Popular amongst hippies in the 1960s, San Francisco has maintained a bohemian vibe to this day. The city has a laidback atmosphere that immediately puts you in the holiday mood; San Francisco moves at a relaxed pace and lacks the busy public transport and rushing commuters of other US cities.
Rich in culture, history and stunning scenery, San Francisco should be a stateside destination on everyone’s bucket list. Resting on a small peninsula in the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco has been used in almost as many big screen productions as the Big Apple and is home to some of the most iconic landmarks on the USA’s west coast including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and of course the legendary cable cars.
With its numerous museums, excellent restaurants, vibrant nightlife and free-thinking attitude, you can really lose yourself on a city break to San Francisco. See the sights or simply sit back and enjoy the hum of the city.
Alcatraz Island has been voted San Francisco’s top tourist attraction many times over. The former prison that closed in 1963 was home to some of America’s most notorious convicts, including mafia boss Al “Scarface” Capone. There is an air of intrigue surrounding the island which sees visitors from around the globe flock to see it each year. Venture deep inside the prison walls and find out exactly what it would have been like to be an inmate in one of America’s toughest prisons!
Out of all of the landmarks in San Francisco, none have become more symbolic of the city itself than the Golden Gate Bridge. Constructed in 1937, the mile-wide and three-mile-long suspension bridge spans the strait of water separating San Francisco from Marin County, California. Hailed as one of the greatest achievements of modern architecture and listed as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, no visit to San Francisco would be complete without crossing it or at least taking a photo of it.
One of the city’s oldest residents has to be the famous cable car system. Criss-crossing the steep, hilly ‘Frisco streets, the cable car lines which were originally installed way back in 1873, are still manually driven, a testament to oldie worldie America. Almost 9 million tourists each year take a ride on this historic method of transportation, which boasts a top speed of only 9mph! If only for the experience, this is not something to be missed in San Francisco.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s premier food cities, San Francisco’s restaurant menus are packed full of farm-fresh, ingredient-driven dishes. The famous Fisherman’s Wharf district, in particular, is noted for its excellent seafood restaurants although top quality eateries offering every variety of cuisine are scattered across the city, waiting to be discovered.
Nightlife in San Francisco is generally as varied as the cuisine, although unlike its East coast equivalent, the pace is considerably slower. There are a number of traditional Jazz clubs in the city, where the Manhattan’s are stirred, not shaken, alongside a selection of classic speakeasy-style bars, which haven’t lost any of their authenticity.
Ideally located just a stone’s throw from the Californian wine region of the Napa Valley, house wines in any eatery should be top quality, but if the vino isn’t to your taste, the region is generally noted for its gin and whisky distilleries.