Whether you’re visiting or relocating, the Golden City offers plenty of diversions year round. Enjoy the full San Francisco experience by doing the following:
- Ride a cable car
SF’s iconic cable cars are often referred to as the city’s moving landmarks. A ride in one of these cars can be exhilarating, especially as they run up and down the city’s hills, their bells clattering. It’s also a great way to see the city – you’ll pass by many distinctive neighborhoods. For the best views, sit on the eastern side of the cars, which faces the bay.
The Powell-Hyde line is one of the most popular routes, as it ends near Ghirardelli Square, where you can go for snacks and coffee. The California-Van Ness route is also wellknown.
Built in 1873, the city’s cable car system is the last operating system of its kind in the world. The 1906 earthquake destroyed much of SF’s infrastructure, and by 1912, only three of the lines remained in existence.
While the cars are seen as a tourist attraction, they are a viable means of transport – they’re the easiest way to get to Chinatown, for example.
An all-day pass costs $17. Click here for more tips on riding the cable cars.
- See the city from the Bay
Go on a bay cruise on a clear day and admire the SF skyline from afar. A typical cruise will take you around Alcatraz, right beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and along the Fisherman’s Wharf. Most cruises last 90 minutes.
If you want to explore Alcatraz Island by foot, then board Alcatraz Cruises at Pier 33 near Fisherman’s Wharf. The cruise offers tours of the former prison on the island.
You can also take the ferry to Sausalito, a small, charming town with just 7,500 residents. The waterfront offers stunning views of Alcatraz, the skyline, and the Bay Bridge. You’ll also find an excellent selection of shops and restaurants in town.
Click here for more info on SF bay cruises.
- Enjoy some great food
Explore SF’s restaurant scene. Italian, Greek, Mexican, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Irish are just some of the cuisines you’ll get to try. The local dining scene also caters to different diets – you won’t have trouble finding a good place to eat if you’re on a vegan, vegetarian, organic, or gluten-free diet.
Chez Panisse in Berkeley is widely considered the quintessential Bay Area restaurant. The seasonal menu consists of mouthwatering dishes like spit-roasted farm chicken and risotto with Monterey Bay squid.
- Check out Chinatown
This eight-block stretch is the biggest Chinese community on the West Coast, with distinctive architecture and two major streets lined with herbalist’s shops and tea stores. Explore the back alleys, discover unique shops, and buy one-of-a-kind trinkets.
Stockton Street and Grant Avenue have much to offer tourists and residents alike – check out the local eateries and drop by in time for major holidays like Chinese New Year and the Autumn Moon Festival.
- Lombard Street
Affectionately called “The Crookedest Street,” Lombardo spans a whole block and features a roadway lined with vivid flowers. Come here for something out of the ordinary – its sharp turns will bring mirth to an otherwise mundane day. This SF oddity is quite picturesque, and its quirkiness only adds to the city’s character.
- Golden Gate Park
At 1,070 acres, Golden Gate Park harbors countless attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Visit the de Young Museum, go on a leisurely stroll along Stow Lake, or go aboard the Herschell-Spillman Carousel. Explore the Japanese Tea Garden and admire the landscaping. Other activities include boating and golfing.
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