There’s something unique about San Francisco. I never get sick of visiting this city or the bay area. It grows more on me with every visit. First of all, San Francisco is much cleaner than any other big city in the US. It also has plenty to offer if architecture, art and history interest you. I love the colored and bright cable cars going up and down the steep streets, ringing their bells. The sharp and varied elevation of this city also offers some of the best views of Golden Gate bridge and the beautiful bay.
I don’t seem to be the only one who loves this city, I realized this during a recent trip. I started my search for a vacation rental almost a month in advance but was surprised to find that most of the apartments were taken for the entire summer. Somehow I managed to get a decent accommodation.. just in time.
What I love about SFO (apart from the city itself) is that you can make it a base for visiting Northern California. If I had to make a list of Top Five places to visit in the US, Northern California will be in it for sure.
Anyway, I’ll focus on San Francisco for now.
So what are the topmost things to do in this city?
There are quiet a few but I’ll start with some of my favorites first: Cable Car: I love the open feel of cable cars, you also get to hang on the steps . It is a nice way to see some of the popular districts. These little cars do add a lot of character to the city.
Golden Gate bridge: This is still a masterpiece, without a doubt. The bridge is Red in color, the entire area is very picturesque (especially on a clear and Sunny day) with bay and the mountains serving as backdrop. You can walk or bike, just make sure you don’t pick a windy day.
Golden Gate Park: It would take you few days if you really want to explore each nook and corner (though worth it) of this park. It has many attractions including gardens and a lake. I like Japanese Tea garden and Stow Lake the best.
Sausalito: This bayside suburb is on the other side of Golden Gate bridge. There are nice restaurants, shops and gardens to explore. It is really pleasant to stroll along the bay shoreline that offers amazing view of the city.
Muir Woods: You’ll be surprised to know that such a treasure exists so close to the city. There are several trails (from easy to moderate hike) that you can explore. Being among the majestic Redwood trees gives quiet a different feeling. It is a feeling of awe and reverence, yet peaceful.
Presidio and the Palace of Fine Arts: I visited this area for the first time (after many trips to bay area) and instantly fell in love. It doesn’t feel like the US. I’ll post some pictures to do some justice.
Boudin Bakery: When you’re in SF, you got to try the sour dough sandwich. You can visit one of the Boudin bakeries or their main location that also has a museum.
Mexican Food: Speaking of food, there are quiet a few authentic Mexican restaurants in Frisco. The Mexican food in California tastes much better than the East Coast. I love the small taquerias (though limited vegetarian options) with Full Salsa bar that has different types of salsa, pickles, chips etc. Many of these also make their own fresh Fruit drinks that go well with the Burritos.
Below are the other attractions that you might like to add to your list:
- Little Italy
- Fisherman’s wharf
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
Of course, if you’re a fan of 49ers, Giants or Ace…you know better what to do and where to go!!
When you plan your SF trip, please make sure you do pick some Sunny days. It is Heaven when it is Sunny and Blue but can turn out to be Hell if it is cloudy, windy and rainy..especially when you’re around water. A light jacket is recommended throughout the year.
I think I have covered the best of SF. If I missed any, do let me know..especially you bay area natives. You can also view more pictures of our recent trip to the city here, to a get a glimpse of what’s waiting for you.
I’ll cover remaining Northern California hotspots next.