Flowers in your hair will only get you so far in San Francisco, so here are some tips and facts to help you have fun in the Bay City.
As the home of cable cars, Uber and the 49ers, San Francisco is also the birthplace of some rather unlikely creations such as fortune cookies, denim jeans and America’s first (and only) emperor – an eccentric local businessman named Joshua Norton, who even had currency issued in his name.
One of the most enduring icons here is the Golden Gate Bridge.
The best way to get a true sense of the scale of the Golden Gate Bridge is to ride across it on a bike.
Start at Aquatic Park in Fisherman’s Wharf and then head onto the National Bike Park, passing through Fort Mason, the Marina and Presidio National Park, before reaching the bridge itself.
The bridge takes roughly 10 to 15 minutes to cycle across, before heading down hill into Sausalito, a pretty town of shops and seafood restaurants on the water.
Once you’ve had a rest and a bite to eat, the best way to get back to where you started from is to take a Golden Gate Transit ferry, bike and all.
The ride will take about 20 minutes and is another chance at site-seeing, taking in the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the San Francisco skyline.
Other great activities in San Francisco include walking the Lands End trail and watching the Giants play at AT&T Park.
A wander through Chinatown is also a must. But as well as popular Grant Avenue, head to alleyways like the gritty Spofford Alley at sundown, when the locals come out to play Mahjong.
Those who’ve made the journey know that San Francisco is home to some of the most initiative and delicious culinary delights throughout the entire US. We’ve compiled an insider’s guide to the best places to eat and drink in San Francisco to help you make the most of this wonderful city.
Before heading off on your trip, acquaint yourself with the different neighbourhoods to decide where you want to base yourself.
The Mission is synonymous with hipsters, dot-com start-ups, cheap eats and a longstanding Latino community, it is San Francisco’s oldest neighbourhood and is a mix of grit and colour.
Cole Valley is one of the more subdued neighbourhoods in the city’s heartland, with life-sized dollhouses lining leafy, undulating streets, it is an idyllic haunt for dog-strolling young families.
In Haight there is a distinct difference between Upper Haight and Lower Haight, however the general Haight area is one of the most bohemian, buzzing and central neighbourhoods in San Francisco.
If it’s your first time to San Francisco we suggest staying in the Downtown/Union Square area, a bustling shopping and cultural hotspot with designer and boutique stores, art galleries, cafés, bars and restaurants.
It’s central to SoMa, Nob Hill, Chinatown and nearby North Beach, plus it’s a good base to get to Fisherman’s Wharf, AT&T Park and the ferry port to Alcatraz.