San Francisco is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the USA. It is on the coast of California. The city is known for its steep streets with panoramic views of beautiful San Francisco Bay and the surrounding mountains. It has a very moderate climate with warm summers and chilly winters but without extremes. Near San Francisco is San Jose and Santa Clara - the known as "Silicon Valley", home of the largest concentration of electronics and computer firms in the USA.
Tourist attractions in San Francisco include:
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Coit Tower
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- Ghirardelli Square
- Wax Museum
- Lombard Street
- Cable Cars
- Union Square
- Aquarium of the Bay
- China Town
- Napa Valley
Coit tower was built in 1933, by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who left funds to be used to beautify the city she loved. The view from the top of the tower is magnificent. The attraction has a small gift shop adjacent to the elevator. The art deco tower, 210 feet (64 m) of unpainted reinforced concrete, was designed by architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and Henry Howard with murals by 26 different artists Timings: Coit Tower is open from 10am to 6pm daily.
Golden Gate Bridge:
The Golden Gate Suspension Bridge connects San Francisco with Marine County and other districts further north. Before the bridge was built, the only practical short route between San Francisco and what is now Marin County was by boat across a section of San Francisco Bay. Opened on May 28th 1937, the bridge took four years to build, and cost 35 million dollars by the time it opened, the director of the project being Joseph B. Strauss. A monument to its builder, Joseph B. Strauss, stands at the end of the bridge. Strauss constructed more than 400 major steel bridges all over the world, including one in St Petersburg. The splendid scenery all around makes it the most beautiful bridge in the world.
Note: Pedestrians: no charge. Car toll charged.
Alcatraz is a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. As this rocky island, covering an area of some 12acres/5hectares and rising to a height of 135ft/41m. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963. It became a national recreation area in 1972 and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986. Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
To the east of the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in San Francisco is the Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf, with over 200 wax figures. A millennium of history is represented in fabulous scenes from the birth of Christ through the most dramatic milestones in man's history.
Timings: daily 10am - 9pm
A drive over any of San Francisco's mind-blowing hills leaves the impression that building a city here took some guts. San Francisco's Lombard Street must be the most winding, bendy street in the whole world, zigzagging down a hillside in the city. With seven sharp corners in just 200 yards, there is a cable car stop close to the top of Lombard Street, which provides a convenient place to take a leisurely walk down this unusual street. Lombard Street was originally built with so many curves, as the hill was too steep for the city's horses. Lombard Street is "the crookedest [most winding] street in world".
Andrew S. Hallidie was an Englishman who came to California at the time of the Gold Rush. He made steel cables for mining. In those days all transport was horse drawn and when in 1869 Hallidie witnessed a serious accident caused by a horse losing its footing on a slippery road, he conceived the idea of replacing the horse-drawn trams with a more modern system. On August 2nd 1873, after three years experimentation, he successfully demonstrated the first cable car in Clay Street. His invention incorporated a moving cable running in a trench under the street, driven by huge wheels housed in specially constructed engine sheds or "barns". The "gripmen", as the drivers are called, lock the cars in position on the traveling cables; thus held fast they are able to cope with even the steepest of the city's hills. Cable cars are an icon of San Francisco.
Fisherman's Wharf remains one of San Francisco's most popular tourist destinations. The Wharf consists of a long, coast side row of seafood restaurants, street vendors, souvenir stores, and beautiful ocean scenery. Fisherman's Wharf is full of shops and popular with sea lions.
Address: The Embarcadero and Taylor St, San Francisco, California.
Ghirardelli Square: Ghirardelli Square was inaugurated in 1964. Ghirardelli Square is a landmark with shops and restaurants in the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco, California. The Ghirardelli Square gardens were laid out by Lawrence Halpin who also designed the concrete fountain in Rose Court. Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival takes place in early September.
Union Square: Union Square was built and dedicated by San Francisco's first American mayor John Geary in 1850. Union Square is a 2.6 acres (11,000 m) plaza. The name "Union Square" stems from the fact that the area was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the Civil War. Today, this is the United States third-largest shopping area. is the United States' third-largest shopping area. Most stores here feature clothing, salons, upscale boutiques, art works or items for the home.
Aquarium of the Bay: Aquarium of the Bay is located at Embarcadero and Beach Street, at the edge of Pier 39 in San Francisco. Visit Aquarium of the Bay and discover San Francisco Bay's fascinating marine life. Explore the wonders of the Bay as you walk through 300-feet of crystal clear tunnels surrounded by sharks and thousands of marine animals.
Chinatown became established in the mid 1800’s when there was a large boom in Chinese immigration to the United States. San Francisco's bustling Chinatown is a tightly-packed warren of Chinese restaurants, shops, temples and street vendors. The two main streets of interest are Grant and Stockton. Grant is more for the tourists, as the streets are lined with all kinds of shops and restaurants, and banners and lanterns usually are draped across the road. On Stockton you’ll get more of the local flavor, as the streets are lined with authentic Chinese food markets where locals go to do their shopping.
Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are the best-known and largest vine-growing areas in California.
Today Napa Valley features more than three hundred wineries and grows many different grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and other popular varietals. Napa Valley is visited by as many as five million people each year.