Your print-out-and-keep guide to San Francisco
Why? It won’t take long for San Francisco to steal your heart, with its chic cafés, stylish shops and fascinating landmarks. This sunny bayside city possesses all the vibrancy and excitement of L.A., without its pretentiousness and seedy underbelly. Whatever you do, you won’t want to leave – it’s certainly more love affair than whirlwind romance.
Getting around? The health conscious will feel compelled to run, cycle, roller-blade or, at the very least, walk briskly while exploring. But with such hilly terrain, you’ll be forgiven for taking the cable car, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system or the bus.
The upside to such steep inclines though, is the wonderful panoramic views of the beautiful bay on a clear day. It also makes for interesting cab rides and traffic jams.
What to see? Although Fisherman’s Wharf at the historic waterfront is a tourist hotspot, it can’t be omitted from any trip. From here, you can hire a pushbike and cycle over the city’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most photographed in the world and an image synonymous with the city itself. Even on a sunny day, bring an extra layer of clothing – when the bridge is shrouded in fog, the temperature can be deceptively low. If you’re feeling energetic, ride on to the picturesque suburb of Sausalito, where you can feast on ice cream before heading back on the ferry to the wharf’s famous Pier 39, where sea lions can be seen basking in the sun. It’s also where ferries set off, bound for Alcatraz (www.alcatraztickets.com), the infamous US prison located on an island in the middle of the bay. Villains such as the notorious gangster Al Capone were housed in its cells and, to experience it at its most eerie, pay a visit at night.
Where to eat? Enjoy a seafood supper at The Eagle Café (www.eaglecafe.com), among the local sailors, fishermen and dock workers. Dishes include hot crab melt, oven roasted shrimp and white clam chowder. The eatery, opened in 1928, also has an oyster bar.
Where to shop? There’s always time to squeeze in a little shopping, so visit Union Square for department stores and boutiques or go further afield to Upper Haight for more quirky items.
Where to stay? Hotel Bijou is inspired by San Francisco’s rich cinematic history and boasts a mini movie theatre in the lobby. For details visit www.jdvhospitality.com.
Need to know? For more information on visiting San Francisco log onto www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.