Hello San Francisco!

Sakal Times
Saturday, 16 March 2019

Attractions galore in this City by the Bay. We list a few

When a person thinks of San Francisco, a giant international orange-coloured bridge, a park spanning more than 1,000 acres or a city where contemporary art and culture collide, often come to mind. While these mainstays will never lose their lustre, there are numerous other reasons to visit the city too. 

WEATHER
San Francisco’s climate is, if nothing else, dependably changeable. Temperatures and conditions change literally by the hour and can differ markedly from one part of the city to the other. Yet overall, the City by the Bay enjoys an eternally spring-like climate. Temperatures beside the Golden Gate average 54-65 degrees Fahrenheit (12-18 Celsius) in summer, 48-59 degrees (8-14 C) in winter. San Francisco residents save on wardrobe costs because the same clothes suffice year round — knits, light wools, long sleeves and pants.

PIER 39
From amazing views and a sea of sea lions to chowder bread bowls and California wines, your visit to San Francisco starts at Pier 39. Pier 39, the most visited destination in San Francisco, offers two levels of dining, entertainment, shopping and attractions, all surrounded by unbeatable views of the city and the bay. Located along the historic San Francisco waterfront, it provides the picture-perfect backdrop for postcard views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the famous city skyline. Aquarium of the Bay* at the entrance of the Pier offers an astonishing view of life teeming under the surface of the Bay. Be treated to an unforgettable experience and discover why a visit to San Francisco starts at the Pier.

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Once called “the bridge that couldn’t be built,” today, the Golden Gate Bridge is one the seven wonders of the modern world. This magnificent bridge, perhaps San Francisco’s most famous landmark, 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 cyclists.

EXPLORATORIUM
The totally reimagined Exploratorium in its new waterfront home at Pier 15 is nothing short of spectacular. The museum encourages guests of all ages to touch, explore and play with 600 exhibits, investigate the living world, experiment with thoughts, feelings and behaviour, explore the local environment, think with your hands and much more. 

If all this science is making you hungry, the Exploratorium houses a cafe and a waterfront restaurant, both serving seasonal and sustainable cuisine prepared by local chefs. All ages are welcome, and if you’ve got toddlers in tow, just follow the giant bubbles. Strollers are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.

NORTH BEACH
North Beach, rich in Italian heritage, compresses cabarets, jazz clubs, galleries, inns, family style restaurants and gelato parlours into less than a square mile. A perfect spot for cappuccino and espresso, North Beach is transformed into one of San Francisco’s most electric playgrounds by night. Live music and dancing keep the streets swinging. In the morning, practise Tai chi with the regulars in Washington Square and from here, catch the No 39 bus to the top of Telegraph Hill. 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.

THE ORIGINAL ROAD TRIP
If you’re looking for the real California, then come experience ‘The Original Road Trip’ and explore the Central Coast.
In the heart of California between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Central Coast stretches over 300 miles from Santa Cruz, two hours south of San Francisco, down to Oxnard, about an hour north of Los Angeles.

It features major attractions such as Hearst Castle, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Steinbeck Center, Channels Islands National Park, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, more than half of California’s 21 historic missions, and a dizzying array of wine tasting and culinary opportunities. There are miles of rocky shoreline, dreamy beaches for swimming and surfing and panoramic views of the Pacific. Explore inland to take in both towering mountains and rolling hills.

SHOPPING
Virtually every fashion label in the world has set up shop in and around Union Square, a landmark park in the heart of the downtown shopping and hotel district. Granite plazas, a stage, a café and four grand entrance corner plazas bordered by the park’s signature palms, pay tribute to the Square’s distinctive history and offer a forum for civic celebrations. One of the most iconic stores in the United States, Macy’s has been around since the 1800s. You’ll find everything you’ll need to stay classy, including shoes, men’s and women’s clothing, handbags, jewellery and accessories. They carry high-end brands, such as Tory Burch, Yves Saint Laurent and Michael Kors. 

STAY
The key to budget travel is finding a cheap hotel or inn to stay. This is especially the case when you plan to stay several days and will be out exploring most of that time. You can find some hotels and inns in San Francisco starting around $80 per night, with Union Square being a good area to check for such deals. When you just need a safe place to rest your head, consider one of the many San Francisco hostels, since prices start at about $30 per person per night. 

DINING
San Francisco is a must-visit culinary destination. The city’s dining scene is the best in the country. It’s home to 55 Michelin-starred restaurants, and it’s the city considered to be the world capital of sustainable dining. While fancy, award-winning dining has put San Francisco on the map, the city also offers another kind of dining experience: the all-you-can-eat option. You can pay a flat fee to get as much food as your heart desires (and sometimes, as many drinks as you want, too!). It might not be as swanky, but it’s no less satisfying. Some of the best all-you-can-eat options around San Francisco are Boiling Hot Pot, Chubby Noodle, Goat Hill Pizza, Sushi Hunter, among others.

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