With ample to offer to all kinds of visitors – the adventurers, the food lovers, the nature buffs – San Francisco is a tourist delight. If you find yourself drawn to this fog-shrouded city, here are top five places that you need to add to your wish list now.
The crashing sound of waves hitting the shore are tantamount to music for ears of so many people except in San Francisco that waves create actual music. One of city’s hidden gems; the Wave Organ is a unique attraction that channelizes the waves of the ocean to create music through interaction with a series of pipes. Jutting out at sea off the small boat harbour in the Marina district of San Francisco, the Wave Organ offers panoramic vistas over the Golden Gate Bridge. For the most melodious tunes, visit the attraction during a high tide.
There’s a Chinatown in almost all major cities of the US but there are only three Japantowns in the country, and luckily, there’s one right here in San Francisco. The atmosphere at the three-indoor malls in Japantown transforms visitors straight to a street in Osaka or Tokyo, where everything Japanese -teapots, manga, origami paper and cute anime-inspired toys including Hello Kitty – can be found. A range of restaurants selling authentic Japanese fare are omnipresent. Families with kids and young adults should bookmark Pika Pika, a photo booth and Playland, a gaming arcade on their list.
It’s a sin to be in San Francisco and not ride on a cable car, one of city’s most popular attractions and boasting 7 million annual passengers, most of which are tourists. Operating on three routes – two from downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf and one along the California Street – the cable cars offer sweeping views over the city. Some of the other notable destinations that the cable car covers include Union Square, Ghirardelli Square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. So, ditch driving in the traffic-laden streets of the city, keep some change in your pocket and discover the many wonders of San Francisco soaring over the streets.
For a trip down the history, take a ferry to Alcatraz Island where a plethora of fascinating anecdotes breathe through historical sites. Once a civil war fort, a military prison and one of the most notorious federal penitentiaries in the US history, the island can be discovered on a half day, guided tour from San Francisco. Also marked by stunning, verdant gardens and a unique diversity of fauna, the island is wonderful for a languid walk with your partner. It also features in a number of popular Hollywood movies The Book of Eli (2010), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Catch Me If You Can (2002) as well as The Rock (1996).
Picnic on the Ocean Beach
Ensconcing beautifully on the west coast of San Francisco, the Ocean Beach is one of the rare beaches in the city that don’t see overwhelming crowds. Stunning views of the Golden Gate Park can be enjoyed lying leisurely on the beach or while having a bonfire party during the sunset, one of the best ways to enjoy your time here. If you visit during late fall and early spring, excellent surfing opportunities present themselves.