This charming city is home to plenty of iconic landmarks, fascinating neighbourhoods, and remarkable attractions...
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, café culture and micro-breweries - 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.
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.
Getting around San Francisco 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.
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?
There are plenty of hotels in San Francisco and a range of accommodation options according to taste, budget and location...
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.
The iconic attractions of San Francisco lure millions of visitors...
From the city's notorious island prison to the sea lions of Pier 39, this city's best bits are varied and never dull.
Top five attractions
Journey to Alcatraz Island and shut yourself away behind those thick prison doors to discover what life must have been like for its inmates. Tickets to visit the Rock can sell out, especially during holiday periods and at weekends, so it makes sense to book in advance. Tickets to the night tours get snapped up even quicker so book extra early for this haunting experience.
Golden Gate Bridge
Another unmistakable piece of the city skyline, the soaring pieces of this famous bridge simply must be seen up close. If you hire a car in San Francisco, a drive across the bridge is not to be missed.
A huge range of shops, eateries and family attractions can be found at Pier 39, though the name sticks in people's minds for the sea lions that have made a home on the floating docks. See the beasts lazing in the sun and enjoying the attention of visitors.
The biggest outside Asia, don't bypass San Francisco's Chinatown during your visit - it's an exciting and vibrant area and the only place to eat if you're craving authentic Chinese food.
See the stretch of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets that winds tightly and steeply down the hill. Walk or drive to see the astonishing hair-pin bends (there are eight of them) that make it the most crooked street in the world.
Read on to discover what's on when in non-stop San Francisco...
A number of cultural events take place in the city throughout the year, including the International Film Festival in April and May and the Independence Day Festival on 4 July. Hotels can get busy during these periods so it is best to book early.
Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival; April: Taste the traditions of Japan in San Francisco's Japantown in spring. Take tea, see taiko drummers and witness parades while, of course, the glorious cherry blossoms bloom.
San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration; June: This city is known for celebrating its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents and visitors and nowhere is this show of love more evident than the annual Pride Parade, when thousands take to the streets to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
Carnaval; May: Held over the Memorial Day weekend, this is a two-day riot of colourful costumes, music, dancing and non-stop partying. There's a new theme every year and the feeling of the festivities is absolutely infectious - just try and stop your body dancing to the beats!