After working in the beautiful state of Maine one summer, I was so excited to make the most of my 30 days grace to travel the USA before my working visa ran out. There’s absolutely no doubt at all that San Francisco was the place I was most looking forward to visiting. And now, having been, I share the opinion of so many other people in the world who agree that San Francisco is easily one of the most exciting cities to visit in the USA. Let me tell you why…
1) Alcatraz Island – No trip to San Francisco would be complete without taking the boat over to visit the infamous former prison located off the shores of the city. Learn about its fascinating history and hear stories of desperate attempts that the prisoners made to escape by swimming across the bay.
2) Silicon Valley – San Francisco has the technology capital of the world right on its doorstep. Silicon Valley is where you’ll find some of the biggest and most famous high-tech corporations in the world such as Facebook, Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corporation, to name but a few.
3) Golden Gate Bridge – The city’s iconic landmark; head here for fantastic photo opportunities and venture across to the picturesque city of Sausalito where you can enjoy spectacular views looking back across to San Francisco. That’s if the famous fog hasn’t crept in to make for some even more special photos.
4) Musical history – The city of San Francisco has a rich musical history and you don’t have to look hard to find a live music venue to sample it in its current form. It’s even possible to see the house which the Eagles classic ‘Hotel California’ is based on whilst on the city sightseeing bus route. Which leads me nicely on to…
5) San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off – The City Sightseeing tour bus is the perfect way to see all the key attractions located around the city. It’s certainly one of the best ones I’ve ever used and is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the city’s best bits. And trust me; there are far too many best bits to get around them all on foot.
6) Pier 39 – Located in the popular area of Fisherman’s Wharf, this is by far the most famous pier in all of San Francisco and has become a must-see tourist attraction for anyone visiting the city. It’s a bustling shopping centre with live street performers, quirky shops and excellent waterfront dining options.
7) Union Square – This is San Francisco’s central shopping, hotel and theatre district where you’ll find countless luxurious boutiques, as well as department stores, gift shops and galleries. The main square is also the perfect place to sit back and watch the world go by as you indulge in a bit of people watching.
8) The California Academy of Science – Easily reachable on one of the hop-on hop-off bus routes; this is the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living-museum and is well worth a few hours of your time. After all, where else do you know where you can see an albino alligator?
9) Lombard Street – So called ‘the most crooked street in the world’, Lombard Street is a place where visitors to San Francisco congregate to catch a glimpse of the bizarre road which has eight hairpin bends in it. As if San Francisco streets weren’t distinctive enough with their hugely steep inclines!
10) The food – Whether you’re looking for classic American cuisine or freshly-caught seafood dishes along the waterfront, you’ll find it all in San Francisco. Seek out a little-known independent restaurant or head to one of the bigger names such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the Rainforest Cafe.
11) Sport – Sports fans will love San Francisco as it’s home to some of the very best teams in the country. There are the Giants (baseball), the Golden State Warriors (basketball) and the 49ers (football) for a start. Which game will you be trying to catch?
12) The cable car system – When you think of San Francisco, you think of cable cars. This is the last remaining manually operated cable car system in the world and you couldn’t possibly come to the city without taking a ride on one. What better excuse is there to not climb those hills yourself?
13) The surroundings – The wonderful thing about San Francisco is that you don’t have to go far beyond the boundaries of the city before you’re surrounded by stunning scenery. There are breathtaking national parks, mountains and reserves all within easy reach of the centre, should you wish to venture a little further afield on your holiday.
14) Wine – If you enjoy a little tipple while on holiday, then San Francisco is just the place for you. There’s a huge range of wineries that you can visit in order to taste the locally produced wine or, for the ultimate experience, book yourself on to a Napa and Sonoma wine tour.
Have you been to San Francisco before? What’s your favourite thing about the city? Let me know in the comments below.
Maybe you’re thinking of heading on holiday to the USA? In which case, take a look at www.myusamagazine.com, where you’ll find all the information and inspiration you could possibly need to plan your perfect trip.