touristy in the sense that you know you can indulge in it and not feel like hiding your face in rotting shame as these metallic screechy cars from the last century proudly pull you through the city like a prized ignorant ignoramus, visiting ignorant ignoramus that is.
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum
To learn more about Ms. Tan’s culture and Chinese heritage, head to the Chinese Historical Society of America located in San Francisco’s original YWCA building. If you are interested in the Chinese American experience, this museum not only offers a historical perspective, but also some interesting modern art.
Take the Mason line of the cable car north to Columbus Ave. then travel south along Columbus Ave, past the slew of alfresco cafes and turn left on Kearny to the newly erected The Beat Museum. This tiny space packs a punch with carefully selected collection including Ferlinghetti paintings, Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter and first edition prints of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The museum also sells books, memorabilia and hosts special events like book signings, readings and lectures. Need to replace your college copy of Kerouac or Kesey? Turn right onto Columbus Ave until you reach City Lights Bookstore. Founded in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, it is the quintessential Beat headquarters complete with publishing house for fringe writers and dharma bums (Alan Ginsberg’s Howl was published here). From existentialists to modernists, you can almost smell the clove cigarettes in a cloud of black turtlenecks like ghosts amongst the towers of books on the second floor of this Beat Poet’s paradise. They also sell journals so you too can create your own literary masterpiece.
Visit Mission Dolores (Dolores and 16th St.; 415-621-8203), the city’s oldest building and first mission. Founded by Spanish settlers in 1776, the mission and neighboring church feature historic adobe architecture. Scenes from Hitchcock’s Veritigo were filmed in the church cemetery.
It may sound gimmicky, but the dinner-and-a-movie at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission Street; 415-648-7600; www.foreigncinema.com) is an elegant, white tablecloth affair. If the weather’s nice, snag an outdoor table in the austere, vaguely Soviet cement courtyard. Start with oysters ($2 to $2.50 apiece), before carving into the likes of delicate tombo tartare with ginger-lime vinaigrette and the bavette steak. When the sun sets, a foreign film is projected silently on the far wall with subtitles. Heat lamps keep you toasty and, if you want to follow the dialogue, the waiter will even bring vintage drive-in speakers.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
Sink your teeth into a flaky croissant or orange-scented morning bun at Tartine (600 Guerrero St.; 415-487-2600) a decadent bakery specializing in breakfast pastries and indulgent desserts. Although, there is always (and I mean always) a long line out the door since seating is laughably scarce; don’t let this scare you. It’s worth the wait — your tastebuds and tummy will be thanking you.
Mission Bowling Club
Even if you suck at bowling, a few games at Mission Bowling Club (3176 17th St.) is a lot of fun. Great space with almost a lounge-like atmosphere. This truly a special treat in SF. The only other bowling alley that I’m aware of in the city is all the way in the Presidio and Lucky Strike in SOMA.
Walked to Japantown, around 45min. Oh yes you didn’t know ? SF not only have the best Chinatown but it has ALSO a Japantown !! So cute, give me a plane ticket for Japan RIGHT NOW.Okay enough of walking for today, I admit, I took Uber Pool to get home. For my defense I had to get ready quickly for an important event….
Soon enough; there it was, the Marina; with couples and men and women of all ages walking their dogs, some jogging, some on cycles, some hand in hand and many stalls put up at the Marina Greens. I sure was a bit overwhelmed with so much activity at this hour only to realise in a moment that that day it was the 'Escape from Alcatraz- Triathlon' and there was a sea of fitness enthusiasts and families cheering all over... It was perfect for me to steal some energy from.. So I cheered ... No one in particular and everyone in general and just that got my blood pumping.
Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery
On the second day my parents were craving eggs for breakfast so we found a highly rated breakfast place near the hotel called Honey Honey. We got there and stood in line for 35mins before we could order and grab a seat. The food was mediocre, not sure why the line for this place goes round the block. A 3/5 at best.
The Slanted Door
Our last stop was a highly recommended Vietnamese restaurant called the Slanted Door. It's located in the Ferry building on Embarcadero which is worth visiting even if you don't go for dinner. The food was delicious and fresh. Welcome after the tiring and long day we'd had.Tip 3: Make restaurant reservations a couple of weeks in advance, all the good places are always booked outFinally I was ready to hit the sack and head to the hotel. That's when my wife reminded me that we had drinks with friends at a bar called 620 Jones.Unfortunately when we lugged ourselves over there, they didn't let my wife enter because she wasn't carrying an ID!Tip 4: if you plan to drink or even enter a bar, be sure you always have your license or passport on you. You can't talk your way out of this one.