Tourist attractions San Francisco
San Francisco is thought to be the most Europeanized city in the United States and is an unmissable stop on any package tour of North America. Its urban centre, unlike other cities in the country, invites you to climb its steep streets on foot. San Francisco’s attractions, which have made it one of the most popular destinations in the States, thanks to sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, which has served as the setting for numerous American films and today is the symbol of the city.
A walk along Lombard Street, the mythical street that zigzags upwards, rising from Russian Hill to Hyde Street, is an unmissable experience. Fisherman's Wharf, the fishing pier where Pier 39 is located, is another emblematic site, whilst Ghirardelli Square and the Ripley Museum, are some of the other attractions.
On a package holiday to San Francisco you can not miss a trip to Fisherman's Wharf, the fishing pier where Pier 39 is located, Ghirardelli Square or the Ripley Museum, among other attractions.
From Fisherman’s Wharf, you can see the iconic San Francisco seals, who spend their days lying on floating platforms, and it also where visitors can take a boat to Alcatraz, the impenetrable prison that welcomes tourists, eager to look inside the island jail which has been immortalised in numerous blockbuster films.
Union Square is a good starting point for a walk through the city centre. Here you can find the St. Francis hotel, the oldest hotel in the city known from the novel, The Maltese Falcon. Heading north through Market Street you will reach Haight Ashbury, the bohemian neighbourhood; and Alamo Square, known for its small Victorian houses nicknamed the ‘Painted Ladies; This area of San Francisco is also where Mission is located, the neighbourhood of artists and where the oldest buildings in the city can be found.
What to see in San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge
At an impressive 3 kilometres in length, the Golden Gate is the longest suspension bridge in the world and an icon of San Francisco. Its name was acquired by the strait in which it is built across, and although at first it was thought that it would not serve much importance, today it is the busiest highway to unite the peninsula of the city with Marin.
Built in 1937, the famed bridge can be crossed by car, bicycle or on foot. Any tour or holiday to San Francisco will undoubtedly include a visit to or a walk across the unforgettable Golden Gate Bridge.
The Painted Ladies
Close to Alamo Square, these low Victorian houses are one of the best-known images of the city of San Francisco. Their name, the Painted Ladies, refers to the type of architecture and the colours that are brightly displayed upon their façades.
The term was acquired from literature, from a book written about Victorian buildings by the authors Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen. Made of wood and brick, these houses were a symbol of economic prosperity in the 19th century. Since then, they have become an essential attraction on a package holiday to San Francisco, and make the perfect backdrop to any holiday photo.
It is not the steepest street in the city, although it is one of the most visited due to its zigzag shape and its well-kept greenery. The section which rises from Russian Hill to Hyde Street is particularly recognisable and an essential visit on any tour of San Francisco.
Carl Henry built the unique road in 1922 in an effort to reduce the gradient of the slope so that cars could travel more comfortably. The result ended up turning it into one of the icons of the city and it has appeared in numerous films like Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Inside Out, by Pixar.
This fishing pier is one of the best known in San Francisco. It is home to the popular Pier 39, where a large part of the city's entertainment is concentrated. Fresh fish is the speciality of the many restaurants that can be found there, where fresh crab is the most notable and popular dish. The wharf is also home to bars and shopping centres as well as souvenir shops. Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most iconic attractions on a trip to San Francisco.
A variety of fascinating museums can also be found in the vicinity of Fisherman’s Wharf. The most curious of all is that of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a museum which tells the stories of unusual events that have happened around the world. A few meters away is the Wax Museum, in addition to the San Francisco National Historical Maritime Park. From Fisherman's Wharf, boats leave to visit Alcatraz, one of the best-known and most impenetrable prisons in the world.
Considered the largest Chinatown in the world outside of Asia, a holiday to San Francisco would be incomplete without a tour of this charming neighbourhood. Home to ornate temples, countless shops and amenities, Chinatown will make you feel as if you have stepped into a different country, with Chinese signs, businesses and even hospitals. Founded in 1848, Chinatown is a major attraction for visitors to San Francisco.
In addition to shops and restaurants where you can dine on fantastic Chinese cuisine, there is also the popular Ross Alley Fortune Cookie Factory, where the iconic cookies, which contain messages and advice about all manner or things, are manufactured. The best thing to do in Chinatown is to let yourself get lost in its colourful streets and soak up the culture.
A church founded by Spanish missionaries in 1776, the Mission Dolores is the oldest building in San Francisco. It was originally dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, with the goal of converting the indigenous Ohlone communities to Christianity. Soon after the building was renamed Mission Dolores and, due to its history and the beauty of its construction, it has become one of the essential visits of any trip to San Francisco.
The complex in total consists of a basilica, a small chapel and a cemetery in which personalities such as the first Mexican governor Luis Antonio Argüello, are buried.
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