Welcome to San Francisco
San Francisco offers a wealth of entertainment, culture and history. It has more restaurants per capita than any other major U.S. city and experienced chefs excel at combining the best of local ingredients with authentic international flavors. Each of San Francisco's major neighborhoods has its own distinct culture and charm — as a very walkable city, you can quickly go from Union Square to Chinatown and within a few minutes find yourself in North Beach. But don’t leave without taking a ride on the world-famous cable cars — every ride offers spectacular views of the city’s celebrated hills.
Whether it's your first time or your next time in San Francisco, there is so much to see and do you may never want to leave. Here's a little inspiration to help plan your trip:
- Fisherman’s Wharf: Fishing boats, sea lions basking in the sun, seafood stalls, steaming crab cauldrons, seafood restaurants, and sourdough French bread bakeries … you know you’re in world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf. Souvenir shops and historic ships add to the atmosphere. The historic F-Line streetcar and two cable car lines terminate in the area and sightseeing boats and boat charters link to Alcatraz ("The Rock"), Angel Island and other points around San Francisco Bay.
- North Beach: North Beach, rich in Italian heritage, compresses cabarets, jazz clubs, galleries, inns, family-style restaurants and gelato parlors into less than a square mile. A perfect spot for cappuccino in the morning, North Beach is transformed into one of San Francisco's most electric playgrounds by night; live music and dancing keep the streets swinging. Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill offers amazing views. Thirty local artists painted murals on its ground floor walls in 1933. This hill is also laced with stairways off Filbert and Greenwich streets as well as lush gardens.
- Golden Gate Bridge: Once called "the bridge that couldn't be built," today it is one the seven wonders of the modern world. This magnificent bridge opened in 1937 after a four-year struggle against relentless winds, fog, rocks, and treacherous tides. Spanning 1.7 miles from San Francisco to the Marin headlands, the bridge’s sidewalks are open during the day to pedestrians, including wheelchair users and bicyclists.
- 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. Among the ever-evolving attractions located in the park are the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and the Koret Children’s Quarter.
- Lombard Street: Often called the “crookedest” street in the world, this scenic road on Russian Hill features tight turns, fragrant gardens, and beautiful views of the bay, Alcatraz, and Coit Tower.
- Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz was the site of the first lighthouse in the Western United States but became a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963, housing famous convicts such as Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Now, this once infamous prison island is part of the Bay Area’s 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A visit to the island includes a tour of the cell house where visitors can see where the prisoners lived.
- Yerba Buena Gardens: An award-winning public facility at the heart of San Francisco’s downtown cultural district, Yerba Buena Gardens features a children’s garden, public art, museums, a historic carousel, ice-skating, and bowling.
- The Cable Car Museum: Located in the Washington-Mason powerhouse and carbarn on Nob Hill, the Cable Car Museum overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables for San Francisco’s famous trams. It also features three antique cable cars from the 1870s, photographs, mechanical displays, and gift shop.