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Destinations: San Francisco

What to do in San Francisco?:

With flights to the US West Coast at a all time low, now is the time to visit San Francisco. By all means see the Golden Gate Bridge and ride the Cable Cars. But there is so much more . . .

Explore up and down the hills of Chinatown - the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. See the Dragon Gate on Grant Avenue at Bush Street and you'll know you're about to enter this unique neighborhood.

Stroll along the Embarcadero. ATT Park where the San Francisco Giants play is at one end. Stop in the historic Ferry Building. Ferries still come and go from Sausalito and Oakland, but the building is full of boutique food shops and great restaurants. You can walk all the way to the North Beach or Fisherman's Wharf areas or you can take trolleys.Fishermans Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf and the Pier 39 area offer many Bay view restaurants, shops and attractions. It is a touristy area, so hang onto your wallet. Watch the sea lions that lounge on the docks. See the historic ships at the Hyde Street Pier.

Visit they Aquarium of the Bay where you can see marine animals as you walk through 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels. (If you present your transit pass or ticket they will give you a discount.)

Catch a Blue and Gold Fleet boat tour of San Francisco Bay, they offer several including one called "Escape From the Rock" which circles Alcatraz, but does not land on it. The Blue and Gold Fleet also provides ferry service to Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island and Oakland.


Take a tour to Alcatraz. You'll hear all about notorious inmates and attempted escapes from this infamous rock and enjoy stunning views of the city skyline. You should plan this in advance. All access to the island is through a private ferry company under contract with the National Park Service. Tickets frequently sell out up to a week in advance in summer.

The Presidio is a former historic military post. It is now a National Park. It's a great place to hike forest trails and explore. Established by Spanish explorers in 1776, it was an army post for three nations for 218 years. The Main Post's historic buildings house exhibits, and the parade grounds spill down to the water with stunning views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge. That famous orange span is the city's majestic background. You can walk the 3 km to Marin County. Watch boats pass under the bridge 200 feet below and get a great photo op of the city.

See Golden Gate Park, the botanical gardens, the de Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Victorian Conservatory of Flowers; and especially the newly reopened California Academy of Sciences, "the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof." And speaking of roofs, you must have seen pictures of their new "green" roof!

Then come back to the center of the city and take a cable car one more time. You know what Tony Bennet said, "those little cable cars, climb halfway to the stars". A great way to remember San Francisco.

Further ideas on what to do in San Francisco can be found here.


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