Hello hello all you wonderful people, I know, I know I haven’t done a West Coast travel post in a while, my last one being Lake Tahoe (~ West Coast: South Lake Tahoe…).
I’ve just been busy with a lot on my plate lately and hence in general, travel posts have taken a back seat since they are the most time consuming to write… But I promise I am gonna try and get back on track.
So without further ado, today I am talking about a destination that’s on the hubby and my top 10 list of places to visit in US – San Fran!!
San Francisco is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. It’s a destination that boasts a weather which makes it suitable to visit year round!!
This post is in no way a comprehensive list, please don’t forget to Google things to see, and plan according to your interest. Also, in this post, I am not going to go into the detail of each and every item on my list, just coz if I did, this post would be a super long one. My apologies in advance if this causes any inconvenience to anyone in anyway!
So with that said, let’s start!
How to get to San Fran:
San Fran is well connected with flights from almost anywhere in the world!! Also drivable from various other happening destinations in California.
Where to Stay:
We stayed at the Holiday Inn, Fisherman’s Wharf and the location was great as it was centrally located and close to everything.
I would say you don’t need a rental car because San Fran highlights are walkable and for places that aren’t, taxis are easily available and aren’t too pricey.
For Napa Valley, I would suggest you book a tour so you can try ALL the wines at the different wineries and vineyards and not worry about having to drive back. I am providing details of the tour we took below.
Things to see and do:
San Fran highlights:
– Alcatraz & Angel Island
Alcatraz is a must!! The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a maximum high security federal prison on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, California, which operated from 1934 to 1963. Some of the criminals that have been placed here include Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the “Birdman of Alcatraz”), George “Machine Gun” Kelly among others.
Angel Island is a little bonus if you buy a combined ticket for the 2 islands. Angel Island offers expansive 360° views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais.
– Tour of the Napa Valley
We took an entire day tour of Napa Valley and I will be sharing details about that in a separate blog post otherwise this is going to become a super long post, so stay tuned.
– Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is a neighborhood and popular tourist attraction in San Fran. It roughly encompasses the northern waterfront area of San Francisco from Ghirardelli Square on Van Ness Avenue east to Pier 35 on Kearny Street. The F Market streetcar runs through the area, the Powell-Hyde cable car lines runs to Aquatic Park, at the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Powell-Mason cable car line runs a few blocks away. A must visit for sure!!
– Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge and is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Fran. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It’s a breathtaking sight to see most of this magnificent bridge covered with fog, as it often is!!
– Fort Point
Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification located at the southern side of the Golden Gate at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This fort was completed just before the American Civil War, to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile warships. The fort is now available for touring.
– Union Square
Union Square is a public plaza bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets in downtown San Fran. “Union Square” also refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district that surrounds the plaza for several blocks
– Cable Car System
The San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Of the 23 lines established between 1873 and 1890, only three remain (one of which combines parts of two earlier lines): two routes from downtown near Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, and a third route along California Street. The lines for riding the cable car are super long so be ready to wait a while for the ride of a lifetime!!
– Pier 39
Pier 39 should be a must on your list of your things to do in San Fran, with sea lions, waterfront dining, street performers, live music, shopping and lots more!!
– Lombard Street
The world famous “most crooked street in the world”. Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Fran, that is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. If you are not interested in driving it, try to walk by as it is definitely a unique view unlike any other.
– Ghirardelli Square
Ghirardelli Square is a landmark public square with shops and restaurants in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Fran. The square once featured over 40 specialty shops and restaurants. Some of the original shops and restaurants still occupy the square. Don’t forget to eat at the world famous Ghirardelli Restaurant for all sorts of yumminess! There is a gift shop there as well for you to stock up on yummy sweetness for yourself or your loved ones.
– Church where Marilyn Monroe got married!!
The Saints Peter and Paul Church is an absolutely gorgeous church and should be on your list to visit. We actually stumbled upon this church! The hubby is a church lover and spotted this church when we were touring Lombard street and we ended up walking to this church only to find out it’s where Marilyn Monroe had gotten married!!
– Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Fran, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there.
One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is still situated on its original site. It was rebuilt in 1965, and renovation of the lagoon, walkways, and a seismic retrofit were completed in early 2009. In addition to hosting art exhibitions, it remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals and is a favorite location for weddings and wedding party photographs.
AND for all you Bollywood lovers, like me, this is where the famous song “Sajda” from My Name is Khan was filmed!!! Actually, this entire movie and many other Bollywood movies are all filmed around San Fran!!
– Twin Peaks
The Twin Peaks are two prominent hills with an elevation of about 925 feet located near the geographic center of San Fran and provide breathtaking views of the city spread below.
– 7 Sisters
Also called Painted Ladies is an American architecture, actually Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. Super expensive and pretty, they make for a great photo backdrop.
Other items on the list:
– Coit Tower
– San Fran Ferry building
– Aquarium of the Bay
– Muir Woods
– Various Museums
– Google Headoffice
San Fran has enough to offer to appeal to everyone’s taste and hence not an issue even for the folks with the most restricted diets!
Now for the photo dump:
So as you can see there’s a lot to see and do in San Fran and in my opinion to be able to see and do all the highlights, you would need atleast 5 days.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post and as promised earlier, watch this space for more exciting destinations coming your way!! Have a great weekend ahead 😀
Until next time… Ciao!