San Francisco, United States
Attractions and What to do in San Francisco USA
San Francisco is a city that is vibrant with activity and color, known for the yearly fog and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Come explore this City by the Bay and experience for yourself its quintessential charm. There are tons of activities to choose from, where you can see the sights, explore off the beaten track or do bike rides around the Bay and try new things. You can find a little bit of everything for everyone from the casual tourist to the experienced adventurer.
Downtown San Francisco is worth a couple of days of wandering around. Admire the city skyline, where you can find historical Victorian houses called "the Painted Ladies," (located on Steiner Avenue, right in front of Alamo Square), the Transamerica Pyramid, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Views of the Bay are absolutely spectacular from Coit Tower or the Legion of Honor Museum. So explore, eat and enjoy!
Known for being an infamous prison where Al Capone was held, Alcatraz (or The Rock, as it is popularly known) is a famous San Francisco landmark that is an obligatory trip for anyone visiting the city. Its fascinating history goes back to the Civil War era, when it was first used as a prison. Over the years, it fell into disuse and then later became a temporary hold place for prisoners after the Great Earthquake of 1906.
From there, it became the famous penitentiary where only 14 officially recorded escapes were made, of which none succeeded. The island also has the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast. Ferries leave from Pier 33 and there are a variety of tours that sail around the island or take you on a guided tour through the installations, during the day and in the evening. It is 1.25 miles away, across chilly, shark-infested waters, from the city.
The first cable car was first tested in 1873 and since then, has been a very integral part of the image of San Francisco, the only major city in the US that still has cable-drawn cars still operational. The cars run from the downtown area and have different routes and stops and can take you as far as Fisherman's Wharf. See the city in a different light and enjoy the ride.
California Academy of Sciences
This interactive science museum is one of the oldest of its kind on the west coast. There are a lot of attractions of which the most famous are the Steinhart Aquarium, the Morrison Planetarium and the Kimball Natural History Museum. The renovations to the museum have also given it a complete makeover which also consists of a living roof that collects rain water as well as floor-to-ceiling windows, offering a lovely view of Golden Gate Park.
If San Francisco is known for one thing, the openly gay area that is called Castro should be one of the first things that should come to mind. Lined with Victorian houses, Castro Street is filled with shops, restaurants and bakeries where you can enjoy excellent cuisine.
San Francisco's Chinatown is the biggest concentration of Chinese people outside of China. Its long history is linked to the times of the Gold Rush and the bringing of immigrants to live and work in the area. Nowadays, its streets are lined with electronic goods shops, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Located on the most northwestern corner of San Francisco, the site of this building has a long history that dates back to the late 1800's though the building itself is actually more modern. It is now an elegant restaurant and bar with an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean and Seal Rock.
A notable landmark of the city, mainly because it can be easily spotted from most parts of downtown San Francisco, Coit Tower was built with the money donated by the widower, Mrs. Lillie Hitchcock Coit, with the express instruction to beautify the city. It is located on Telegraph Hill, where you can take in one of the best views of all of San Francisco.
This is a science museum that is hands on and really a great place to go for both kids and adults. The exhibits are kid-friendly and help kids understand the importance of science and how it is in everyday things.
Fisherman's Wharf - El Embarcadero del Pescador
Like the name implies, this was where immigrant fishermen would sail out and bring in the catch of the day. Nowadays, it is place where you can try the famous Dungeness crab, walk down the wharf and see the sea lions. Ghiradelli Square and the last stop of the cable cars from downtown are also nearby.
Domingo Ghirardelli came to San Francisco with his chocolate and fever for the Gold Rush. After opening several stores, his sons built Ghirardelli Square to accommodate the chocolate production and centralize it in one area. Now, it is a historic landmark and the site of many restaurants, shops, a wine tasting event and an excellent soda fountain.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Iconic representation of San Francisco, the Golden Gate spans 4,200 feet across the chilly waters. The most notable characteristic of the bridge is its famous "International Orange" color. Officially opened to the public on May 28, 1937, there are a couple of buses that can take you out this way so visit the Fort Point Museum that is near the San Francisco side of the bridge and walk or bike across.
This name comes from the corner where these two streets cross, made famous by the rock acts, like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. There are a lot of Victorian houses of different styles here, along with very unique boutiques, shops and restaurants.
This area has a series of shops, restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, bookstores, among other types of locales which mostly sell Japanese products. There are also annual cultural events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Legion of Honor Museum
This museum is located next to Lincoln Park Golf Course in the north of the city and offers a phenomenal view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. On top of hill with a winding street, you can find all sorts of exhibitions that range from photographs, paintings, sculptures and other expressions of art. There are also temporary as well as permanent collections found here.
This street is best known for a one-block section that has 8 switchbacks all on a hill that has a nearly 30 degree incline. Built in 1922, this section of Lombard Street is called the crookedest street in San Francisco. Tourists come to this hill and either drive down, walk or take pictures.
This is the largest privately owned collection of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade games in the world. Located in Pier 45, the Musee Mecanique consists of old arcade games that go from the fortune telling gypsy in a glass case to instruments that play a tune.
Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco MOMA is a multiple-story museum that offers their permanent exhibits as well as touring collections. Past exhibits have included works by artists such as Frida Kahlo, Rene Magritte and Paul Klee. There is an excellent museum store and cafe where you can take a break after your visit.
Palace of Fine Arts
The building was constructed in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Expo and the design was influenced by Roman and Greek architecture. The only part of the eight-building structure that remains is the columned dome building set on a lake, made to recall classic European settings. The area makes for a very romantic walk.
This pier features restaurants, stores, novelty shops and a whole slew of entertainment options. Come and see the sea lions that have made their home on the docks. There are street performers, a carousel, ferry and boat rides, an arcade and kayaks for rent. The Aquarium of the Bay, also found at the Pier, is an amazing aquarium with a 300-foot long acrylic tunnel under the bay.
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