GMT -8 hours
Revel in rich history, vibrant nightlife, fine dining and iconic attractions.
Discover San Francisco, northern California's beautiful 'City by the Bay'. Visit the picturesque harbour and infamous prison island of Alcatraz, and journey to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Marvel at the street entertainers of Fisherman's Wharf, stroll through Lombard Street - the 'crookedest street in the world' - and explore colourful, vibrant Chinatown.
Take a stroll along the Embarcadero from Ferry Plaza to Fisherman's Wharf. Along the way, wander up Pier 7 to chat to the local crab fishermen whilst taking great shots of the Bay Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid. Pass Pier 33 where you can head to Alcatraz, play with the seals who hang out at the end of Pier 39, stop off at Sally's on Pier 41 to eat a sublime Fishwich and indulge your inner child on the Whirly Bird at the Musée Mécanique on Fisherman's Wharf.
Alex Johnson, Store Manager, Kingston
One of America’s most-loved cities, San Francisco has a rich history – the area was first sighted by Sir Francis Drake in 1579, it was the centre of the California Gold Rush of 1849 and a Sixties hotspot. Known as the ‘City by the Bay’, today this fascinating northern Californian destination is famous for its bayfront setting, destination neighbourhoods, buzzing nightlife and, of course, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. From a bustling downtown to scenic parks and pristine beaches, San Francisco boasts a variety of landscapes just waiting to be explored. And it’s easy to get around; choose from buses, trains, bicycle routes, ferries, GoCars and the historic cable cars.
Historic Fisherman’s Wharf is home to a thriving waterfront community where many local anglers descend from generations of fishermen. Spot old-fashioned boats, watch street entertainers and sample freshly-caught seafood. In stark contrast to this traditional region is dynamic Union Square, San Francisco’s shopping epicentre. With streets lined with shops and department stores, this is a great place to indulge in an afternoon of retail therapy.
Nob Hill is a sophisticated hilltop neighbourhood scattered with swanky upmarket hotels, genteel apartment buildings and impressive landmarks. The area was a millionaires’ haven during the Gold Rush era and its bygone glamour lingers on in vintage barber shops and old-style cocktail lounges. Alongside sits vibrant Chinatown, a hub of Chinese culture with its temples, restaurants and shops. Venture further afield and you’ll find California’s stunning coastline including the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, 17-Mile Drive and scenic Carmel-by-the-Sea. Also nearby is the breathtaking Napa Valley wine country – well worth a visit.
There’s never a dull moment in San Francisco. When you’re not shopping at Union Square or Market Street, take the time to visit some of the city’s most famous attractions. The spectacular Golden Gate Bridge boasts wide cycle routes and stunning vistas, so hire a bicycle and get pedalling! Infamous prison island Alcatraz is another must-see. Learn about its grim past as the jail of some of America’s most notorious criminals and see the many wartime buildings that dot the island. Stroll down Lombard Street, a wonderfully peculiar road dubbed ‘the crookedest street in the world’, and catch a San Francisco Giants or 49ers game. San Francisco Bay is home to many fantastic golf courses, as well as Pier 39 where you can shop, eat, enjoy live entertainment and spot sea lions.
San Francisco is home to over 3,000 restaurants serving up every imaginable type of cuisine. From plush restaurants to quick and easy holes-in-the-wall, there’s something to suit every taste. Feast on Chinese fare in colourful Chinatown and fresh seafood in Fisherman’s Wharf. In North Beach, family-owned trattorias and cafés serve Italian cuisine and coffee, while Belden Place is full of elegant French bistros. Head downtown to splurge on a romantic dinner – here you’ll find an array of high-end restaurants with star chefs, fancy menus and fine wines.