San Francisco travel statistics show that this Northern Californian metropolis is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. The city has a large number of world-renowned landmarks, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island, the Transamerica Pyramid to the classical design of the Palace of Fine Arts, created for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, and the Coit Tower crowning Telegraph Hill. People from all over the world love to travel to San Francisco because of its scenic location, the mild climate and the interesting topography of the city, with its steeply inclined streets. The article links on this page will provide you with some great travel ideas for San Francisco.
The City by the Bay has a very interesting history. From its founding in 1776 by Spanish Colonists, the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, the Earthquake and Great Fire of 1906 that destroyed more than three quarters of the city, San Francisco has seen its share of historic trials and tribulations. It became the backdrop to the 1950s Beat Generation and the birthplace of the Hippies in the 1967 Summer of Love. One of the most liberal cities in the world, San Francisco also became the epicentre of the gay rights movement in the 1970s and the victim of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. Today, the city has an ethnically diverse population and the metropolitan area is home to more than 7 million people.
Many travellers are drawn to some of the other famous attractions in San Francisco: for example Fisherman’s Wharf, which has many attractions such as countless seafood restaurants, Ghirardelli Square, the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Aquarium of the Bay. Pier 39, a shopping centre with various restaurants that are located on a pier, offers a view of the famous California sea lions that are lazing around on the wooden docks of the marina. The San Francisco cable cars are a truly unique attraction in the city and a fun way of getting around. Hobby photographers love the “painted ladies”, a collection of colourful Victorian homes near Alamo Square. Lombard Street is the world’s most crooked street and Filbert Street offers steep inclines in excess of a 31% grade. A harbour tour is an absolute must and an excursion to the infamous prison of Alcatraz is on the San Francisco travel wish list for many.
Among the great San Francisco travel experiences has to be a visit to the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. North Beach is the city’s Little Italy and was also the hub of the 1950s Beatniks. Founded in 1850, San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest and one of the largest Chinese neighbourhoods outside of Asia. Pacific Heights features impressive and expensive Victorian homes that were not destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. Haight-Ashbury is a former centre of the Beatnik and Hippie movements while the Castro District is the hub of the gay community. The Mission District is the city’s centre of Latino Culture and home to one of the oldest buildings in San Francisco: the Mission Dolores Church.
A list of San Francisco travel opportunities also includes some top-notch museums, among them the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Asian Art Museum; the Legion of Honour with works by Rodin, Rembrandt, and Monet; the Asian Art Museum; the de Young Museum with its African and Pacific art exhibitions; the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum; and the San Francisco Cable Car Cable Car Museum.
Throughout the year, the San Francisco travel calendar also offers a large number of festivals, for example the largest gay pride parade in the world, the Chinese New Year Parade in February, Carnaval in the spring, the Cherry Blossom Festival in April, the San Francisco Blues Festival and many others more.
For those who want to do excursions outside of San Francisco, there are many near and far destinations for which San Francisco is a great home base. From the attractive waterfront community of Sausalito and the Muir Woods National Monument to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys farther out, the opportunities for San Francisco travel excursions are great. Even farther afield are popular destinations such as Monterey and Santa Cruz to the south and Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe to the east.
A trip to San Francisco will reward you with many things: a vibrant cosmopolitan city; amazing, world-famous landmarks; great cuisine and an amazing array of outdoor recreational opportunities.