Why Go To San Francisco

A jumbled collage of colorful neighborhoods and beautiful views, San Francisco draws those free-spirited types who have an eye for edgy art, a taste for imaginative cuisine and a zeal for adventure. It's really not surprising that songwriter Tony Bennett left his heart here: The city boasts jaw-dropping sights, world-class cuisine, cozy cafes and plenty of booming nightlife venues – there's no shortage of ways to stay busy here. Spend an hour or two sunning yourself alongside sea lions on the bay, admiring the views of the city from Twin Peaks, or strolling along the Marina. And for the quintessential San Franciscan experience, enjoy a ride on a cable car or hop on a boat tour for a cruise beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Often described as Los Angeles' more refined northern cousin, cool and compact San Francisco takes the big-city buzz exuded by its southern counterpart and melds it with a sense of small-town charm. Here, you'll discover a patchwork of culture flourishing throughout San Francisco's many vibrant quarters. Follow the crowds to the touristy Fisherman's Wharf area (which offers spectacular views of Alcatraz) before heading along the bay to the Presidio for a glimpse of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. But don't forget to save time for the Mission District, the Haight and the Castro for exposure to all of the different varieties of the San Francisco lifestyle. And when you're ready for a break from the city, join one of San Francisco's best wine tours for a relaxing day trip.

Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.

San Francisco is ranked as:

  • #1 in Best Places to Visit in California

  • #1 in Best Foodie Cities in the USA

  • #2 in Best Places to Visit in November

  • #4 in Best Weekend Getaways

  • #6 in Best Nightlife Cities in the USA

  • #7 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

  • #6 in Best Fall Vacations

  • #18 in World's Best Places to Visit

Best Things To Do In San Francisco

San Francisco may only stretch across 7 miles, but it's packed with an assortment of activities that's sure to please outdoorsy types, foodies and curious wanderers of all ages. The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see, while a visit to Alcatraz Island to tour the infamous and now closed federal prison should also be high on your list. Instead of spending all your time around the touristy Fisherman's Wharf, you can discover a more authentic side of San Francisco by grabbing a bite at the Ferry Building Marketplace or with a walking tour through the vibrant Castro. And whether it's climbing to the top of Twin Peaks or sauntering through Golden Gate Park, active types and nature lovers will find plenty to love about San Francisco.

San Francisco Travel Tips

  • Bring a jacket - The weather in San Francisco is fickle. Just because it's warm and sunny when you start your day doesn't mean damp fog and brisk winds won't settle in later on.

  • Get ready to hike - San Francisco is built on incredibly large hills. Even if you're taking public transportation or have a car, you're likely to run into a hill at lease once (especially on one of the city's walking tours), so pack the proper footwear.

  • Be mindful of downtown residents - San Francisco not only has one of the largest populations of homeless people in the USA, but the city also has one of the worst drug problems as well. These often coincide and can be seen very clearly in parts of downtown San Francisco. 

  • Take a tour - It can feel overwhelming to try and experience all that San Francisco has to offer. To make the most of your trip, consider signing up for a guided tour. 

  • Plan a day trip - The famous wine regions of Napa and Sonoma sit a little more than an hour north of the city. If you don't have your own set of wheels, book one of San Francisco's best wine tours.

*SOURCE: Information From This Page Can Be Found at U.S. News & World Report
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