It’s hard to list only 10 reasons to visit San Francisco. But, if you are still on the fence, these reasons alone will entice you to pack your bags.
The height of beatnik and hippy culture in one neighbourhood! The likes of Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane all lived near the Haight/Ashbury intersection. It is not hard to imagine yourself during the Summer of Love as the community is still very warm, welcoming and open-minded. Haight St is a vibrant and busy part of the city not to be overlooked.
#2 Golden Gate Park
West of Haight/Ashbury is the 1,000 acre green space home to the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Garden, and Conservatory of Flowers. It is the Central Park of San Francisco. A beautiful green space where locals and tourists can spend some quiet time away from the busy city. A perfect location for a burrito picnic!
#3 The Presidio
Yet another green space in the northern part of the city, the Presidio was formerly a military base but, has since been converted into public space. Make sure you check out the war-time military homes that are now available for lease. You can also check out the headquarters of Lucasfilm. Unfortunately, Mr. Lucas was not around when we strolled the grounds. There are stunning photo opportunities on the western and northern parts of the Presidio.
#4 Baker Beach
Access Baker Beach from the Presidio. The Beach offers great photo opportunities of the Golden Gate Bridge. Be warned: in the northern part of the Beach (near the Bridge) clothing becomes optional. It is not uncommon to see nudists lounging or taking a dip in the ocean. You can also climb the Sand Ladder: a 200 step log ladder with very little shade.
#5 The Golden Gate Bridge
Need I say more? Rent a bike, catch the hop on/hop off bus, or rent a car – whatever you do: crossing this bridge is a must!
#6 Fisherman’s Wharf
This is the home of the Pier 29 sea lions. It is also the area to buy your SF souvenirs and choose from a plethora of restaurants! It is by far the most tourist location of the city. A bit tacky, but clean and well designed.
No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to The Rock. Make sure to buy your tickets well in advance as they often sell out. The boat ride to the island provides some great opportunities for beautiful shots of the island and the remaining structures. I’d recommend going first thing in the morning while your legs are fresh.
#8 The Burritos
Pop into any tacqueria for a burrito. Ask a local for their favourite tacqueria. The best ones are often small, hole-in-the-wall type places. Tip: arrive hungry because these burritos are huge!
#9 The Cable Cars
There are three functioning cable car lines running daily. You can hop on at any of the stops or (if you’re feeling brave) jump on when the car slows down. Enjoying this ride in the early evening or early in the morning if best when there are not as many tourists out.
The entrance at Grant ave and Bush street welcomes you to a neighbourhood that can also double as a city within a city. Spend some time walking around the food markets and temples. Pop into a few shops where you can buy ancient Chinese potions or watch the making of fortune cookies.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to see in San Francisco. Have you been to San Francisco? What do you recommend that I didn’t mention?