San Francisco: The Golden Gate City

Of all of California?s many highlights one city stands proud as one of its best. San Francisco is arguably the most loved of California?s tourist spots. Why is this?

Well, whereas L.A. is wide and sprawling, San Francisco is smaller and more accessible. Its core lies in Union Square with its bustling atmosphere, great stores and theatres. Further afield, the hills of San Francisco can easily be explored by foot. Other outdoor highlights include the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with its beautiful trails. Yet, it is San Francisco?s cultural highlights for which it is perhaps most renowned. Check out the architecture of the City Hall?s dome, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or the wonderful Palace of Fine Arts to get a sense of the variety on offer. Of course, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a view of the Golden Gate Bridge or exploration of Fisherman?s Wharf. Another must-see is Alcatraz. A tour of the former prison should be completed, if only to hear the chilling tales of some of its inhabitants. Kids will love Pier 39 or the Exploratorium, home to amazing scientific experiments.

San Francisco is similar to New York in that both have a number of neighbourhoods, all of which are very different in character. Each offers their own slice of San Francisco. The Castro is San Francisco?s gay neighbourhood and is renowned for its trendy stores and nightlife. North Beach is the Italian area and, unsurprisingly, boasts some of the best restaurants of the area. Other highlights include Chinatown and Japantown.

Once San Francisco had a reputation for hugely expensive accommodation and meals. Thankfully, this is no longer still the case and prices have come down somewhat.

San Francisco is both welcoming and impressive, an unlikely combination these days. Enjoy!