The Haight-Ashbury district is a stark contrast with its incredible Victorian houses that remind you of American series of yesteryear. Many of these often colourful and ornate houses unfortunately fell victim to one of the large earthquakes that have hit San Francisco in past years.
Would you rather see the diverse city from above? Coit Tower, a viewing tower in the north east, is a good option. The Twin Peaks in the south also offer an impressive view at a height of 270 m. The public are not allowed to go up the Transamerica Pyramid, but it is still worth a visit. The skyscraper forms a point at the top, as if it really could scrape the sky.
There is another sightseeing attraction right on the coast, namely the port district of Fisherman’s Wharf. Along with lots of shops, street artists and excellent fish and seafood restaurants, you can also visit Pier 39 with its fairground rides and an aquarium. By the way, don‘t be surprised if you hear a strange grunting and squealing sound and notice a fishy smell – over 1,000 sea lions have been living on the jetties here since 1989 and have become a real attraction.
You can also head to the famous Alcatraz Island from Fisherman’s Wharf. Until the 60s, the island had a high security prison, where such renowned gangsters as Al Capone were imprisoned. Many parts of the prison are now open to visitors. Tip: the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park awaits you back in the port district. This combination of a maritime museum, academic library and a historical fleet is definitely worth seeing!
Do you like trying things out yourself? Then head over to the Exploratorium. This science museum is all about learning through interactive media. Touching and experimenting is encouraged!
For example, you can try and feel your way through a maze in the dark. Fans of traditional museums can enjoy contemporary art ranging from photography to sculptures in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and then afterwards admire the city skyline from the brilliant roof garden.
A trip to San Francisco would not be complete without visiting THE landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. Why not rent a bike and ride across the bridge? That way you can stop whenever you want to enjoy the view and take some great photos! The bridge also has a namesake, the Golden Gate Park, which is actually even bigger than Central Park in New York! But it needs to be spacious because in addition to expansive park areas and gardens there are also lakes, countless sports facilities, lots of museums and an aquarium.
After all that sightseeing you will surely be in need of nourishment. At Louis‘ Restaurant American diner you can munch on French fries, burgers & co right on the coast whilst watching the waves breaking on the beach. The diverse population of San Francisco, ranging from Japanese and Russian to German, Italian and Indian, means that there are all sorts of delicacies on offer all over the city.
During the “Off The Grid” event numerous food trucks with all sorts of tasty treats gather at changing locations so that you can try a bit of everything. At Fisherman’s Wharf you can also try one of the city’s specialities, crab soup in sourdough bread. The soup is served in a hollowed out sourdough loaf.
To avoid the masses of tourists and long queues, travel in the off-peak season outside of summer. That way you can also avoid the thick fog that often blankets the city in summer. Swimming is not particularly recommendable due to the cool temperatures of the ocean and the strong currents.
Incidentally: if you keep your eyes open you can find a number of locations that you will already know from films, because blockbusters such as The Incredible Hulk and The Pursuit of Happyness were filmed in San Francisco!