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California Destinations - San Francisco

Instantly recognizable for its steep hills, its unique mix of Victorian and modern architecture, and its iconic landmarks, San Francisco is one of the great cities of the United States.

Culture lovers will appreciate San Francisco's mosaic of ethnic neighborhoods, while shopping afficianados will find myriad venues to browse. Visitors interested in culinary pursuits will enjoy a wide spectrum of offerings from world class seafood and ethnic offerings to signature gourmet restaurants like Gary Danko.

 
WHAT'S TO SEE ?
 Signature Sights
The Golden Gate Bridge: One of the most recognizable landmarks in the modern world, the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen from much of the city, and transversed by vehicle, by foot, or by cycling. Lombard Street: Few of our clients remember the street's name, but all of them get that "ah ha" moment when they see the "world's crookedest street" in person for the first time.
Coit Tower: Perched atop Telegraph Hill, the 210 foot high tower affords some of the better views of the city and bay. City Hall: Destroyed by the 1906 earthquake shortly after its completion, the existing structure is one of largest buildings in the world to use base-isolation technology to protect against a repeat occurrence.
The Cable Cars: Run by an extensive underground cable system, San Francisco's iconic transportation system was implemented when horses proved unable to conquer San Francisco's steep hills. Painted Ladies: Few cities are as readily identified by their architecture as San Francisco.
 
 Highlight Attractions  
Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39: Tourist center of the City, Fisherman's Wharf and adjacent Pier 39 team with activity, including scores of restaurants, shops, street performers, and tourist attractions.

Alcatraz Island: Just minutes by ferry from from the Embarcadero, dramatic audio tours bring the notorious federal prison to life.

Union Square and Market Street: The thriving commercial center and heart of San Francisco, the area in and around Union Square and Market Street is tremendous for shopping, dining and soaking in the vibrant city atmosphere.

Golden Gate Park: San Francisco's answer to New York's Central Park features scenic paths, lakes, museums and gardens, including the well-regarded Japanese Tea Garden, Strybing Arboretum and Conservatory of Flowers.

Chinatown: Oldest and largest Chinatown in the United States, and historic center of San Francisco, this is one of the most prominant centers of Chinese culuture outside of China. The dim sum cuisine is not to be missed!

The Embarcadero: Stretching from Fisherman's Wharf to AT&T Park, the Embarcadero features bayside shopping, dining, ferry service and other attractions. The historic Ferry Building brims with activity three days a week during the Farmer's Market.

 
 More Points of Interest

The Palace of Fine Arts: This iconic building houses the Exploratorium and Tactile Dome, which are excellent attractions for families.

SFMOMA: Celebrating its 75th anniversiary in 2010, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art the first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art

Yerba Buena Gardens: Gorgeous horticulture with spectacular downtown views.

California Academy of Sciences: Recently remodeled, and featuring and excellent aquarium, the Academy is one of the largest natural history museums in the United States.

Other Museums and Gardens

  • The Beat Museum
  • Cable Car Museum
  • Cartoon Art Museum
  • de Young Museum
  • Maritime Museum
  • Wells Fargo History Museum
  • Museum of Asian Art

Mission Dolores: One of California's 21 historic Spanish missions, and the namesake for San Francisco's Mission District.

The Presidio: The most famous of 4 original Spanish military installations on the California coast.

Nob Hill: Perched high above the rest of the city, Nob Hill features some of the city's most historic hotels, it's finest mansions and wonderful views.

North Beach: San Francisco's "Little Italy" is home to a vibrant nightlife, boutique shopping, excellent restaurants and a unique atmosphere that makes it popular with locals and visitors alike.

The Mission District: Center of Latino culture in the City, "the Mission" offers a world class collection of urban murals, and a hip locals-oriented nightlife scene.

Haight Ashbury: "The Haight" was at the epicenter of 60's hippy culture, and ground zero for the "Summer of Love."

 
 Just Beyond the City

Sausalito: Just across the Golden Gate, Sausalito offers quiet seaside shopping and dining, with views back towards the City.

Muir Woods: Old-growth redwoods, preserved less than an hour's drive from the Golden Gate.

Berkeley and Stanford: Two of the West Coast's most notable and prestigious university are short drives from San Francisco. Both campuses and their surrounding neighborhoods are worth a visit, particularly for families with college-bound children.

The Wine Country: Both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys are less than an hour's drive from San Francisco.

 
WHAT'S TO DO?
 Signature Activities

Shop: With myriad venues like the San Francisco Centre, Union Square and Chestnut Street, San Francisco is a California mecca for shopping connoisseurs.

Dine out: From San Francisco's many neighborhoods come some of the best ethnic cuisine on the West Coast. Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and Italian offerings head the list. Seafood is, of course, another of the city's highlights, and sourdough bread is a signature staple. Throw in fine gourmet offerings like Gary Danko, and it adds up to one of the best arrays of culinary delights west of the Mississippi River.

Ride the cable cars: For most visitors, this is a must, even if it's simply a short trip from the Financial District to the top of Nob Hill.

Bike or walk across the Golden Gate: Great exercise, and an excellent way to experience views of the city at a leisurely pace. Include lunch in Sausalito and take the ferry back for a complete experience.

Visit the Ferry Building Farmers' Market: The Ferry Building is always a beautiful spot to enjoy a handful of eateries and some exotic culinary shops, but on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the bayside farmer's market turns this into a hub of activity.

Attend a sporting event: Bay Area citizens are passionate about their sports; particularly baseball and football. Downtown, AT&T Park is one of Major League Baseball's better parks. Just outside the city, Candlestick Park hosts the 49ers, and both Cal and Stanford feature top tier college football action.

 
 Other Popular Activities

Take a helcopter tour: Among other things, see what it feels like to fly UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge.

Go on a whale watching trip to the Farallons: Naturalist-led trips to the offshore Farallon Islands feature whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and other aquatic wildlife, including ocassionally, great white sharks, which are seasonal visitors to the area.

Go fishing: Sturgeon, stripers and salmon headline the list of fish targeted in and around the San Francisco Bay.

Explore the city's architecture: Victorian, Georgian and modern architecture mix and mingle to form San Francisco's unique landscape.

Grab some seafood: Enjoy clam chowder in a sourdough bowl at Boudin's, or have a seafood cocktail from any number of vendors in and around Fisherman's Wharf.

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