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Amidst its famous fog and endless rolling hills, San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge rises 746-feet into the sky spanning the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Offering unparalleled views of the bay, Alcatraz and the city, pedestrians and bicyclists can cross the 1.7 mile suspension bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County. Almost as famous as the bridge are the hills in which the city is built on. Known originally for its “Seven Hills,” San Francisco actually has 40 plus hills named for each of their surrounding neighborhoods. Whether you see San Francisco on foot or by cable car, come experience all the Bay Area has to offer.
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Embarcadero & North Beach
Steps outside your hotel in San Francisco start your exploration of the city at the popular Embarcadero area. This North Eastern San Francisco neighborhood stretches from Fisherman’s Wharf –famous for the sunbathing and barking sea lions at Pier 39-- all the way south to AT&T Ballpark, home of MLB’s® San Francisco Giants™. While in this district, be sure to stop at the Ferry Building for fresh produce served at weekly farmer’s markets. Stretch your mind at the Exploratorium, a unique museum featuring hands-on, interactive exhibits.
Just a few blocks away, see San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower for sweeping city and bay views. Get the opposite perspective as you walk down nearby Telegraph Hill’s 400 steps. When you reach the bottom, keep a lookout for Wild South American parrots that’ve made the area their home.
Continue west for about a mile on Lombard Street and wind your way down the street’s famous hill with eight hairpin turns packed into one block.
From Lombard Street, make a stop at the Cable Car Museum. Then head to the corner of Grant Avenue and Stockton Street, to explore the largest Chinatown in North America.
At the city center, Union Square is surrounded by chic retail stores, fine art galleries, and top restaurants. Luxury fashion brands and jewelers like Emporio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, make the area one of the world's premier shopping districts. Grab half-priced tickets to off-Broadway shows at the TIX Bay Area booth. Head to the intersection of Powell and Market Street be amazed while watching the 8-ton the Cable Cars turn around.
If your prefer to peruse works of art over clothing racks, you’ll feel right at home in one of Union Square’s galleries boasting works by Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, and Dali. Feel the music at the San Francisco Art Exchange housing prints by famed rock and roll photographers and paintings and drawings by the Rolling Stone’s Ron Wood.
Hop on a cruise to Alcatraz Island, where the old prison looms across the bay on top of “The Rock.” Now a National Park, Alcatraz Island attracts visitors from around the world who come to see where infamous prisoners Al Capone (Scarface) and Robert Stroud (Birdman) once stayed.
The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, once a haven for hippies in the late 1960s, is filled today with high-end restaurants and shopping. Be sure to stop and visit some of the most famous residents of this neighborhood, the “Painted Ladies”. This moniker is used to describe Victorian or Edwardian buildings painted in three or more colors that enhance the architectural elements. You can find these majestic and historical homes in many neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, with the ones found in the Haight-Ashbury being some of the more famous in the city. A trip to this neighborhood may not be complete without taking in a show at the Castro Theater, one of the few remaining moving places in the country.
Golden Gate Park
To the west end of Haight-Ashbury, you will find Golden Gate Park, considered by many visitors as one of the most beautiful parks in America. Stroll the grounds to see the Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest Victorian greenhouse, de Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences.
Have a sweet tooth? Head to Ghirardelli Square, where you can indulge on all the sweets you desire form a decadent ice cream sundae to a rich hot chocolate. Home to the original Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and factory, the square was named to the Register of Historic Places in 1982. Today, it is an ideal stop for oceanfront views, souvenir shopping, and it is just a short walk from Fisherman’s Wharf.
Presidio San Francisco
A short distance north of the Golden Gate Park, is the Presidio district, the gateway to the Golden Gate Bridge. This area is also home to the Palace of Fine Arts, a majestic Greco-Roman palace hosting performing arts events year-round. Hike down the Coastal Trail to Baker Beach for some of the best views of the bridge and Marin Headlands. On a clear day, keep an eye out for porpoises splashing in the bay.
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