San Francisco is a major port city in California that has been featured in many movies and television shows. Known for its comparatively liberal culture, its hilly terrain and numerous Victorian-style houses which survived a massive earthquake over 100 years ago, San Francisco is also an extremely popular tourist destination that provides a wealth of sights and experiences.
The Best Times to Visit San Francisco
It is widely claimed that the autumn is the best time to visit San Francisco. Not only are the temperatures very agreeable, but the changing foliage in many of its nearby parks provide some visually stunning imagery. The spring and summer are popular, but these are also the times when the bulk of tourists will arrive here. So, prices are higher than they would otherwise be and many of the most popular attractions are overwhelmed with visitors from countries as far away as Europe and Asia.
Flying from New York to San Francisco will normally take approximately six hours (assuming that there are no transfers). The principal airport serving the metropolitan area is the San Francisco International Airport. It is located only 10 miles from the downtown district while also being a prominent hub for Virgin America and United Airlines. However, other nearby airports include Oakland International and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International. These are each approximately one hour away from San Francisco. One of the benefits for travelers is that discounted rates are frequently offered by carriers which serve these alternatives (such as Southwest Airlines). However, the transportation time to and from the city should be taken into account. Finally, less non-stop flights are offered to these to when compared to those provided through San Francisco International Airport.
Most who arrive will tend to stay within the northeastern segment of the city; the majority of hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts are found here. Known for its hospitality, the accommodations in San Francisco will suit nearly any budget. Some will prefer to stay at a cheap and yet clean hostel while others opt for more luxurious properties such as Hilton and Marriott hotels. A few other popular areas where themed hotels are found include Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and downtown itself. Many such properties were built immediately after the Great 1906 Earthquake and they offer a unique glimpse into the culture of the surrounding area. A final option is to choose hotels slightly outside of the city, as these offer more amenable rates. Some locations include San Bruno, Brisbane and Melbrae.
Top Things to do in San Francisco
Chinatown is a must-see attraction when visiting this unique city. Tracing its history back to the days of the California gold rush, Chinatown is very literally a country within a city. The people here tend to be quite friendly (if not very polite and reserved). There are numerous festivals held here and the foods are as delectable as they are exotic. For those who wish to make Chinatown a stop during their visit, it is a good idea to purchase what is known as a CityPASS. This will enable tourists to take advantage of public transportation systems.
The Golden Gate Bridge is the most recognizable landmark here and likewise should never be missed. Not only are wonderful panoramic views of the city offered, but a foot path will enable anyone to get an up-close-and-personal view of this majestic engineering marvel. This is also an ideal spot to snap a few pictures before returning to the city proper.
Another option that is enjoyed by many is to take a ride in one of the cable cars which ascend up the hilly streets (perhaps made famous by the Rice-A-Roni commercials above all). These cars will often run directly alongside the iconic Victorian houses which were largely spared from the aforementioned earthquake. These cars run between Market Street and Fisherman’s Wharf. The CityPASS will also be valid on these cars. These are an absolute must-see attraction for countless visitors and many cars have actually been in operation for 50 years or even longer.