SAN FRANCISCO HOLIDAYS

Lose your heart in this beautiful city

San Fransisco

San Francisco is widely considered to be one of America’s hippest, most diverse and forward-thinking cities. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that San Fran’s fabled Silicon Valley is home to the HQs of numerous tech giants including Google, Apple, AirBnB, Uber and Twitter. Of course, there’s much more to San Francisco than the techy side of things.
This amazing place is known for a fog which brings an eerie beauty to the area and cool winds that create a pleasant climate where you can marvel at steep hills and iconic trams. San Francisco holidays have a bit of something for everyone, from the vibrant surfing community of the Bay Area and the spectacular sight that is the fabled Golden Gate Bridge to the sounds and flavours of the famous Fisherman’s Warf and the thriving Asian-inspired town markets.

It’s no longer the done thing to pitch up in San Francisco wearing flowers in your hair but it’s still the hippest city on earth. The broadest-minded. The most laid back. A crucible hotching with cultures. It’s a city known for its fog and cool winds, its steep hills and trams, its Chinatown and its Victorian houses, and its famous Dungeness crab found in restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. Known also for its vibrant surfer community and Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a place to walk in footsteps. It’s synonymous with Counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement, Gay Rights, Whole Earth, the Human Potential Movement and the dotcom boom. The worlds of computing and social media have made San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley a leading tech destination. The HQs of Apple, Google, Airbnb, Twitter and Uber are all here. From the City Lights Bookshop to Haight Ashbury to The Filmore, where Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead first played, San Fran or Frisco is a place where happenings happen. Ideas blossom. And freedom is tangible. Or maybe just another word for nothing left to lose!

One of San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions, Fisherman’s Wharf is home to the famous Pier 39, one of the best-known fishing spots in all of America. However, it is much more than a fishing spot as Pier 39 is essentially a town unto itself, with all sorts of attractions including an eye-catching two-story carousel, a video game arcade, an aquarium and a fully stocked shopping mall with all sorts of shops and restaurants. There’s even a large population of Californian sea lions which appeared in Fisherman’s Wharf mysteriously in the late 1980s. To this day, they frequent the floating docks near Pier 39, much to the delight of visiting tourists.

Both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Alcatraz prison island (AKA ‘the Rock’) can be seen from Fisherman Wharf’s Pier 39 and cruises operate from the pier to them both on a daily basis. With so much to see and do at Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s literally a full week’s worth of activities to engage in. So much so in fact, that you can purchase a 7-day pass which includes access to all of the main attractions that Pier 39 has to offer.

For further Fisherman’s Wharf fun, visit the nearby Pier 45 which is home to many unique attractions, such the magnificent Muée Méchanique, the world’s largest collection of vintage mechanical machinations, and the USS Pampanito submarine which is restored as a boardable maritime museum. With so much to do at Fisherman’s Wharf, it is essentially a holiday unto itself!

For those interested in a shopping holiday, San Francisco’s Union Square fits the bill perfectly. This 2.6-acre plaza is a real shoppers’ paradise, containing no less than six full department stores including the famous Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Barney’s of New York. Union Square is also home to many luxury retailers, such as Gucci, Tiffany’s Jewelers and Louis Vuitton, while some of the world’s biggest brands have chosen to locate their flagship stores here, including Nike, Apple and Victoria’s Secret.

In addition to its lavish shopping opportunities, the Union Square area has numerous other attractions. The nearby blocks are known as designated dining and theatre districts, with many upmarket restaurants and world class shows to choose from. Heavily discounted theatre tickets can be purchased on performance days. The nearby French Quarter is well worth visiting too, with its vast menagerie of chic open-air restaurants and stylish cafes.

Located just northeast of Union Square is San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America, dating back to 1848, and single largest Chinese community outside of Asia. A hugely popular tourist attraction, the San Fran Chinatown draws in more visitors per year than the Golden Gate Bridge. The town contains a great many traditionally styled Chinese stores and restaurants, as well as numerous beautiful parks and sublime looking places of worship to visit. Make the most of your time by booking a Chinatown Walking Tour.

San Francisco also has a very large Japanese contingent (be sure to try the Japantown Food Tour), as well as ties to several other parts of Asia. This rich cultural diversity is celebrated in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Housed within a grand library building, the museum welcomes numerous travelling exhibitions every year and typically contains upward of 17,000 pieces of Asian art, dating back through 6,000 years of history, at any one time.

 

While the very human cultural and historical attractions of San Francisco speak for themselves, visitors shouldn’t overlook the region’s natural beauty, which should be considered an essential element of a San Francisco holiday.

The Muir Woods National Park home to the iconic Redwood trees, which are some of the tallest and oldest trees found on Earth. The tallest in Muir Wood currently stands at over 250 feet tall. These natural wonders are an awe-inspiring sight and standing near them is a one-of-a-kind experience.

For further San Fran outdoor adventures, a day trip to Yosemite National Park is a must. Here you will experience America’s natural splendor in all its glory. Traverse through the Great Central Valley and into the Sierra foothills, where you will see the beauty of the Merced River, the outstanding Sierra Nevada Mountains and the fantastic Yosemite Falls. Guided tours run daily, while visitors can explore the park at their own pace on foot or by bike.

 

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