When traveling to California, visiting San Francisco is a must. This city has both well-known points of interest, and can easily be placed as the first or last stop on a road trip in the American West.
San Francisco is one of the only American cities to have “a soul”. It is a very European city that will seduce you very quickly. People smile a lot here. Traffic jams tend to be caused by drivers asking the other to go first. It is a city where people are tolerant, open and alternative. Even better for you, San Francisco is on a human scale, at around 10 km², and the traffic isn't as bad as it is in New York or Los Angeles. It is therefore possible to visit San Francisco in just a few days.
Best time to travel to San Francisco
In September or October is the most reliable climate to enjoy with as few people as possible. But if you prefer to have a wide selection of outdoor festivals and events, visiting San Francisco in August and July is the best.
Spring is also a good season, but expect in the afternoon the fog to lift with a cool ocean breeze.
Every May, the “Bay to Breakers” running race is held. Around 75,000 runners tackle this 11.27 km course. The event also turns out to be the biggest party in town.
Alcatraz Prison wasn't always a place people wanted to go, but today it is one of the city's most popular sites, with its mystical image having been romanticized by famous films on the criminals who lived here or tried to escape. Today it is possible to visit Alcatraz, and even without inmates, there is a rather mysterious atmosphere.
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the icons of California, adorning the San Francisco Bay. It is probably the most photographed site in the city, with its orange color, the blue of the water and its two towers sometimes lost between low clouds. The bridge has an interesting history and adds a unique charm to San Francisco.
Located in the heart of the city, this district is probably a shopper's paradise. The Macy’s in this plaza spans on several floors. But it is also the place from which you can borrow the famous cable cars.
The Ferry Building Marketplace
It's a food artisan Marketplace in the historic Ferry Building that brings together the food traditions of the Bay Area.
''The Ferry Building : - Showcase small regional producers that practice traditional farming or production techniques.
- Promote the Bay Area's vast ethnic diversity and serve as an incubator for artisan producers.
- Provide a central location for the promotion of the world-class food and wine producing regions of Northern California.
- Collaborate with local transit authorities to build strong regional ties to the Ferry Building.
- Operate as a community gathering-place for the celebration of local culture and cuisine.''
Learn more about it here : https://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/about/
Cable car ride
Iconic, fun and unique to San Francisco, the Cable Cars are another “moving” icon of the ciry. The famous streetcars were introduced in 1873 to help locals climb the many hills on which the city is built. Today, the few Cable Cars still in service offer tourists a great way to experience the city in a historical way. Since 1964, these trams have long had the distinction of being the only public transport system to be classified as a historic monument. The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines are the most scenic. Cable Cars will take you to major attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, the Ferry Building, Nob Hill, and Lombard Street. If you decide to visit San Francisco for several days, consider purchasing a Pass.
The cable car is definitely an almost 100% tourist attraction. Indeed few locals use it because it is by far not the fastest way to go from point A to point B, but also because of the cost.
This is one of the most touristic and well-known places in SF. Fisherman’s Wharf draws crowds that come to shop, eat and stroll along the docks. There are museums there and there are many options for entertainment.
Golden Gate Park
Bigger than Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park is the city's largest outdoor space. If you go, you might see Dutch windmills, a herd of buffaloes, remote-controlled boats, museums and gardens, and plenty of places to relax or have a picnic. On foot or by bike, you will also see a Japanese garden, a botanical garden or the California Academy of Sciences (museum).
The China Town of San Francisco
Probably the most exotic experience of San Fra! China Town is located north of Union Square and is home to the largest Chinese community (outside of Asia) in the world! There are nearly 120,000 Chinese who live in this neighborhood! It's impressive, once you walk through the famous Dragon Gates you are immersed in what one might think is a whole different city!
The mechanical museum
Another must-see for having a good time with your family and going back in time: the Mechanical Museum! This immense space brings together automatons, mechanics and arcade games that are rare and each more curious than the next. For barely a few cents, The Mystic Eye will reveal your bright future to you...
Photo by : Tae Fuller
Lots of Love, Valerie & Alex