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San Francisco

4.6 / 5 34 votes

Country rank: 5 out of 23 Places To Visit In Usa

Sub-Region: California


Weather:

Ideal duration: 3-5 days

Best time: September to November (Autumn) (Read More)

Nearest Airport: San Francisco (Check Flights)

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"The Golden State's City of the Golden Gate"

San Francisco Tourism

San Francisco is one of the most important cities on the West Coast and all of the United States. It has been a major tourist destination since the 1960s, thanks to it's wide array of attractions, fantastic views of the San Francisco Bay and brilliant summer weather.

A trip to San Francisco is an absolute delight. The vibrant and energetic city holds a plethora of activities and attractions which will keep you busy throughout your stay. It's a favourite destination especially during the summers, due to its cool temperatures. The city has a great mixture of cultures and is not short on entertainment options either. San Francisco's most iconic landmark is perhaps the Golden Gate Bridge, covering the width of the San Francisco Bay and offering some fine vistas. Cruises on the Bay are also a famous activity you shouldn't miss out on. The Fisherman's Wharf and the Alcatraz Island combined with the bridge make for three of the most famous tourist attractions in the city. Even the city's cable car system is used more by tourists than daily commuters! The city has a diverse collection of museums, ranging from art museums to the fascinating and futuristic Walt Disney Museum and the Exploratorium. San Francisco also has several open natural spaces, such as the huge Golden Gate Park, which contains several interesting places in itself. San Fran, as it is fondly called, is also a paradise for shoppers, with several streets of international and local boutiques and the largest Chinatown outside Asia. And as the sun sets, the city wakes up once again to head out for the night to its brilliant offerings of nightclubs and bars.

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San Francisco's proper history begins when the Spanish arrived in 1769 for the first time and then in 1776 when the Presidio of San Francisco was established. The Spanish control was relinquished in 1821 and the city became part of Mexico. The first settlements began in 1835 and the area soon expanded with American settlers and became the town of Yerba Buena. It was taken back by the Americans in the 1846 Mexican - American war and renamed San Francisco and officially ceded to America on January 30th of 1847. Growth to San Francisco came with the California Gold Rush of 1849 and further by the discovery of silver in 1859. Population grew exponentially and this was also the time when the Alcatraz Island was fortified as a military defence settlement to defend the Bay. The wealth generated by the Gold Rush led to the creation of banks and private sector companies, such as Wells Fargo (1852) and Bank of California (1864). Bay Area slowly developed into a centre of trade with the construction of the Port of San Francisco and the Pacific Rail Road System. The legendary cable car system was set up in 1873. The 1906 earthquake changed everything. More than three quarters of the city were destroyed. Rebuilding began immediately and the city celebrated it's rebirth at the Panama - Pacific exposition in 1915. San Francisco then began a period of immense growth and remained unaffected by the Great Depression of 1929. In fact, it undertook some of it's biggest civil engineering projects of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge during this period. During World War II it served as an important naval base. The UN Charter which created the UN in 1945 and the Treaty of San Francisco which ended the war with Japan in 1951 were both signed here. The rebuilding of the 1950s and 1960s had to be halted due to widespread protests, the city began to lose industrial jobs and the city then began to concentrate on tourism. During the end of the 20th century, San Francisco has seen many financial booms and slow downs, however today the city is one of the most important in the USA.

San Francisco's night life is out of this world! Just like the other major American cities, San Francisco offers a hugely diverse selection of clubs and bars. Head over to SoMa for some of the best electronic and hip hop scenes, while club hopping is best done in the bars on the Mission district. The North Beach area, much like you'd expect it to be, has clubs where neon and UV parties rage through all night into the early morning hours. Do remember though, the legal age to drink and enter clubs in the US is 21 and they are fairly strict about it.

San Francisco offers a ton of wonderful shopping options. Put some money aside for shopping when you're visiting because you'll feel compelled to! Union Square is the centre of all shopping activities in San Francisco. With a plethora of luxury and international brands it is the first place you should visit if you're looking to add to your high end wardrobe! The Westfield San Francisco Centre is another hugely popular place to shop. It has several stores and brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom's among several others. Chinatown is another obvious shopping hotspot for almost everything you could possibly want. Chestnut Street, Embarcadero Centre and Fillmore Street are other popular avenues for you to shop your heart out!

The US Dollar is the only currency which is accepted in San Francisco. All major cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in a majority of the places and there will be no difficulties finding an ATM.

Changing currency in San Francisco is an easy job. Major hotels have currency exchange options and so does the airport. There are also currency exchange booths in most of the commercial areas. ATMs too are a convenient options. However, all of these are usually pretty expensive options and you should stick to using credit cards. It's the best if your bank doesn't charge international fees and even if it does, it's still usually a better option than exchanging cash.

Though San Francisco isn't as expensive as New York City, it is still a little heavy on the budget. Depending on where you eat, how you commute, where you shop etc, a low end budget will lie somewhere around USD 80 - 120, a mid range budget around USD 150 - 250, and a high end budget anywhere beyond USD 350.

Christian, Jewish

San Francisco has a global culture and as such there are no hard and fast norms in the city. Dressing isn't an issue in any of the cities in the US in either case. The city has also been one of the most gay-friendly cities you will ever go to and simple polite behaviour will get you through your trip easily. In most places in San Francisco, tipping is expected. Tips in the region of 10 - 20% are expected at restaurants and bars. In cabs, rounding off to the nearest dollar is enough.

English is the official and the spoken language of San Francisco.

You can easily find any cuisine you're looking for in San Francisco, from all corners of the world. All kinds of fast food, street food joints and food trucks are spread out all over the city.Chowder in a Bread Bowl is a famous San Francisco food that you should definitely try, while Golden Gate Bakery's Egg Custard Tarts are filled with lip smacking goodness. Burritos are a favourite food all over the country and La Taquera's carnitas are actually some of the best in the country. Another favourite is the Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista, an ideal mix of alcohol and coffee. Also, visit Chinatown to have the chopsuey, widely believed to have actually originated here.


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Hotels in San Francisco

Top Hotels in San Francisco

  • Hotel Drisco

    USD 419 /night onwards

  • Monte Cristo

    USD 246 /night onwards

  • Parker Guest House

    USD 209 /night onwards


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