San Francisco comprises a number of districts including North Beach, the Financial District, Nob Hill, Haight Ashbury, the Mission, the Tenderloin, the Castro and the Richmond each with its own attractions. Pick up a tourist map and get ready to walk those hills since this is the best way to see and really feel this city.
The island of Alcatraz has a strategic military importance in the San Francisco Bay. In 1853, construction of a fort, with perfect views of incoming ships was begun. It served a military purpose from there on until 1934 when Alcatraz was re-invented as a federal penitentiary.
Alcatraz is best known as a high security prison where only the most troublesome prisoners including Al Capone and Robert Stroud were held captive. It is now a massively popular tourist attraction under the control of the Golden Gate National Conservancy. The Rock, as Alcatraz is also known, is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean's deadly currents and ice cold waters. It is theoretically inescapable or just about since a few actually tried to break free! No one knows whether or not the escapees actually made it to freedom. Take a short boat ride from Pier 34 to the island for a memorable visit.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge was opened in 1937 and is over two miles long. The famous suspension bridge, once the largest in the world, is clearly visible from certain points but is in fact a distance from the city and is best reached by car or bus. It is possible to walk, drive or cycle across the bridge. A toll fee is payable one way when entering into the city of San Francisco.
The Bay Bridge leads from San Francisco to Oakland and was opened in 1936. The Bridge is lit up at night providing an impressive view towards Oakland from San Francisco.
Coit Tower is a great vantage point atop Goat Hill that every one should visit. It was built in 1934 and provides 180 degree panoramic views of the entire city and of San Francisco Bay. A small fee is payable to go to the top of the tower and enjoy the views.
Once purely a base for fisherman, it has over time transformed itself with restaurants, bars and shops being built along the wharf frequented mainly by tourists. Pier 39 in particular has a number of shops and places to eat and is open day and night.
Most cities have a China Town and San Francisco's is amongst the largest in North America with plenty of eateries and stores to find just about anything you're looking for.
Washington Square and Union Street
The impressive St Peter and St Paul Catholic church looks over Washington Square Park. The area around the park is trendy and happening with a number of appealing restaurants and bars. Washington Square is a good part of your visit to the city to take a breather!
Grace Cathedral began as a small chapel in 1849 with enlargements until the fire of 1906 destroyed the structure. The new Cathedral lies on a plot donated by the Crocker family and was begun in 1928 only to be finished in 1964. The Cathedral sits majestically on top of the Nob Hill district and is decorated with stained glass windows and intricate Ghiberti Doors at the entrance.
The crookedest street in the world is located in the Russian Hill district. It was built with all it's zigzags in the 1920s to ease the steep decline of the hills.
Market Street is one of the main roads running through the city. You'll find department stores, malls and other stores all along Market Street.
Yerba Buena Gardens
The lovely Yerba Buena Gardens were designed as an Urban Redevelopment plan with the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Center for the Arts and the Charles Loof Carousel as special points of interest.
This architectural wonder, the tallest building in San Francisco, is in the shape of a pyramid and is a significant feature of the San Franciscan Financial district skyline since 1972. The pyramid and skyline is particularly nice at night from a good vantage point atop one of the many hills.
The Mission Dolores is over 2 centuries old making it one of the oldest structures in San Francisco. The little chapel has the beautiful and impressive Mission Basilica dating from 1916 as a neighbour.
California Wine Country
The famous California Winelands begin within a mere hour's drive of the city and are comprised of the famous Napa and Sonoma Valleys amongst others. The vineyards stretch for miles and the scenery is spectacular. Wine drinker or not we would definitely suggest a visit to California wine country.