Are You Going To San Francisco

Why San Fran?

The legendary San Francisco – home to the Summer of Love, gay pride and Mrs Doubtfire – is a throbbing, cultural hub of diversity and individuality. Here, where the dense fog rolls in every afternoon at 3pm, you can spend your days on your back in the tranquillity of the park, wafting in the breeze on the Golden Gate Bridge or loosening the purse strings in Union Square. There’s so much to do. The abstract architecture is breath-taking and so characteristic of this city; if you’re gonna be here, you’ve gotta be yourself. It’s technically a ‘city’ and yet the natives pass each other in the street on their lunch hours and say hi, almost as if this were an intimate village in the country. But it’s not boring; every corner of this place harbours something shiny and new, a completely different adventure.
golden_gate_bridge

Transport

Megabus has made this a prime destination so getting into the city from anywhere else in California is ridiculously cheap. San Francisco is modest enough to walk around but your legs might fail you on those steep hills. Fear not, taxis are cheap and very cheerful and the meter won’t rocket on long drives because there are none. Buses arrive every 5 minutes and they always seem to be the ones you want, but don’t rely on the public bus service maps, they’re unintelligible. Grab a tourist friendly one from your hotel or ask them where you can get one. Trams are iconic and fun but be prepared to hang on for dear life as they’re always brimming. You’ve got to do it, though.

The sights – a walking tour

Once you have collated all of the things you want to do and see, you can easily plan your own walking tour of the city. To really make the most of the picturesque surroundings, pack a lunch and hoof it. Spend your first day shuffling along the piers, beginning at the famous Ferry Building (which pans in at the start of almost every movie set in San Francisco), ending with the frenzy of Pier 39. This part of town is like a Victorian seaside, complete with candy floss machines, hot dogs, black and white photo booths and an old penny arcade. Its archaic ambience is infectious and it’ll grant you a sense of the San Francisco from days gone by. Be aware that Alcatraz has a standard two week waiting list which increases to five during the summer months -book in advance on the internet. One of the highest points of the city, and where you can spot those famous, colourful houses, is Alamo Square. Photo opportunities are best at sunset.

san fran pride parade

The Food

1950s diners pepper the streets of San Francisco, especially around Union Square where they fill up quickly once the shoppers have had enough. It’s worth getting your hands on a coupon leaflet for 20% off most meals in most places. A plethora of sea food is sold in abundance down on the piers but be careful with the cost.; you’re paying for the location rather than the grub and this can sting when you’re starving and settling for an $8 mini hot dog. For some fantastic alternatives, take a stroll around the residential areas; Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Greek and burger joints are authentic, cheap and delicious.

fishermans wharf san fran

But most of all, relax! This is the most chilled out place you’ll ever hang out. Get some flowers in your hair, forget what day it is, lose yourself on the bridge and surrender yourself to all the love. Man.

About sara_d

Sara is a high school English teacher, travel blogger and global traveller!