Featured Photo: Joonyeop Baek via Unsplash
Everything you need to know about visiting San Francisco.
No city in the world is quite like San Francisco. It rose from the ashes of the devastating 1906 Earthquake and Fire to host the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition with the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts as a symbol of its rebirth. Today, “The City” attracts over 25 million visitors annually while cooling fog keeps temperatures mild.
Start your day by hopping on a cable car and riding it past bustling Union Square with world-class shopping, to the edge of San Francisco Bay. It’s then a short walk to the always-popular Pier 39, favored by tourists and a colony of sea lions. About a mile offshore is Alcatraz, a former federal penitentiary and a perennial hot ticket — be sure to book it in advance. The Exploratorium, a Science, Art and Human Perception Museum, is a few blocks south at Pier 15.
Vertigo, Bullitt, Dirty Harry movies, and TV’s The Streets of San Francisco, have kept The City in the public eye for decades. It’s built on 48 hills, including Russian Hill’s Lombard Street, which features eight exciting hairpin turns. A few blocks east is North Beach, with dozens of outdoor Italian restaurants like Tony’s Pizza Napoletana and Sotto Mare. One neighborhood over is the largest Chinatown in North America for outstanding dim sum, Mandarin and Szechwan cuisine.
San Francisco also houses 36 Michelin Star restaurants, including Atelier Crenn, Benu, and Quince. Trendy new restaurants include Hinoya Curry SF, Jaranita SF Peruvian Rotisserie, and The Tailor’s Son. Tartine Bakery with wood-fired breads and audacious pastries pays homage daily to The City’s sourdough bread legacy.
Another day, visit sprawling Golden Gate Park and a new attraction, the SkyStar Wheel.
The California Academy of Sciences offers an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum. Ten-minutes by car north is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, connecting SF to the North Bay. Park and walk the mile-long span for great city and bay views. Or drive across the longer Bay Bridge to reach the East Bay. Sports fans can catch a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park or Golden State Warriors at Chase Center.
San Francisco was defined by “The Gold Rush” — which created a population boom from 1,000 to 25,000 by December 1849 — and by the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, which left 200,000 homeless. It rose from the ashes to host the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition with the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts as a symbol of its rebirth. The City grew over the decades as a financial, fashion, food, shipping, and tech center. It’s now home to nearly 875,000 people, and attracts over 25 million visitors annually while cooling fog keeps temperatures mild. We have gathered an assortment of posts to help make your time here as good as it can be.