The city of San Francisco in California, USA can well be termed as a mini China with the world renowned China Town housed within the city limits. Home to famous landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco has developed in recent years to accommodate the traveling visitor and now boasts of being a wonderful city with a steady stream of tourists the year around.
With steep rugged mountain ranges, spectacular coasts, stupendous architectural wonders and of course, major shopping districts, the city never fails to amaze you with its various sights and sounds. No matter what kind of traveler you are, San Francisco has something to enlighten you.
Getting there and around:- The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) caters to both International and domestic flights and is just a short drive away from the historic city center (the Financial District).
One of the highlights of the city is the excellent structure of the public transport system. The city has a wide variety of available transport options and it is very unlikely that you will be left without a way to get to a particular area.
While buses, metro rails, and street cars provide the basic means of transportation in and around the city, there are also a fair number of cable cars, car pooled vehicles, ancient street carriages, and various light rail vehicles (bikes, bicycles) you can hop onto for a ride around the city.
Cuisine:- San Francisco is world renowned for its trademark historic food and wine. Every corner of the city is filled with restaurants and bars that offer delicacies that originate from different parts of the world. No matter what demands your taste buds put down, the city is able to satisfy them with mouth watering aromas and finger licking food delights.
Places to visit:-
If you are in San Francisco, easily the first site to visit would be China Town, the largest Chinese city outside Asia. Situated between Bush Street and Columbus street in Grant Avenue, the town is occupied by Asian descendents and contains numerous theatres, temples, stores selling souvenirs and antiquities; and ancient tea houses, all built in traditional Chinese style.
Coit Tower:- Standing at a height of 500 feet above sea level, the Coit Tower is situated at the summit of the Telegraph Hill and resembles a fire hose in design. The tower was originally built in memory of the city’s fire brigade and provides spectacular views of the entire city and the surrounding areas.
Dare to drive down the Lombard Street which is touted to be the ‘Crookedest Street in the World’, not for its underlying path but for its traversal through various blocks with the portion after the Hyde Street being the most curved (10 zigzag bends).
If you have heard about the Ripley’s Believe It or Not , here is a chance to visit the museum in person. Located in the center of the city, the museum houses nearly 2000 of the most bizarre artifacts found on earth.
A visit to the Golden Gate Park is a must. Also known as the lungs of San Francisco, the park covers nearly 1017 acres and contains numerous carefully paved foot paths along with separate cycle tracks, horse riding tracks, several lakes, a botanical garden, a traditional Japanese tea house and a meadow for buffalos to graze.
In addition to the enormous variety of flora and fauna present in the garden, there are three museums and several greenhouses for the plant lover to indulge in some serious botanical studies.
The Golden Gate Bridge is again another stupendous structure that is present in the park and is clearly one of the most photographed sites in the world.
If you crave for entertainment, then you need to move down to the South Eastern part of town which has its fair share of bars, pubs, night clubs, cabarets, theatres and restaurants to enliven your nights.
If China Town is for the Asians, then Washington Square is for the Italians. With restaurants and cafes resembling Italian architecture and cuisines, there are nearly 50000 Italians who live in this square. If you happen to visit the area, don’t miss out on the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
If inland activities tend to bore you, head out to the water front locations of Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. The area is lined with restaurants serving all kinds of sea food in addition to various local delicacies. Buy a few souvenirs or watch the street performers enliven the streets with their sterling power packed performances.
Catch a ferry ride to the nearby island of Sausalito where you can get some candid views of the city in addition to visiting a few art galleries in the area. Alternatively, you can also visit the world renowned island of Alcatraz. What used to be a former prison is now a popular tourist spot and visitors to it have claimed the island and the ruins of the prison are haunted by the former inmates.