A Unique California City
The combination of a location surrounded by the Pacific, the charm of Victorian architecture and a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis make the city of San Francisco a popular tourist destination. Located in northern California where the mild Mediterranean climate draws hundreds of visitors all year, the San Francisco Bay area is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. Summers may be cool and foggy and winters mild with occasional rain but many days are sunny and perfect for exploring the distinct regions that encompass the City by the Bay.
Public transportation from the airport includes a modern rail system, BART, that drops passengers into the mid city regions. From the financial district and Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Nob Hill and other districts can be reached either on foot or by bus or cable car. San Francisco is a great city for walking if moderate hill climbing is not an issue and the breathtaking views at the hilltops provide the reward.
Much of San Francisco developed during the 1849 gold rush period where wealthy miners brought their winnings to town. The quaint Victorian era row homes are stacked up and down the streets and feature bay windows, a signature local style. Cable cars travel through these steep neighborhoods taking riders from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown. The most curving street in the U.S., Lombard Street, can be seen at the top of a cable car stop.
Hundreds of Chinese people came to work on the railroads during the 1800’s. Today, Chinatown ranks as one of the highest Asian populations in the U.S. and stretches through several densely packed city blocks. The fragrant aroma of Chinese food, the dozens of import shops, herb and food markets make this unique region a tourist’s delight.
On level land, Fisherman’s Wharf runs along the harbor for several miles. Numerous restaurants offer oysters and fresh seafood to go or a chance to sit down to an elegant meal. A large sourdough bread factory creates the favorite staple of the 49’rs. Souvenir shops line the Embarcadero and also at an outdoor mini-mall known as Pier 39. Visitors watch piles of black seals lying on the docks and hear the sea gulls overhead. From the harbor, several cruise excursions take tourists around the bay. The island of Alcatraz, once a forbidding prison, makes an interesting half-day trip.
No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a look at the famous Golden Gate Bridge that spans from the city to Marin County. The expansive Golden Gate Park (larger than New York’s Central Park) contains walking paths, botanical gardens, flower conservatories and museums.
The city is known for exquisite cuisine and each district has a unique ethnic focus. In North Beach Italian restaurants line Columbus Street and offer everything from pizza, veal parmesan and tiramisu. Along with sourdough bread, Ghirardelli chocolate is a S.F. favorite and the landmark factory and shops are at Ghirardelli Square near Fisherman’s Wharf. On the north side of town, many contemporary French and California style restaurants are found in the Pacific Heights district.
For more information on San Francisco, visit http://sanfranciscodeals.travel.
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