San Francisco, Saint Francis for Spanish, is the perfect center where culture mingles with commerce with ease. It has rich streetscapes that allow people to take long walks making it the second most walkable city. The streets are lined up with restaurants, boutiques, stores that cater to both the locals and the tourists. The active environmental community of San Francisco has put the city on the global map by taking up recycling programs, solar projects and many more.
San Francisco as a Tourist Attraction
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San Francisco is tempting for the wanderlust in all of us. It offers a full package to the tourists of all kinds by offering loads of activities both outdoor and indoor. The place is also for the foodies with various cuisines along with seafood. The city can be considered as the jewel of Northern Carolina with hills surrounded by mighty oceans. The most beautiful city has lots to offer- from museums to historical architectures, parks and beaches and amazing nightlife.
Best Destinations to visit in San Francisco
The San Francisco destinations are unique in their own way to allure wanderlust travelers from all over the world. Some of the must visits are listed below:
Golden Gate Bridge
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The Golden Gate Bridge is by far the most photogenic place in the city. This California icon graces the San Francisco Bay where the orange-hued structure is surrounded by water. The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco with other counties. It is a sight to behold. Designated as the greatest man-made sight this bridge was inaugurated on May 28th, 1937. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world that took around four years to complete. The bridge has walkways on either side and is open to the pedestrians and the cyclists. Biking across the bridge to the waterfront of Sausalito is a special hobby for the locals.
In order to photograph the bridge along with a stunning view, one must know about the different vantage points present especially for the photographers. From the San Francisco side, the posh Nob Hill offers some breathtaking views over the bridge. On the Marin County side, Golden Gate National Recreation Area is another notable spot.
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The prison located on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay is a witness to many historical events. The Alcatraz penitentiary is considered as one of the most infamous prisons of America. It was fully functional for about thirty years, finally closing down in 1963. However, it was reopened as a tourist attraction in the year of 1973. Some of the well-known criminals, including Al Capone, were inmates of this prison house.
A ferry ride will take the tourists to the island tour where an audio recording will enlighten you about the lives of the prisoners rather than historical facts. The narrative is most probably done by the former prisoners and guards of the penitentiary.
With due course of time, the island is now home to a lot of seabirds. So along with witnessing the novelty of a former prison, nature lovers and bird watchers are drawn to this place too. It is better to go for a guided tour and advance booking is recommended.
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Fisherman’s Wharf is an old busy section of San Francisco. One of the most popular tourist destination, Fisherman’s Wharf is a good place to start your tour. Known as Little Italy, it hosts numerous shops, restaurants and seating arrangements along the waterfront. Though this place is always bustling, it is a good place for a nice evening stroll to have a genuine taste of the city.
Major attractions of this place include Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the Ghirardelli Square. The San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park has 19th and 20th-century ships that are lined by the waterfront of Hyde Street Pier. It is also home to the USS Pampanito, a WWII submarine, and a national historic landmark.
Golden Gate Park
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The green of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park is considered the lungs of this city. It has museums surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens. The development of this park was not easy as the whole area was covered by arid dunes. Presently, the park is ideal for joggers, walkers, cyclists as they provide a network of walking trails and cycling paths that are lined up with 5,000 different kinds and species of flora. The major spots include the California Academy of Sciences Museum with Steinhart Aquarium, de Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
Travelers may take a few hours to a few days to explore and experience the Golden Gate Park. Bike rentals and local tour guides are available to hit the highlights of the park.
Legion of Honor
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A treat for the art lovers, the California Palace of Legion of Honor is an exquisite museum of the city. The impressive Neoclassical Beaux-Arts building was the gift of a philanthropist and patron of the arts Alma de Bretteville Spreckels. The design of the museum is an exact replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. The museum has a huge collection of European decorative arts, antiquities from the Mediterranean and Near East along with sculptures and paintings of different artists representing different times.
The Legion of Honor museum is situated in a gorgeous golf course and coastal woodlands that makes it a wonderful place for a leisure walk. Those of you who are seeking an adventurous hike can visit the winding cliffside trail in a wild known as the Land’s End Trail. It has a rugged terrain that offers mesmerizing panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Cable Car Ride
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Though it is not a place to visit, cable cars are considered as the moving landmark of the city. It is unique and iconic to San Francisco. These cars take you up and down the hills giving beautiful views of the entire place. It can add up to the thrill of the whole tour. The cable cars with ringing bells go to a few places and have a huge rush. It is advisable to do a thorough research on the cable car tour guide to find out about the best seats, short queues, and reasonable ticket prices.
Bay Cruise Ride
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The traditional Bay Cruise ride gives you an opportunity to experience San Francisco from far. The cruise ride gives a view of all the major spots from the water including its famous skyline.
It goes around Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge providing a scenic ride to the travelers that totally complete your San Francisco experience. It is an excellent way to rest your feet from walking around the town all day. Most of these bay cruises leave from the docks near the Fisherman’s Wharf.
There is no denying the fact that San Francisco is a major tourist attraction where 26 million people visit each year. It has its share of problems like any big city. Theft is common in San Francisco and travelers should be very cautious and careful about their belongings. Pickpocketing is an issue in the crowded neighborhoods. Some areas have a good number of homeless junkies that can be aggressive at times. With all it’s potential dangers, San Francisco will still be in every wanderlust travelers’ list.