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San Francisco Travel:
One of the nicest things about visiting San Francisco is that, although the city is “big” in terms of attractions and amenities, it is geographically small – only 49 square miles. Consequently, it is very easy to see and do a great many things in a short period of time. It is also easy to spend weeks in San Francisco and still not experience everything the city has to offer.
The Golden Gate Bridge ----- the most famous bridge in the world, manages to impress even the most experienced travelers with its stunning 1.7-mile span. Approximately 120,000 automobiles drive across it every day. A pedestrian walkway also allows the crossing on foot, and bikes are allowed on the western side. The Golden Gate Bridge is said to be one of the most photographed things on Earth.
Cable Cars ----- Cable cars have been transporting people around San Francisco since the late 19th century. The cars run on tracks and are moved by an underground cable on three routes. Their familiar bells can be heard ringing from blocks away. Each one-way ride will provide spectacular views of the city’s celebrated hills as well as exhilarating transportation.
Alcatraz -----the notorious former prison, is located on an island of the same name in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Some of the United States’ most notorious criminals were incarcerated there. Though several tried, no inmate ever made a successful escape from “The Rock.” The prison was closed in the 1960’s and stories about Alcatraz are legendary. A visit to Alcatraz today is fascinating. Recorded cell-house tours are available, allowing visitors to learn about the prison as they explore the buildings and grounds. To reach the island, take an Alcatraz Cruises ferry from Pier 43.
Fisherman's Wharf is also home to Pier 39, a festive waterfront marketplace that is one of the city’s most popular attractions. A community of California sea lions has taken up residence on the floats to the west of the pier and visitors line the nearby railing to watch their antics. From there it’s a short walk to the Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the famous crab vendors selling walk-away crab and shrimp cocktails.
North Beach the city’s Italian quarter, isn’t a beach at all. It’s a neighborhood of romantic European-style sidewalk cafes, restaurants and shops centered near Washington Square along Columbus and Grant avenues. The beautiful Church of Saints Peter and Paul is a beloved landmark. Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill offers a splendid vantage point for photos of the bridges and the Bay. Inside the tower, floor-to-ceiling murals painted in the 1930s depict scenes of early San Francisco.
Union Square ----- The attraction for serious shoppers, the hub of San Francisco's downtown retail district features elegant stores and richly appointed shops that cater to every taste and do it with style. It's Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive, State Street and local success stories all in one.
Mission District -----Named for Mission Dolores founded in 1776, San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood has some of its hottest new restaurants and galleries.
Castro/Upper Market ----- Sweeping views and grand Victorians, pride of place and person coalesce in an area embracing the “gay capital of the world” also known for village-like shopping enclaves.
Golden Gate Park -----One of the largest urban parks in the world, Golden Gate Park stretches for three miles on the western edge of San Francisco.
There’s not a single “Keep Off the Grass” sign and its 1,017 acres are a tonic for mind and body. Two major museums, splendid gardens and facilities for more than 20 sports confirm that this is a playground in every sense of the word.
Completely restored in 2003, the Conservatory of Flowers was erected in 1879 and is the oldest surviving wood and glass greenhouse in the U.S. From Borneo to Bolivia, the 1,750 species of plants at the Conservatory represent tropical flora from more than 50 countries.
One of the most beautiful public gardens in the U.S., San Francisco Botanical Gardens covers 55 acres and features more than 7,000 kinds of plants including outstanding geographical collections and unique specialty gardens as well as the most extensive botanical reference library in the U.S. Docent-led walks of the 17 extraordinary gardens are offered daily.
The new California Academy of Sciences combines inventive architecture and eye opening exhibits to inspire visitors to explore and protect the natural world. A museum for the 21st century, the Academy includes an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and scientific research facilities under one roof — a living one at that.