San Francisco, a jewel in the crown for California, is a treat to the senses. Even nature seems to have connived in the creation of San Francisco. After all, sitting amidst heavenly surroundings like the awesome Sierra Nevada Mountains, the sparkling ocean, magnificent redwood forests, and the tremendous expanse of the California desert – what more could the destination have asked of the creator? Be it the summer fog and the hilly turf, or the facade of glorious Victorian architecture against this backdrop of mesmerising natural beauty – San Francisco has an indescribably magical appeal to it. Overwhelmingly exciting shopping, a seductive nightlife, enticing culinary wonders, a sea of wonderful sightseeing attractions, and the endearingly liberal tolerant attitude of its denizens make it one of the most favoured tourist destinations in the US. Small wonder then, travel agents and airlines alike do brisk business selling package deals to the destination. A visit to San Francisco definitely reveals what makes it one of the most liveable cities in the US.
San Francisco is packed with a world of captivating tourist attractions that charm tourists and locals alike. Being just about 50 some square kilometres in size, San Francisco’s attractions are pretty nicely bunched together. This also enables the traveller to easily explore the destination on foot. In case, you feel that you have had enough of the attractions close by, then taking an excursion to the immaculate Napa and Sonoma vineyards is an obvious choice. Visitors throwing a trip to San Francisco would do well to find out the number of local attractions their travel agency includes in the planned itinerary. Here are some of the tourist magnets of this charismatic destination.
- Ocean Beach
- Alamo Square Park
- Pacific Heights
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Palace of Fine Arts
- Transamerica Pyramid
San Francisco literally epitomises the phrase, ‘shop till you drop’, simply because it offers a mind boggling world of diversified shopping delights. The shopping ambience of every mall and every neighbourhood is like a different world in itself. Whether it’s tourist trinkets or some major electronic purchase, San Francisco will completely satiate your shopping mania. The availability of plenty of cheap discounts shatters the myth that shopping in San Francisco is the privilege of a select few. In case, you manage to get one of the discount vacation packages to San Francisco, then be prepared to blow away those savings on a wonderful spot of shopping. Here are some of the wicked shopping temptations from San Francisco.
- Union Square
- Decco Ghetto
- The Haight
- Western Addition
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- Betsey Johnson
San Francisco is amongst the premiere gourmet hubs of the US. An endearing fact is that there are enough options to take care of every taste and budget. Chinese food aficionados can tuck in to their heart’s content at the biggest Chinatown of North America. Similarly, North Beach is the Mecca for Italian food, while Fisherman’s Wharf is the place for unforgettable seafood. Those with a craving for Mexican and Latin American delicacies can indulge in the Mission area. Here are some of the popular places for eating out in San Francisco.
- Pyramid Ale House, Brewery and Restaurant
- The Slanted Door
- The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton
- Billy Bob’s Steak House & Saloon
- Gary Danko
- Mexico DF
- Ti Couz
Hotels tend to be expensive in San Francisco and if you are looking for cheap hotels or discounted deals then your best bet is to look up Hostels and B&Bs. Those looking for luxury hotels would do well to check out the Nob Hill area, where many of the five star hotels are based. It is unadvisable to book hotels listed as ‘in the theater district’ as most such hotels are inconveniently out of the way. Here is a small list of mixed options to get you started on your search for hotels.
- Hotel Valley Inn
- Town House Motel
- Queen Anne Hotel
- White Swan Inn, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel
- Clift, A Morgans Original
- The Westin St Francis on Union Square
- The Ritz-Carlton
Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to San Francisco operating from UK.
The destination has three Bay Area airports. This ensures stiff competition amongst the different airlines and the resultant availability of cheap flights to San Francisco throughout the year. While returning from San Francisco one may contemplate British Airways as it offers non stop flights to London. The main airport of the destination is the San Francisco International Airport, a major hub for Virgin America and United Airlines. It is the largest of the California Bay Area airports and is the key international gateway to the destination. The airport hosts domestic, regional, and international passenger and cargo services for more than 30 airlines. The remaining two airports are Oakland International Airport and San Jose International Airport.
San Francisco, surrounded by the ocean and the bay on three sides has a pretty unpredictable climate. As a result, there can be wild temperature fluctuations throughout the day. The spring season lasts from March to May, the summers from June to August, the fall from September to November, and the winter from December to February. The fall months are considered the best time to plan a trip to the destination as the days are usually sunny, while the nights are clear and mild. However, the other months are good if you want to look for off season discount airline tickets and special holiday offers.
The main lifelines of San Francisco’s local public transport system are the Muni buses, cable cars, and the streetcar system. If you plan to travel by taxi, remember that in many areas it is advisable to call a taxi company for a pick up as hailing a taxi can prove to be pretty tough. Another option is to hire a private car but it is rather expensive. To ensure that you get the cheapest deals, book as early as possible rather than wait for the last minute. Another bargain deal for local transport is to hire Zipcar or car sharing facility.
Here are some travel tips to make your visit to San Francisco as wrinkle free as possible.
- Certain areas have a reputation for gang violence and one has to be very careful, while visiting these places. These are scattered across the Mission, parts of Western Addition including Fillmore District, Tenderloin, and Ingleside, Sunnydale, Visitacion Valley, Byview-Hunters Point, and Potrero Hill in Southeast San Francisco.
- Snatch and run crimes are common especially in crowded buses and markets. So, exercise due caution.
- San Francisco takes anti-smoking legislation pretty seriously. Make sure that you are in a no-smoking zone before you light up.
- The locals are very touchy about the name of their city. It is unadvisable to use any slang for the city. Better stick to the full name, or ‘The City’, or ‘SF’.
- San Francisco is a very liberal and open city. If you are visiting from some conservative destination, then better brace yourself for the cultural shock so that it does not show on your face.
- Food is a pretty serious affair in San Francisco. While eating out, you have to book well in advance if you want a seat in any of the famous restaurants.
(Note: This destination guide is based on information gathered from reliable resources available on the internet and provides only general information about the destination. Southall Travel holds no responsibility for any misrepresentation of facts and will not be in any way liable for any kind of eventuality arising from the use of information given in this guide)