The Golden Gate Bridge is acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful bridges. Its bright orange towers and sweeping main cables glow in the sunshine or are engulfed in the fog that frequents this area. No matter if you drive, walk or bicycle across this engineering marvel, the views are spectacular.
No visit would be complete without a ride on a cable car. These cable-powered streetcars have been transporting people up and down the fabulous hills of San Francisco since 1873. A highlight of the ride is actually at the end (or beginning) at the turnaround. Watch while drivers push the cable car on a rotating platform 180 degrees for the trip back up the hill.
A long strip along the waterfront is home to the Cannery, Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39. A working waterfront, also called Fish Alley, sells tons of sole, shrimp, salmon, and squid every year. Crab season (mid November - June) is the time for seafood lovers. There is shopping, entertainment, restaurants and vendors who sell Dungeness Crab ready to eat.
In addition to the expected displays of sea life, this unusual aquarium invites visitors into the hidden world of life under San Francisco Bay. A moving walkway takes you through two crystal clear tunnels, 300 feet in length, surrounded by 700,000 gallons of filtered Bay water and more than 23,000 aquatic animals.
This steep and winding street is the most photographed street in San Francisco. Tourists come to Russian Hill to see, drive or walk down the "crookedest street in the world," with eight hairpin turns. The Hyde Street Cable Car makes a stop at the top of Lombard Street. Along with the dramatic view of Lombard Street, there are awesome views of Fisherman’s Wharf and the Bay.
Walking through the dragon-adorned Pagoda Gates leads visitors into the colorful and exciting area of San Francisco known as Chinatown. It is tightly packed with exotic shops, ethnic food markets, and excellent restaurants. In February each year, the Chinese New Year is celebrated here with parades and dancing dragons.
Once a federal prison housing dangerous and notorious criminals, Alcatraz (The Rock) now welcomes tourists into the cellblocks once occupied by the likes of Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelley, and the Birdman of Alcatraz. Self-guided audiocassette tours have dramatic narratives of Alcatraz’s grim history, including realistic sound effects one would hear in prison.
If you are a Walt Disney fan, then this is the place to visit. Here you will learn more about the fascinating and inspiring story of Walt Disney – the man behind Mickey Mouse and Snow White. This fun museum features historic materials and artifacts, including early drawings and animation, movies, music and much more.
Take a stroll around this lovely setting and admire the impressive building. The Legion of Honor building is a replica of the Palais de la Legion d'Honneur in Paris and was completed in 1924. This is also one of San Francisco’s fine arts museums with lots of sculptures, porcelain and European paintings.
Explore and get to know the city in an exciting and fun way – with a segway. City Segway Tours is the first guided tour using Segways in the world and offers you a great tour with fascinating stories and information about the history of San Francisco. This will truly be an experience that you will never forget!
Golden Gate is much more than just trees and walking paths - the park houses multiple attractions, such as the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum and even a Japanese Tea Garden. Come with time to spare, and bring your bike along on Sundays, when a large portion of the park is reserved for cycling.
Calzone has dubbed itself a Euro Bistro for the 21st century. Sit beneath the large awning covering the front and enjoy a gourmet pizza while people-watching. Appetizers include mussels in garlic, ginger cilantro broth, or Italian pot stickers filled with sausage and mushrooms. Dinner entrées include a wide variety of pasta, seafood, beef, chicken and pork dishes.
This restaurant is named after a small fishing village on the island of Samos in Greece. When entering the restaurant, you will notice the old-world charm of a rustic Mediterranean country inn. The menus include traditional Greek cuisine with mouth-watering starters such as classic Greek salad and main courses like the traditional dish Moussaka.
If you are an oyster lover, this is the place to visit. Hog Island Oyster Bar offers fresh and local oysters and Manila clams raised on their own farm. This is the place where you can indulge in Oyster soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, which is to die for. This is, however, a very popular place so it might be crowded but well worth the wait.
A festival marketplace with 13 bay-view restaurants, dozens of fun attractions and over 110 stores, many one-of-a kind. Bling Things (jewelry), Alpaca Fashion (sweaters), the Cable Car Store (collectibles), Field of Dreams (sports and celebrity gift store), Houdini Magic, and Puppets on the Pier. If you can’t find it here, you can’t find it anywhere.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located 8 miles (13 Km) south of the city and it offers a wide range of domestic and international flights. BART rapid rail runs from SFO to San Mateo County, San Francisco and the East Bay. It is a convenient and quick way of getting to the city center. You will find the SFO BART Station on the Departures/Ticketing Level of the International Terminal (Boarding Area G side). Tickets can be bought at the SFO BART Station upon arrival. (www.bart.gov) SamTrans offers 24-hour bus service connecting SFO to San Mateo County and parts of San Francisco. Routes KX, 292, 397 and 398 stop directly at the Airport terminals. SamTrans buses stop at the terminals,: Terminal 2: Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level, center island adjacent to Courtyard 2 Terminal 3: Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level, curbside adjacent to Courtyard 4 International Terminal: Level 1 at Courtyard A and curbside adjacent to Courtyard (www.samtrans.com) Taxis offer door-to-door service to any destination within San Francisco and surrounding communities.
(OAK) lies 20 miles (32 Km) east of the city. Use the BART transport system to get to and from the airport. Oakland Airport BART station is located next to the Terminal 1 baggage claim area. The line connects the airport and Coliseum stations, the journey lasts 8 minutes.
San Jose International Airport (SJC) is located 40 miles (64 Km) south of the city and is thus the furthest from San Francisco. The free VTA Airport Flyer connects the airport to Santa Clara's CalTrain station. You can take Caltrain to both San Francisco Airport and downtown San Francisco. This option is free, but most time-consuming. Private van and taxi services are also available at the airport; van pick up may be arranged from any location in San Francisco (inquire about prices when booking).
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
San Francisco has the most extensive public transit system on the West Coast. The MUNI-Metro, a light rail System, operates five routes that crisscross the city. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is the regional transit system connecting San Francisco with outlying communities. A single ride ticket covers 90 mins of travel time. Purchase a Clipper card to make payments easier; 1-, 3-, and 7-day passes are also available. The MUNI Passport can be purchased at the airport, online or at several locations inside the city. Offers unlimited rides on busses, historical streetcars and cable cars.