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May 27, 2012

4

Top 5 Things To Do In San Francisco

by Jason Dutton-Smith
Alamo Square - San Francisco

One of my favourite places to visit is San Francisco – a beautiful city that invites you to wonder its steep, tree lined streets for hours. With beautiful parks and beaches and a famous island prison in the middle of the bay, you can’t help but fall in love and be captivated by this diverse, fun city. Then of course there are the wineries outside the city. Here is our list of the top 5 things to do in San Francisco.

Clam Chowder in a bread bowl at Fisherman’s Wharf

Mark Twain once famously quipped “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. San Francisco does tend to have a cooler summer climate but the advantage there is that it’s always a good time for a bowl of hot clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf! Delicious, thick and creamy clam chowder (available in either cream base or tomato base) is served all day from warm sourdough bread bowls. How genius; soup served in a bowl that you can eat. Does it get any better? No visit to San Francisco is complete without a wonder around the famous Fisherman’s Wharf where many restaurants and cafés offer this must have bowl of tasty goodness. Then take a walk where you’ll be sure to find sea lions sunning themselves along various sections of the wharf.


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CityPASS San Francisco – Save 49% or more on these popular San Francisco attractions.

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Alcatraz Island tour

Often referred to as ‘The Rock’, Alcatraz Island was developed to accommodate a federal prison, lighthouse and military fortification in the early 1900’s. Located 2.4km (1.5miles) offshore, Alcatraz is now a national historic landmark and recreation area. The prison operated between 1934-1963 housing some of America’s most infamous gangsters and criminals such as Al Capone and George “machine gun” Kelly. The tour gives an eye opening and even haunting look into what an incarcerated existence would have been like all those years ago. Take the audio tour option to hear the voices and accounts from actual inmates who give interesting first-hand accounts of what life was like within those walls, behind the bars. This is one popular tour and advance bookings are essential. Be sure to book the first ferry to avoid large crowds and allow extra time to explore the prison and island grounds.

Alcatraz Island San Francisco Bay as seen from the city.

Alcatraz Island San Francisco Bay as seen from the city.

Napa Valley wine travel

Napa Valley, just north of San Francisco is one of the most famous and picturesque wine regions in the world offering more then 400 wineries to explore and enjoy. A great option is to hire a car and plot out the wineries you would like to visit. There are wonderful 1-3 day self drive itineraries staying at delightful B&B’s or wine cellar accommodations along the way. The rolling hills, vineyards and cellar doors have an abundance of grape varieties and wine combinations on offer. An alternative to driving is one of the many escorted tours that are readily available from San Francisco. Or for a unique experience travel aboard the historic Wine Train locomotive enjoying 3 course meals and wine tastings.

Napa Valley - California

Napa Valley – California

Bike ride to Sausalito via Golden Gate Bridge

This is two birds with one stone and a must. At the entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge, located at the northern tip of Presidio Park, you can hire bikes for a few hours or for the day. Jump on a bike and ride across the bridge for fantastic views of the bay and Pacific Ocean. Follow the signs when you reach the other side to Sausalito, a quaint little town etched into the bay and perfect location for lunch. This is a picturesque residential community and known as an artistic and wealthy enclave. Bursting with character homes and house boats, it’s a great afternoon venue before heading back across the bridge, or taking the regular ferry back to San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Ride a cable car

Not to be confused with a tram, the San Francisco cable cars are synonymous with the city and a glimpse into history. The only manually controlled cable cars in the world still working today and running over three of the original 23 tracks dating back to the 1800’s. A cable car driver gracefully directs the levers like a well orchestrated symphony. While the cable cars are mostly a tourist attraction, they are still used by commuters today. Start in Union Square and make the journey uphill to China Town where you can wonder the streets in the oldest part of the city.

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Car

Have you been to San Francisco? What are your favourite spots?

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