This vibrant city has an eclectic combination of steep hills, waterfront, one of the USA‘s most infamous prisons and is also home to the Golden Gate Bridge. As with all city breaks there is plenty to do for the action-packed sight-seer but the charm of the place means that some of your most lasting experiences you’ll get from this city is while you were simply dawdling around soaking up the scenery and vibe.
Must-sees and dos of San Fran
Yes, the bridge. Needless to say that it is not golden, merely painted red, but it still has to rank up there as being one of America’s top bridges. It’s definitely worth walking its length to appreciate it rather than just driving over, but pick a clear day. The bridge may look all moody in the fog but you won’t see a thing shrouded in mist. There is also a small park area at the end of the bridge which is great for snapping those “I went to San Fran and saw the bridge” shots.
Don’t miss a ride on the cable cars. They are not only practical for getting up and over the hills but transport you back in time and offer stunning views of the city and bay area. Living in Sheffield you get used to hills but in San Fran they have definitely supersized the steepness; some streets in the city have a gradient of over 30 degrees. Ensure you pack your comfy walking shoes to see this city!
Lombard Street. This steep, curvy street has 8 hairpin bends in it, and claims to be the windiest street in the world. Driving along it feels a bit like when you have to traipse back and forth in those barriered queueing systems at passport control.
Alcatraz. Yes it’s touristy but who is going to go to San Fran and not bother to visit this former high security prison? Hop on a boat over the icy waters to “The Rock” and take in the view of the city from yet another angle and marvel at the number of films which have been made about this small island which was once home to Al Capone for a stretch.
Eating. This really is a foody city but my tip would be to factor in a weekend brunch like so many of the locals.
If you have a bit longer in the area hire a car and head for the Big Sur with its stunning coastal landscapes, and the magnificently opulent Hearst Castle.
Where to stay
The Nikko is a deluxe high-rise hotel located 2 blocks west of Union Square. The striking entry facade and lobby are done in contemporary Japanese style. The hotel is Japanese owned and operated and very service and business oriented. Elegant guest rooms are comfortable and well appointed. The Nikko embodies Japanese spirit in the heart of San Francisco.
The Holiday Inn Golden Gateway is situated in the centre of downtown San Francisco, just steps away from the California Cable Car turnaround and other public transport links. Located in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood, it has abundant shopping, dining and entertainment choices all within walking distance, as well as some of the cities best tourist hot spots. It is a mere two miles southeast of the Golden Gate Bridge, one mile south of Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, one mile west of the shopping in Union Square and one mile north of City Hall/Civic Centre. The en suite guest rooms are clean and well appointed with all of the amenities you would expect of a hotel of its class, including satellite TV. Guests can enjoy some mouth watering dishes in the restaurant and the bar is a perfect venue to socialise and enjoy a few drinks. The inviting swimming pool boasts spectacular views out over the city and those looking to keep fit can work out in the gym. Conference facilities and wireless internet access are also on hand making the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway an ideal venue for business functions.
The Handlery Hotel is ideally situated with the cable car at our corner to take you up the hill through beautiful Nob Hill and down into Fisherman’s Wharf. Five blocks from the hotel in one direction you will find yourself at the Moscone Convention Center and The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) while a few blocks in the other direction you can sample some dim sum in China Town. For shopping enthusiasts, Macys is right outside our door and with the new Westfield San Francisco Centre, the largest shopping center on the West Coast, you are minutes away from a new wardrobe. Whether you are here for business or leisure, the Handlery is the perfect San Francisco lodging option. On behalf of the entire Handlery family, we look forward to meeting you and well do everything to see that your stay is an enjoyable one. Hotel Amenities Pool Outdoor Heated Pool surrounded by patio garden area with lounge chairs and tables Sauna Contact Concierge for Appointment Wireless Internet access throughout the hotel, including public areas Room Service 7am to 10pm daily Concierge desk Fitness Center available one block and half from hotel (nominal fee) Daily Grill Restaurant and Bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in lobby Union Square location in the heart of the city close to shopping, restaurants and theatres 24 hour Business Center with Internet only terminals (additional fee), copier, fax and scanner free, television and lounge furniture Meeting rooms available Special rates and packages available On-site valet parking with 24 hour in and out privileges ATM onsite Postal Box onsite Barber Shop onsite
Congratulations to Christine Caple who has won herself a £25 voucher for her answer of Bay Bridge, San Francisco as part of this week’s Where in the World Wednesday winner. Beth Bowdler, Alison Rooney, Samantha Shannon, Tracy Fisher and Evette Paterson who have all won an Alfie toy.