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Overview

San Francisco Travel

San Francisco, founded in 1776, is the 14th most populous city in America, with a population of 744,500 people, making it one of the most densely inhabited cities in the country. The city, which is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, has a population of about 7.3 million people, who are diverse and cosmopolitan. San Francisco sits on the tip of the Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and The Golden Gate to the north. Today, the city is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, with numerous well-known attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Cable Cars, Alcatraz Island, China Town, and Coit Tower to see.

San Francisco City Skyline with the Transamerica Pyramid
San Francisco Skyline with the Transamerica Pyramid

The territory of San Francisco was occupied around 3000 BC, according to archaeological findings. When the Spanish exploration party arrived in November 1769, the Ohlone people’s Yelamu clan lived in a number of small communities. The San Francisco earthquake, which struck at 5:11 a.m. on April 18, 1906, is a significant event in the city’s history. Buildings and homes all over the city shook, resulting in fires that burned the city for several days. Nearly three-quarters of the city was destroyed, displacing nearly 400,000 people. The majority of the refugees sought temporary shelter on beaches and in Golden Gate Park, but many relocated to the East Bay permanently.

History

The location of San Francisco, California, at the entrance of a vast natural port, has affected the city’s history and growth as a center of marine trade. San Francisco refers to both the city and the county, which are located within the same geographic area. Following the 1849 gold rush, the city soon grew to become the largest and most important population, commercial, naval, and financial center in the American West. In 1906, a massive earthquake and fire wreaked havoc on San Francisco, but it was rapidly rebuilt.

San Francisco’s Federal Reserve Branch opened in 1914, and the city grew into a significant commercial center over the first half of the twentieth century. San Francisco rose to prominence as the epicenter of the hippie movement in the second half of the 1960s. In recent decades, San Francisco has established itself as a major financial and technological hub. Because of its proximity to Silicon Valley and limited housing supply, the city has become one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. In the Global Financial Center Index, San Francisco is currently rated 16th.

What makes San Francisco a special travel destination?

With its lovely Victorian mansions and charming neighborhoods, San Francisco has a European feel about it. I enjoy the variety of neighborhoods, each one unique and representative of the people who live there. I like that it’s not a big city; you can walk pretty much anywhere (despite the hills), and you’ll find everything you need: the greatest shops, an international airport, large parks, and even a beach.

San Francisco California Victorian homes
San Francisco, CA

Everyone is familiar with the hills, cable cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The lovely City by the Bay, on the other hand, is home to a plethora of fascinating oddities.

San Francisco Travel: – Best Hotels

It’s amazing how much a decade can change things. San Francisco used to be controlled by a small number of hotels. There is no longer a scarcity of choices; rather, the city caters to a wide range of aesthetics, amenities, and price points. Historic sites with monthly wine tastings, modern and eco-friendly establishments with private patios, and even one with its own in-house robot (what else would you expect with Silicon Valley next door). We’ve taken a close look at each one, taking into account everything from the linens to the lobby, to compile this list of the top hotels in San Francisco.

Hotel Drisco – San Francisco
Hotel Drisco – San Francisco

2901 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94115

Even though it’s in Pacific Heights, it has the air of a country retreat
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The St Regio – San Francisco
The St Regio – San Francisco

125 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States 

It is a luxury boutique-style hotel located in an ideal location
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Taj Campton Place – San Francisco
Taj Campton Place – San Francisco

340 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108, United States

The Taj Campton Place seems like a luxury apartment building on
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Intercontinental – San Francisco
Intercontinental – San Francisco

888 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States 

At Fifth and Market Streets in SOMA, the InterContinental is a gigantic blue glass edifice
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hotel nikko lobby san francisco
Hotel Nikko – San Francisco
Hotel Nikko – San Francisco

222 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA

The Nikko is a Japanese hotel, and its design reflects that. The rooms and public spaces were updated in 2017, with a quiet and relaxing blue and white tone
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phoenix hotel san francisco
The Phoenix Hotel – San Francisco
The Phoenix Hotel – San Francisco

601 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA

Since it functioned as a hangout for classic rock bands playing at The Fillmore in the 1950s, this 1950s motor lodge has been a magnet for the cool crowd. In San Francisco’s Tenderloin – READ MORE


Restaurants

COVID-19 Disclaimer: We are working hard to keep our listings as up-to-date as possible (deliveries, outdoor dining, etc.), but given the evolving nature of local COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend double-checking the information in this guide with any business you plan on visiting. Also, please note that we have not vetted any businesses listed within our guides for their compliance with applicable safety regulations.


Haye Valley Resturants

The Davies Symphony Hall (201 Van Ness Ave.), the SF Jazz Center (201 Franklin St.), and the Sydney Goldstein Theater (275 Hayes St.) are all within walking distance of each other, therefore the eateries in Hayes Valley are usually full. Absinthe(398 Hayes St.) has long attracted culture vultures for its delectable brasserie-inspired dishes, while Chez Maman(401 Gough St.) is known for its delectable burgers and pots of savory mussels. Make a reservation at Hayes Street Grill(320 Hayes St.), a Hayes Valley institution that has been serving fresh, responsibly sourced fish and shellfish since 1979. Note that the restaurant will reopen just in time for the fall arts season after being briefly shuttered.

At A Mano, you may satisfy all of your pasta desires (450 Hayes St.). / Gioia Pizzeria, a newcomer, offers a rosemary ham or asparagus-topped piece (or whole pie) (579 Hayes St.). / Do you want some seriously delicious Chinese-American food classics like General Tso’s chicken, chow mein, and crispy egg rolls? Lazy Susan, founded by Hanson Li and headed by former Mister Jiu’s sous chef Eric Ehler, has you covered. (Fell St., 208.)

Before heading to a delectable dinner at the chic brasserie Monsieur Benjamin(451 Gough St.), from Benu chef Cory Lee, impress a date by partaking in Kim Alter’s lovely Californian-inspired cuisine at Nightbird (330 Gough St., reopening soon for indoor dining; currently offering takeout) or sipping on delightful cocktails at their tiny but super chic adjoining bar Linden Room(330 Gough St., temporarily closed). / Visit The Bird for a delectable free-range fried and gluten-free chicken sando served on freshly baked bread from a local East Bay baker—takeout only (406 Hayes St.)

Petit Crenn, Dominique Crenn’s bistro-style restaurant, serves more modern French-inspired dishes (609 Hayes St; temporarily closed while the space is being used by Rethink and Glide to feed those in need.). / The no-dress-code Rich Table(199 Gough St.) offers an imaginative cuisine that tastes as good as it sounds; also, the team’s RT Rotisserie(101 Oak St.) serves excellent chicken and sides for a low price. Petit Crenn, Dominique Crenn’s bistro-style restaurant.

On a cloudy day, head to Nojo Ramen Tavern for a steaming bowl of vegetarian miso or chicken paitan ramen (231 Franklin St.) / Cala (149 Fell St.), with its mezcal cocktails and grilled whole fish tacos, maybe the hippest game in town. (Please note that Cala is temporarily closed as Farming Hope and the new Refettorio SF work together to feed the local community.) / Bring a group to Papito for a boisterous meal with more tacos, as well as plenty of chips, guac, and margaritas (425 Hayes St.). / Of course, you can’t go wrong with oysters and a focaccia-wrapped lunchtime burger at the legendary Zuni Cafe (1658 Market St.).


Activities – San Francisco Travel

San Francisco may just be 7 miles long, but it’s jam-packed with activities that will appeal to outdoorsy types, foodies, and curious wanderers of all kinds. The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see, and a tour of the infamous and now-closed federal prison on Alcatraz Island should also be on your itinerary. Instead of spending all of your time at the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf, have a bite to eat in the Ferry Building Marketplace or take a walking tour through the colorful Castro. Active types and nature lovers will find enough to enjoy San Francisco, whether it’s climbing to the summit of Twin Peaks or strolling around Golden Gate Park.

Here goes a list of the top 5 things not to miss in San Francisco.

Take a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge.

With its majestic 1.7-mile span, the Golden Gate Bridge, the world’s most recognized bridge, manages to wow even the most seasoned travelers. Every day, around 120,000 autos pass over it. A pedestrian walkway allows pedestrians to cross the bridge, and bikes are permitted on the western side. The Golden Gate Bridge is claimed to be one of the most photographed structures on the planet, so grab your camera.

pedestrians taking a stroll across the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
Stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge

Take a Cable Car Ride

Since the late 1800s, people have used cable cars to get around San Francisco. The cars travel along three routes on tracks and are propelled by a subterranean cable. From blocks away, their familiar bells can be heard clanging. At the cable car turnarounds at the extremities of each route, tickets ($8) can be purchased. Each one-way ride will offer breathtaking vistas of the city’s famous hills as well as a thrilling ride.

Cable car in the streets of San Francisco
Cable Car Ride in San Francisco

Check out the Sea Lions

PIER 39, a lively waterfront marketplace that is one of the city’s most famous attractions, is located at Fisherman’s Wharf. Visitors crowd the neighboring railing to observe the antics of a group of California sea lions that have taken up home on the docks of the PIER 39 Marina. The San Francisco Dungeon and Madame Tussauds, the Museum of 3D Illusions, the Cartoon Art Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, historic Boudin Bakery, and multiple favorite food options, including crab vendors selling walk-away crab and shrimp cocktails, are all within a short walk from there.

Sea Lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco
Pier 39 – Sea Loins

Attend a Festival Outside

Outdoor festivals are a popular activity for people of all ages in San Francisco. During the summer, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival hosts dining, shopping, and cultural events for the entire family. The Stern Grove Festival, which has been a San Francisco institution since 1938, is a free outdoor music festival that has included acts such as The Doobie Brothers, Talib Kweli, and others. Every October, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival takes place in Golden Gate Park.

Visit the Presidio of San Francisco

What was formerly a military base is now a national park and a National Historic Landmark District, famous for its natural beauty, art and culture, and more. If you’re traveling to San Francisco with children, don’t miss The Walt Disney Family Museum, which features interactive displays and Disney memorabilia.


Kids interest 

San Francisco travel tips

San Francisco has earned an excellent reputation for its steep rolling hills, pastel-painted Victorians, cable cars, and iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and is known around the world as a first-rate destination. But the city is also a family paradise, with a long list of kid-friendly attractions that go far beyond the usual tourist traps.

  •  Bay Area Discovery Museum 

You will have to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get to this children’s museum and trust me when I say it’ll be worth it.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum, located in Sausalito on the bay, offers a variety of hands-on, indoor/outdoor experiences for children ages 6 months to ten years.

Lookout Cove, a 2.5-acre outdoor area with tide pools, gravel pits, fishing boats, shipwrecks, caves, and spider web installations, is not to be missed.

Bay Area Discovery Museum – San Francisco
  • Aquarium of the bay

This massive aquarium, located on the waterfront at PIER 39, will appeal to children of all ages. More than 20,000 marine animals, including sharks, rays, octopus, jellyfish, river otters, and others, will be on display.

  • Coit Tower

This 210-foot white concrete tower nestled into the summit of Pioneer Park may be on a lot of tourist bucket lists, but trust us when we say your kids will love it as much as you do.

The tower may be reached via an elevator and offers spectacular 360-degree views of the city. Check out the murals depicting California life during the Great Depression inside the tower’s base.

  • Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center 

Lucas Film is housed at the Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center in the Presidio.

The life-size Yoda sculpture and Star Wars costumes in the foyer will delight Star Wars fans, and the center’s surrounding grounds (equipped with meadows, a lagoon, and sitting spots) are a great site for a picnic.

  • City lights bookstore

The first all-paperback bookstore in the United States and the cradle of the Beat movement, City Lights Bookstore has been an institution in the literary community of San Francisco since 1953.

However, there is a fantastic children’s book section, which is especially useful if you want to introduce your children to the literature on social justice and activism.


Beaches and Hikes 

  1. For youngsters of all ages, the Children’s Creativity Museum offers a hands-on journey. Kids aged 5 and up can use their Animation Studio to build their own clay characters and bring them to life on screen. The Imagination Lab is a fun place for kids ages 3 to 6 to imagine, create, and share. The Music Studio will appeal to musically oriented children aged 3 and up.
  2. The Batteries to Bluffs Trail is a 3.5 kilometre widely traveled circular trail near San Francisco, California that features lovely wildflowers and is suitable for hikers of all abilities. The route is open year-round and offers a variety of activities. Route type Loop Length 3.5 km Elevation gain 137 m
  1. From this medium-sized beach at San Francisco’s north end, the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge may be seen to the east. On the west slope, multimillion-dollar homes can be found. Because Baker Beach faces north, it is protected from some of the worst waves that reach Ocean Beach. The weather isn’t always ideal for stripping down to a bikini or board shorts, but it’s a wonderful, less crowded beach worth visiting.
  2. Muir Beach is located west of Muir Woods National Monument, which is home to many hundred-year-old, 250-foot-tall old-growth redwoods. Muir Beach is also a fantastic destination for wildlife lovers, as it contains wetlands, a lagoon, and dunes in a cove carved out of the Marin Headlands. Take in the vista of the Pacific Ocean from the Muir Beach Overlook, then stop by the Pelican Inn for a bite in the afternoon.

SPECIALITY

PALM CITY WINE

Palm City’s wine list is meticulously curated by the former wine director of Nopa. The hoagies (warning: they’re big) are what attracts San Franciscans in droves. Palm City is a wine shop, a wine bar, a sandwich shop, and a restaurant that specializes in small dishes. It’s essentially an Outer Sunset gathering spot bursting with positive energy. Let’s return to the wine for a moment: Palm City’s list is unique, filled with small producers dedicated to biodynamic and organic principles (such as the Italians at Castel Del Piano in Tuscany).

Epicurean Traders

San Francisco’s leading gourmet market, The Epicurean Trader, focuses on small-batch, artisanal products. They have everything a “foodie” might desire, including small-batch wines, artisan spirits and beer, farmstead cheeses, charcuterie, gourmet chocolates, oils and vinegar, and a diverse selection of specialty pantry products. 

To sum it up

San Francisco is an intriguing city to visit, known for its counter-culture roots, eclectic music scene, innovative tech businesses, rising immigration populations, and breathtaking views. It’s all about the outdoors and the food for me when I visit San Francisco. You come here to eat some of the best Asian food in the country, unwind in a laid-back cafe, and then spend the day lounging in the parks.

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