With its head encased in the clouds, San Francisco offers its visitors glitter, glamour and adventure. San Francisco is a city full of wonders: at every turn, you will be encountered with a new experience, a dazzling sight that will not fail to surprise and delight you.
Thought of by many as California’s crowning glory, San Francisco is situated on a peninsular, 7 miles long and 7 miles wide. Despite being one of the most densely populated cities in the US, San Francisco’s relatively small size means that it is easy to get around, allowing you to delve into its dazzling world of shopping, eating and exploring with ease. San Francisco was established in the late 1700s by Spanish settlers and during its relatively short lifespan, the city has evolved, taking on a range of guises. Today, San Francisco is all things to all people: hipsters, artists, shoppers, architecture enthusiasts, historians, foodies and glamour cognoscenti flock to San Francisco to discover the city’s unique fusion of cultures; something that is at once dazzling yet comfortingly familiar.
Direct flights to San Francisco will bring you to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The airport is about 14 miles from Union Square, and is easily accessible via bus or train.
San Francisco’s weather is slightly cooler and less predictable than the rest of California, which means that, although it experiences warm temperatures, showers are not uncommon. Summer in San Francisco sees hordes of tourists coming for the sights, architecture and climate, while spring and autumn are less busy. The best time to get cheap flights to San Francisco as well as good weather is September-November, when temperatures can be as warm as the summer months, but most tourists have already returned home.
Culture is central to San Francisco’s ethos, infusing everything from its food to its art. Maybe it is something about the climate, the anything-goes feel, but San Francisco seems to bring out the desire for people to express themselves through art and music. The result? Scores of museums and galleries that express and embrace every genre and culture that you can think of. The newly reopened Museum of Modern Art is a must for culture vultures, for here you can see world-class exhibitions. If you want to beat the crowds, wake early and get there when the doors open at 10 a.m. Aside from its museums and art galleries, San Francisco is itself a gallery: a blank canvas upon which its visitors and residents can express themselves. Take a walk through the Mission District, whose walls are covered with graffiti and murals, like an open-air gallery showcasing the broad range of cultures embraced by San Franciscans.
San Francisco is home to the world’s oldest Chinatown, 24 blocks of US-Chinese architecture, bustling with spices, curio shops, temples, markets and small museums. When you enter through the “Dragon’s Gate” you are likely to recognise the scene from countless Hollywood films. Here, you can immerse yourself in the streets, drifting with the crowds into shops, stalls and restaurants, and absorbing the ancient feel of the Original Chinatown. Of course, a trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without seeing the most famous bridge in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and transports an estimated 120,000 vehicles every day. It was thought that building a bridge between San Francisco and the mainland was impossible, but builders battled against the elements, finally completing the structure in 1937; the bridge remained the world’s longest suspension bridge for more than 30 years. Prior to the building of the bridge, San Francisco was accessible only by boat, the bridge opened a whole new world of possibilities, allowing the mainland and San Franciscan communities to draw closer, share cultures and discover exciting new possibilities. It is possible to walk along the bridge; a feat that will reward you with that once-in-a-lifetime feel, as well as spectacular views. Another structural achievement for which San Francisco is world-famous is the Cable Car, completed by A.S. Hallidie in 1873. Straight out of a black-and-white movie, the cable car was made a National Historic Landmark in 1964. The cars have, of course, been refurbished and restored since 1873, but their machinations remain the same as they were 150 years ago, and they bear an old-world lustre that take you back in time. Situated in the centre of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz island was initially the sight of the first lighthouse on the Pacific Coast. In 1934 it became a federal prison, and held some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone. Also known as “The Rock”, Alcatraz was closed permanently in the 1963 – despite numerous attempts, no prisoner ever managed a successful escape from Alcatraz. Much of the prison is still intact, making a tour of Alcatraz’s cells an eerie experience.
With the bountiful Californian wine at its disposal, San Francisco is a fantastic place to explore the wines of the region. Restaurants and bars offer plenty of locally sourced wines, and if one takes your fancy, you can book a wine-tasting tour to discover more about California’s fruitful wine industry. It is true that San Francisco has an almost unlimited choice of restaurants. Either out of necessity bred by competition, or a desire to bring their food to a broader audience, many chefs have turned to manning food trucks purveying all manner of food, from typical Asian fare, to San Franciscan classics, and everything in between. The result is, that you cannot go far in San Francisco without encountering some weird and wonderful delicacy that looks too good (or too novel) to resist. Leave space for your dinner though, as San Francisco’s restaurant scene is one of the best in the world. Here, world-class chefs gather, competing to provide the best fresh, fusion food in the area. Name a country, and you will find incredible, authentic fare: from Italian to Malaysian, Russian to Moroccan, Japanese to French, everything in between and every combination thereof. If you can think it, San Francisco’s innovative, avant-garde, chefs have probably made it. There is no doubt that a trip to San Francisco will be a whirl-wind of architecture, culture, sunshine and relaxing. If you would like help planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip, Travangelo can help you to find cheap flights to San Francisco.