The city of San Francisco is split into several areas, each of which have their own way of life, attractions and things to do. Here are the main things you should know about each one and what there is to do there:
Downtown is the main hub of the city and as a result is one of the busiest parts of it. Getting their is easy enough – you can take a bus or if you are feeling energetic it is possible to walk their from almost any other area of the city in around 30 minutes – remember how steep the roads are in San Francisco! The funnest way to get there, if you are coming from Fisherman’s Wharf, is by the world famous cable car.
The main part of Downtown is Union Square, which is a shopper’s paradise. All of the big hitters are here, including many of the famous New York department stores, such as Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue. There are also a lot of hotels in the area and you can find a good bargain as the prices are generally lower here than in other parts of the city.
This area is the tourist mecca and is a lot of fun despite its somewhat tacky facade. The area lines the ocean front and it is here that you’ll find the ferry to Alcatraz Island (at Pier 33) and the world famous Pier 39, where the adorable sea lions have taken up residence.
There are so many things to see and do here, it is hard to know where to start but you should definitely grab a bowl of clam chowder from one of the many restaurants and enjoy all the fun of the fair at Pier 39. You can also find loads of places here to hire a bike to ride over to the Golden Gate Bridge. The main thing to do though is enjoy yourself and admire the amazing views over The Bay.
As is usually the case with China Towns, this area is extremely busy and has a fabulous bustling atmosphere. It is quite a big area and the streets are lined with hundreds upon hundreds of shops selling all manner of wares and restaurants where you can grab a reasonably cheap bite to eat at any time of the day.
The entrance to the area is marked by a Chinese arch way that makes a great photograph. The arch way is typically ornate and has a Confucious saying emblazoned across the top of it.
I loved Nob Hill. It is a great place to walk around. It is one of the poshest areas of San Francisco and the houses show this. There are some really huge ones. It isn’t quite the high society area it once was, but you can still see how it would have been in some of the fabulous architecture in the area.
-Golden Gate Park-
At three miles long and almost half a mile wide, the Golden Gate Park is one of the largest man made parks in the world and it is a lovely place to while away a sunny afternoon. There are lots of things to see here, not least the amazing gardens which include the Japanese Tea garden (where the fortune cookie is said to be invented), a rose garden and a rhododendron dell which are all very pretty. If you want to be more active, you can join the thousands of cyclists and skaters who always fill the parks pathways. The park is also home to the massive California Academy of Sciences complex which is home to a living rainforest containing, amongst other things, a 210,000 gallon aquarium, an alligator swamp and 38,000 animals from around the globe.
So whatever you want to do in San Francisco, there is surely an area to do it – you can enjoy nature, amazing views, the fun holiday spirit and a shopper’s paradise all in one great city.