San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Norther California. San Francisco’s climate is characteristic of the cool-summer Mediterranean climate of the California coast. Fog is a regular feature of San Francisco summers.
San Francisco has a vast amount of activities and places to see that it may take an extended stay to see all the fascinating sites. The nightlife is a constantly changing scene. The hottest clubs currently are in the South of Market and Mission districts, with live and recorded rock and Latin music. Jazz, blues, swing, and “oldies” music can be found all over town.
Dining in San Francisco is an attraction in itself. Known as America’s best restaurant city, San Francisco chefs excel at combining the freshest local ingredients, authentic international flavors and a touch of creative genius. The top rating restaurants right now are: BDK Restaurant & Bar in Union Square, Nob Hill Club in Nob Hill, Big 4 Restaurant in Nob Hill, Alioto’s #8 in Fisherman’s Wharf, Dirty Water Restaurant and Bar in Central Market, and The Hornblower Dinner Cruises leaving from the Embarcadero/Financial District.
A visit to San Francisco would not be complete without a cultural experience. The city is home to internationally recognized symphony, opera and ballet companies. Playwrights such as Sam Shepherd and Tom Stoppard introduce their works in San Francisco and avant-garde theatre and dance companies dot the city. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, the Palace of the Legion of Honor and other museums and galleries are devoted to the finest of classical and contemporary arts. San Francisco is also home to the California Academy of Sciences - the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest are all under one roof.
Popular sites around the city
Fisherman’s Wharf - is also home to PIER 39, a festive waterfront marketplace that is one of the city’s most popular attractions. A community of California sea lions has taken up residence on the floats to the west of the pier and visitors line the nearby railing to watch their antics. From there it’s a short walk to the Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the famous crab vendors selling walk-away crab and shrimp cocktails.
Union Square - is the place for serious shoppers. Major department stores and the most exclusive designer boutiques line streets like Post, Sutter, Geary, Grant, Stockton and Powell. The Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre houses the largest Bloomingdale's outside of New York and the second largest Nordstrom in the U.S.
Chinatown - at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is called the "Dragon's Gate." Inside are 24 blocks of hustle and bustle, most of it taking place along Grant Avenue, the oldest street in San Francisco. This city within a city is best explored on foot; exotic shops, renowned restaurants, food markets, temples and small museums comprise its boundaries. Visitors can buy ancient potions from herb shops, relax and enjoy a "dim sum" lunch or witness the making of fortune cookies.
Alcatraz - the notorious former prison, is located on an island of the same name in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Some of the United States’ most notorious criminals were incarcerated there. Though several tried, no inmate ever made a successful escape from “The Rock.” The prison was closed in the 1960’s and stories about Alcatraz are legendary. A visit to Alcatraz today is fascinating. Recorded cell-house tours are available, allowing visitors to learn about the prison as they explore the buildings and grounds.
The Golden Gate Bridge - the most famous bridge in the world, manages to impress even the most experienced travelers with its stunning 1.7-mile span. Approximately 120,000 automobiles drive across it every day. A pedestrian walkway also allows the crossing on foot, and bikes are allowed on the western side. The Golden Gate Bridge is said to be one of the most photographed things on Earth.