San Francisco may be the City by the Bay, but it's so much more. As a renowned dining destination, a hub for tech and business, and a cultural center for creatives, there's no shortage of excitement. Thanks to a mix of hippie culture alongside new developments and a burgeoning coffee scene, every visit feels like coming to a brand-new city.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an icon in its own right, but Golden Gate Park, with its museums, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Japanese Garden, and even a herd of buffalo, are just as popular. Though the fog can roll in unexpectedly, locals know that it just takes a light jacket to stave off the chill no matter what time of year it is.
Neighborhoods all have their own allure and draw. The Mission is renowned for its culinary scene. Downtown is a shoppers' haven with huge names like Saint Laurent and Valentino rubbing shoulders with Tiffany and Co. and Williams-Sonoma in Union Square. Visit North Beach to see the city skyline from a whole new angle and to take it all in with panoramic views, head to Coit Tower. Haight-Ashbury and the Castro are packed with local color and seem worlds away from the bustle of Fisherman's Wharf and the Financial District.
Take in a game at AT&T Park, one of the only stadiums in the country with ocean views, before riding the cable cars. Of course, the famed Painted Ladies are a popular Instagram spot, charming even the most jaded sightseers.
Avoid the tourist trap area of Fisherman’s Wharf and seek out local fare from one of San Francisco’s plentiful and eclectic neighborhoods. Restaurants to try include Pacific Cafe, Anchor Oyster Bar, and Woodhouse Fish Co., each located within neighborhoods that are off the beaten path.
A day trip to Alcatraz Island, the infamous former prison, is a must-see for many travelers looking for adventure during their journey (Book the night tour to be spooked — it's not for the faint of heart!). Be sure to book at least two weeks prior to your visit to guarantee a spot.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is more than traditional markets and amazing dim sum. As North America’s oldest Chinatown, this neighborhood gem draws more visitors than even the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco is home to a network of historic and fully operational cable cars that traverse the downtown area, brimming with charm all the while. Many stops feature hour-long lines, but visitors can easily hop on a cable car from Mason and Bay streets, or catch the California line at California and Market.
Take a stroll to Alamo Square to see the pastel-painted houses on a hill known as the "Painted Ladies." These notable homes include the famed residence from the television series "Full House."