The northern Californian city of San Francisco is known for its liberal attitude, cultural diversity, spectacular scenery and interesting architecture, making it an ideal destination for city breaks and those looking for a base from which to explore the surrounding area.
Getting around couldn't be easier. Whether you're looking to explore on foot, hire a car or make use of the excellent public transport system that includes regular subway, bus and cable car services, there is plenty to see and do.
Part of the Bay Area that also includes cities such as San Jose, San Francisco is made up of a series of unique districts. It has a number of famous landmarks, such as the Bay Bridge and Mission Dolores, which is the oldest structure in the city.
Fisherman's Wharf is popular among travellers. Located on the waterfront, there are plenty of seafood restaurants to be found as well as ferry pick-ups to Alcatraz. This area is also home to the well-known Pier 39 with its numerous shops, eateries and bars.
The Golden Gate district has a number of fashionable neighbourhoods like Pacific Heights. Historic landmarks such as the iconic Golden Gate Bridge can also be found here.
The largest Chinatown outside of Asia is situated in California and is well worth a visit. Whilst in the area the Art Deco Coit Tower, found in Pioneer Park, can easily be accessed with its spectacular city views.
California is also home to some excellent outdoor spaces. The Corona Heights Park, Land's End Coastal Trail and Golden Gate Parks are popular attractions. If you want to explore a little further afield, why not head to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, drive to Lake Tahoe or head south to the luxurious Carmel?
If it's a vibrant culture that you're after you've come to the right place. This city is known for its laid-back atmosphere, great eateries and bars, association with jazz, political caff culture and micro-breweries, meaning that you won't be short of cultural experiences. Whether you're visiting the Museum of Modern Art, taking in a show or heading to the Castro district, the cultural centre of the city's LGBT community, there are plenty of options available to you.
A number of cultural events take place in the city throughout the year, including a Blues Festival in September, International Film Festival in April/May, Independence Day Festival on 4th of July and Japantown's Cherry Blossom Festival in April. Hotels can get busy during these periods so it is best to book early.
There are San Francisco hotels available that will suit every budget, including high-end city hotels such as the Sheraton and Meridien that offer a full range of amenities and mid-range chain brands such as Ramada, Hilton, Holiday Inn and Starwood. Those looking for budget accommodation will find a good range of B&Bs and motels on the outskirts of the city.
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