We Know: 10 Best Things to See in San Francisco
San Francisco, America's most beautiful city! Ten things every visitor should make a point to see in San Francisco include:
1. Visit beautiful, scenic Fisherman's Wharf.
Fisherman's Wharf is the most popular destination in San Francisco. Though some consider it too touristy, it has some of the best seafood, shopping and water front ambience on the west coast. Fisherman's Wharf can be accessed via the Van Ness Ave exit of I-80/US-101.
2. Spend the day in Golden Gate Park-and it may not be enough.
Golden Gate Park is 3 miles long and 9 blocks wide. Attractions include the California Academy of Sciences, a Japanese Tea Garden, and the De Young Museum of Art. There are foot paths, football fields, fishing areas and bikes for rent. The park is best accessed via 19th avenue, which actually cuts straight through it.
3.Have some pasta and espresso in North Beach (Little Italy).
North Beach is between Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown and includes some of the best Italian restaurants on the West Coast. Literally, dozens of restaurants and cafes line Columbus Ave. Shops open early to sell fresh espresso and Italian pastries, and with tree-lined patio seating, you'll feel like you have been transported to Europe.
4. Visit the World Famous City Lights Bookstore.
At the corner of Columbus and Broadway where Little Italy collapses into bustling Chinatown stands one of the great cultural landmarks of the West Coast. City Lights Bookstore is the birth place of the famed `Beat Generation' literary movement. It is still a functioning bookstore, center of the counterculture, and a good place to peruse the magazine rack on a windy night.
5. Enjoy world class shopping at Union Square.
Union Square is one of the most desired shopping destinations on the west coast. Easily accessed by cable car or the I-80(disembark at Powell & Kearney), stores include the upscale Nordstrom's, Macy's, Tiffany's and Chanel. For the less extravagant shopper there are the usual retailing culprits: Border's Books, J. Crew and the Warner Bros. store.
6. Take in the scenery, burn up some calories with a hike up to Coit Tower.
For tourists staying in either North Beach or Chinatown a hike up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower may be just the trick to get the heart pumping. The stone tower presents some of the best vistas in Northeastern San Francisco. After your hike take a tour inside the tower, the interior is decorated in fresco's, including some by the great Diego Rivera.
7. Get a taste of Hong Kong in Chinatown.
Chinatown in San Francisco contains some of the most unique sights and sounds to greet a visitor to San Francisco. You can experience some of the best Chinese food in the world, along with some of the most interesting, most reasonably priced trinket shops. However, Chinatown is not for those who like their travels pristine. The sound, sight and smell of foods, squawking chickens, and ubiquitous tobacco, may be a bit much for sensitive travelers. But if you have an open mind and a willing palate Chinatown is a treasure trove of taste and other stimuli. Chinatown is best accessed via the Fremont exit of the I-80.
8. Experience the Exploratorium at The Palace of Fine Arts.
For the young scientist in your family, or the young scientist still within you the Exploratorium can't be beat. It is a `hands on' science museum that helps children get drawn into the world of science, by engulfing their senses with different kid-friendly displays and interactive exhibits. Especially not to be missed is the `tactile dome', an interactive journey through total darkness. The Exploratorium can be accessed via Highway 101, near the Golden Gate Bridge.
9. Satisfy your chocolate craving at Ghirardelli Square.
Near the west end of Fisherman's Wharf is a unique shopping and eating experience. Ghiradelli square is the site of the Ghiradelli Chocolate Manufactury and Soda Fountain. If you are a chocolate lover, this is the place for you. Chocolate is available in almost every conceivable form. If you don't love chocolate, there are plenty of other shops and restaurants in Ghirardelli square.
10. And what trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge?
The Golden Gate Bridge can be accessed via highway 101. The world famous, majestic beauty serves as a link, between San Francisco and communities to the north. The northern parking lot offers the best view, and early morning visits can present you with some of that fabled San Francisco fog. Just be sure to bring a warm coat!