There’s so much to see and do in San Francisco! It’s really a matter of how much you can squeeze out of your stay. Here’s my collection of essential sights if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in cool, cultured San Fran.
All of that is gold
Golden Gate Park is an urban treasure full of beautiful gardens, lakes and well-kept greenery. You can wander for hours and admire nature’s splendor – and don’t forget to check out the gorgeous Conservatory of Flowers.
Just a short walk from these flowers, you will find a magnificent Japanese Tea Garden with towering bamboo, cherry trees, ancient wisteria and other carefully selected trees and plants, including a collection of beautiful bonsai. For inspiration of a different kind, visit the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum of fine art – the proverbial palace for the mind!
While you’re in the area, make sure you head over to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can even rent some bikes and ride the 2.7 miles for the full experience. It’s truly iconic, awe-inspiring architecture.
San Francisco isn’t quite Hollywood but is arguably the film noir capital of the United States. The fog by the bay provided a haunting setting for several golden era Hollywood films, none more famous than Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Vertigo.
By taking a Vertigo tour, you will experience the hilly and affluent heights of Nob Hill, Scotty’s home at the base of the “Most Crooked Street in the World” (Lombard Street) and Mission Dolores – the oldest surviving building in San Francisco. It includes so many great sights, including the exquisite neo-classical California Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Fort Point military base overlooking the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge.
Speaking of movies – don’t forget to check out ‘The Rock’. The famous federal prison Alcatraz lasted from 1933 to 1963. It is a legendary film location and tourist destination for good reason. Be sure to take the audio tour of this historic site and have a ghost-filled experience. Trust me, the ferry from Pier 33 across the bay is worth it!
To relive a bit of San Francisco’s colorful history, be sure to jump on the tram and explore the colorful neighborhood of Castro, one of the most prominent and vibrant symbols of LGBT culture. While you’re there, catch a movie at the historic Castro Theater, a beautifully restored movie palace built in 1922.
Fashion and food
For more local history head to Haight-Ashbury. Known as a revolutionary hippie mecca of the sixties, the Haight-Ashbury district retains a bit of bohemian culture. And if you’re interested in shopping for vintage garments, this strip is an absolute goldmine!
After shopping, head to Fisherman’s Wharf where you can snack on delicious food from one of the many local restaurants while watching street performers at work. However, as you will soon find out, the sea lions at Pier 39 are the real stars of this San Fran show.
chat with Aviation Center for advice on how to make your San Fran trip unforgettable.
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