A holiday in San Francisco will let you explore one of the most vibrant and open-minded cities in the world. The most iconic landmark of all is of course the Golden Gate Bridge, but there's also the sprawling Presidio park to wander. San Francisco's distinctive streets are an attraction in themselvesvisit the famed Chinatown area and soak up the bohemian atmosphere of former hippie mecca, Haight Ashbury. The bars and restaurants of North Beach are a must, and then there's the notorious prison island of Alcatrazare you brave enough to sail over for a tour?
A variety of carriers, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and bmi, offer direct flights to San Francisco. They take off from London Heathrow and the average journey time to San Francisco International Airport is around is just under 11 hours. If you'd rather depart from a more conveniently located airport than Heathrow, you can choose from a wider variety of UK airportsincluding Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds Bradfordif you're happy to take the indirect route.
Getting from the airport to San Francisco itself is simple, thanks to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) systemits trains run around four times an hour from the airport to the city. Getting around during your San Francisco holiday is easy thanks to the extremely extensive public transport system, Muni, which is comprised of buses, the famous cable cars, trams (or streetcars) and an underground. All of this makes it far easier to use public transport than to hire a car in San Francisco. If you are determined to drive, bear in mind that the maze-like grids of the streets and expensive parking, not to mention constant congestion and very steep hills, can make driving a fairly hair-raising experience!
As befitting any city of this size and reputation, there are many hotels in San Francisco to choose fromranging from the very cheap to the eye-wateringly expensive. As with most holidays, it pays to have a thorough look around online first to compare prices and get the best possible deal.
If you want to save money on your San Francisco holiday, don't splurge on swanky high-end restaurants. Instead, seek out the authentic San Fran experience by asking locals for tips. The city's Chinatown, arguably the greatest Chinatown in the world, is the perfect place to discover some delicious dishes that won't cost the earth. Alternatively, head to neighbouring North Beach for proper, traditional Italian restaurants.
Updated 15th May 2013
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