While the hills of San Francisco are intimidating to some motorists, others revel in the adventure.
San Francisco and environs offer the traveler infinite delights for the senses and the spirit. Make time to explore Golden Gate Park, mountain bike on Mount Tamalpais, or sip a café espresso while scanning the San Francisco Chronicle and create some memories to take home.
Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, The Cannery, and Fisherman's Wharf have tourist attractions for first-time San Francisco visitors. The ferry ride and tour of Alcatraz (Pier 41) is a haunting, fascinating journey and you'll learn why escape was virtually impossible.
The ferry at Pier 39 carries travelers to Angel Island in the bay, a lovely refuge. Walkers and kite-flyers will enjoy Golden Gate Park, which has gardens, lakes, and bridal and walking paths within its thousand-plus acres that contain the Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, and Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Several San Francisco districts are worth exploring:
- Chinatown starts at Bush and Grant streets: Look for the dragon-draped archway at the intersection.
- North Beach, the city's café-rich Italian hub, begins at the north end of Chinatown; Columbus Avenue's pastries are hard to resist.
- Pacific Heights boutiques and restaurants along Fillmore Street resemble those on Manhattan's upper west side.
- Chestnut St. in the Marina district attracts the young and upwardly mobile.
- Marina Green overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge. A bay-side walkway leads to the bridge, which one can cross by foot. The nearby Palace of Fine Arts houses the Exploratorium of Science, Art, and Human Perception.
- The 60s are still alive and well in Haight-Ashbury, and the Castro district is a gay mecca. Well-preserved Victorian houses that survived the fire after the 1906 earthquake are surrounded by antiques stores, book shops, bars, and the Castro Theater, known for its eccentric productions.