San Francisco is a stunning and picturesque city set on the Western Californian coast, and considered an icon of bohemian living and friendliness since the flower power days of the late ´60s. Visitors can marvel at the many large colourful houses that are spread across the city, most featuring elaborate exteriors and impressive murals. The city has a very diverse culture and a wide variety of different lifestyles that are reflected in its many neighbourhoods. The colourful Haight-Ashbury neighborhood hosted the Summer of Love parade in 1967, a phenomenon which was attended by over 100,000 people and that started off an important cultural and political shift in America. This neighbourhood subsequently filled with many art and cultural venues, excellent shopping, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco, the Painted Ladies. The Golden Gate district contains some of the more fashionable neighbourhoods as well as many historical landmarks, most obviously the Golden Gate Bridge. Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco's historical fishing district is seen by many locals as a tourist trap, but it is undeniably a great place to visit and see amazing street entertainers and the sea lion colony off Pier 39, take a boat out to Alcatraz Prison or just enjoy the fresh fish in the many seafood restaurants.
- The Chinese Fortune Cookie is not Chinese at all but was invented by a Japanese immigrant living in San Francisco in 1914!
- This city has some strange laws...it´s illegal to wipe your windshield with underwear, walk your elephant down Market Street unleashed and to beat your rug outside your home!
- San Francisco was originally called Yerba Buena, which means “good herb” in Spanish, after a fragrant mint plant that grows along the shore.
- The famous Cable Car is the only National Historic Monument in the U.S. that actually moves!
- Denim jeans were invented in S.F. as sturdy but comfortable clothing for miners.
Things To DoDue to the city being relatively small, only 6 miles squared, it is easy for visitors to navigate and get in as much sightseeing as they please. Thanks to the hilly nature of the city, it is also easy to get a great view over the bay from one of the elevated vantage points, such as Coit Tower. This tower, at the top of Telegraph Hill, is a gleaming white edifice dedicated to the San Franciscan fire fighters. Wear your walking shoes and bring some energy bars as it´s quite a hike up! San Francisco´s Chinatown is another highlight on the itinerary, being the oldest in the world and with the largest population of Chinese outside of China. Take some time to soak up the culture, taste the great dim sum and possibly even go one step further and fully immerse yourself in the oriental experience by renting an apartment here as your base for your trip.
If you're interested in books, why not visit the City Lights bookstore, an iconic bookstore full of fascinating world literature, poetry and humanities texts, and an important cultural landmark in San Francisco. It is widely known for publishing famous San Francisco poet, Allen Ginsberg’s influential and controversial poetry book “Howl and Other Poems”. While you´re in San Francisco you should take a trip out to Alcatraz, the infamous island prison which can be reached via boat tour. It´s advisable to book in advance though, as especially in high season tours fill up quickly. Another option is to take a harbour tour around the island without landing, which will still give you plenty of opportunities for photographs. San Francisco has a great variety of performing arts on offer, and there is even a Half-Price Ticket Booth in the middle of Union Square which sells tickets for most shows half-price on the day of the performance. Choose from the San Francisco Opera, the Fillmore Auditorium, the Geary and Golden Gate theatres and many more.