San Francisco is the major cultural and financial hub of Northern California, on the west coast of the United States. Located on the San Francisco Peninsula, the city is famous for both its iconic landmarks and its alternative cultural scene. This combination not only makes San Francisco unique but also makes it an attractive destination for any traveller.
International San-Francisco flights from Europe, Asia and Australia fly into San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the USA's eighth-busiest airport. The city is also served by Oakland International Airport (OAK).
From San Francisco International, travellers can make use of both bus and train services to connect to the city, as well as taxi and car-hire services. Once in the city, no visitor can go without a trip on the cable cars on San Francisco's many hills.
The city is filled with famous landmarks, attractions and neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct flavour. Perhaps the most recognisable of these is the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco's iconic suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait.
San Francisco's other bridge, the Bay Bridge, has one of the longest spans of any bridge in the world. Located in the Bay is one of the city's most famous landmarks, Alcatraz Island, also known as 'The Rock', which is home to the abandoned prison.
A top attraction for visitors is the neighbourhood of Fisherman's Wharf for food, nightlife and shops. The Wharf is best known for Pier 39, the shopping centre and aquarium built right on the bay.
San Francisco's Japantown is the oldest and largest Japanese enclave in the United States. It has a number of Japanese restaurants and shops as well as two major festivals each year.
Another popular neighbourhood is Corona Heights, an area famous for Corona Heights Park and the Castro District. The Castro is one of the US's first gay neighbourhoods and to this day remains a centre for LGBT events and activism.
Just to the east of the Castro District is Dolores Park, formerly Mission Park, notable for its views of the city. The art-deco Coit Tower, found in the Telegraph Hill neighbourhood, also offers fantastic views of the city as does Lands End, a coastal trail and park set within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Golden Gate Park is another of San Francisco's major urban parks, containing a number of features including the Conservatory of Flowers, the Academy of Sciences and Golden Gate Park Stadium.
San Francisco is just as, if not more, famous for its cultural scene as for its landmarks. Laid-back and alternative, it offers a whole range of great bars, eateries and nightlife, from political bookshops and cafes to microbreweries and jazz. The city is also home to the Museum of Modern Art, which holds over 26,000 works of 20th-century art.
From San Francisco travellers can also visit the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, is located. Visitors can also drive south along the coast, past Carmel and onwards down to LA.
There is so much on offer in San Francisco that no visit to California is complete without a trip to the iconic city.
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