Ah, Frisco. Ever since I visited five years ago, I’ve sung its praises to anyone who’ll listen; between its cosmopolitan culture, creative energy and genuinely nice people, it’s a city with a lot to show off about. In fact, there’s so much to do and see that to make a comprehensive list, I fear would require someone made of sterner stuff than I – but I certainly have a few suggestions of how to make your San Francisco holiday go with a bang…
1.) Ride a cable car. The Golden Gate Bridge notwithstanding, the humble cable car has got to be one of the most iconic emblems of the San Francisco charm offensive (trust us – you will be charmed. You won’t have a say in it. This city knows what it’s doing). The cable cars are the only system of their kind to exist in the world, and they will traverse you over Friscos considerable inclines and valleys with ease.
Image by el frito
2.) Get lost. The best way to discover the considerable charms of San Fran is quite simply to throw caution to the wind and put foot to pavement! It’s a big, enthusiastic show-off of a city, and a melting pot of cultures, sights, sounds and smells that benefit most from being sprung upon one unexpectedly. Grab a map (if you must) and set off on foot to explore the old hippie mecca of Haight-Ashbury or Nob Hill.
3.) Hike it up! Escape from tourist-hell Fisherman’s Wharf to explore the Bay Trail, which begins on the promontory enclosing the yacht club in the Marina District. You’ll get to visit places like the Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field’s beach, the sea lions and finally the Golden Gate Bridge with views over Alcatraz. The walk encompasses some pretty iconic San Francisco sights.
Image by Yorick_R
4.) State the obvious. Icons become iconic for a reason – and a tour of notorious prison Alcatraz can’t be missed. Jump on a street car or take a stroll up the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf, head to Pier 33 near Bay Street and catch a ferry to this rock island and former maximum security prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Former inmates included Al Capone and Robert Stroud, better known as the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’. It makes for pretty fascinating stuff and provides a startling contrast to all those sunny brunches you’ll be having (and if you’re not having – why not?!)
5.) A great way to soak up the culture of a place is to head to its Farmers Markets. Start at the historic Ferry building at the foot of Market Street and stroll through the incredible selection of shops and restaurants, with wares ranging from deliciously fresh locally sourced fish to artisan cheeses and straight-from-the-oven breads.
Image by SMcGarnigle
6.) Shop till you drop. Take a taxi ride to Haight Street – a street forever synonymous with the beat culture of the 1960’s, you’ll find everything from from second-hand clothing stores to designer boutiques, as well as the incredible Amoeba Music store. It stocks more than 100,000 new and used CDs, vinyl records and audio cassettes, so if you’re a music buff, it’s well worth a visit!
Image by Grahamc66
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