Views abound – from San Francisco hilltops, bridges, streetcars, cafes. As the crown jewel of the Bay Area, this small peninsula is a sophisticated, diverse city with a European ambiance. The cool, mild climate is notable for the daily fog drama as it enters the Golden Gate from the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay.
The Bay is stunning – shipping traffic mixes with sailboat and commuter ferries. Two landmark bridges, Golden Gate and Bay Bridges connect the city with the East and North Bay communities. Within the Bay, Angel and Alcatraz Islands attracts visitors year round.
San Francisco has many famous and distinct neighborhoods, including Russian Hill, Haight Ashbury, The Castro, The Mission, Union Square, Chinatown and North Beach. Many city landmarks are icons here – Lombard Street for its outrageous curves, the Cable Cars for their open-air nostalgia, Coit Tower for its Depression murals and views, Golden Gate Park for its collage of environments and attractions.
Most lodging for visitors is near Union Square, Nob Hill or Fisherman’s Wharf. Restaurants are legendary here – bad one’s rarely survive so it is always worth trying some of the smaller neighborhood ones. Besides downtown, there are many neighborhood shopping districts throughout the city with excellent restaurants (the Mission, the Marina, Union Street, and others).
Parking is not easy or inexpensive so use the cable cars, BART and Muni if you can. Or, rent a bike at Fisherman’s Wharf.