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The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s most famous suspension bridge, is one of the longest in the world. The bridge, built in 1937, serves to link the city with Marin County at the mouth of the bay as part of the U.S. Route 101 Highway. A very nice north overview of the bridge can been seen by exiting at the Sausalito junction of the freeway and passing along Conzelman Road. To see the bridge from it's south base, the visitor should go to Fort Point, at the north tip of the Presidio, formerly a fortified military zone. The Presidio was founded in 1776 by the Spanish as a simple fort made of adobe, brush and wood. It often was damaged by earthquakes or heavy rains. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 when Mexico became independent of Spain. The Presidio was mostly neglected by Mexico. Residents of Alta California, which included the Presidio, debated separating entirely from Mexico. In 1846, Lieutenant John C. Fremont and a small band of U.S. soldiers and frontiersmen crossed the Golden Gate in a boat to “capture” the Presidio against no resistance. A cannon that was “spiked” by Fremont remains on the Presidio today. Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861 by the U.S. Army Engineers as part of a defense network of forts to protect the San Francisco Bay. The chapel and the officer’s club still remain, as evidence of this military period. The Presidio complex is located north of the elegant district of Richmond which is lined along its ocean shore by Lincoln Park. Castro Street and the Mission District are located on the hill-side nearby and originally formed the nucleus of the city. Today it is the site of the Hispanic community, which developed around the site of the Dolores Mission, situated between 16th Street and the corner of Dolores Street. Dolores Street joins Market Street, and leads into Buchanan Street, site of the Japanese Consulate and home to the Japanese community. The beautiful Japanese “Cherry Blossom Festival” is held here every April.
Following Van Ness, one of the main city streets, the visitor descends to Market Street and the Civic Center, which houses various Government, State and Council buildings, together with the more prestigious cultural institutions in the city: the 1915 City Hall, inspired by the Classic-style architecture of the 17th Century; the State Office building; the Main Public Library, the Civic Auditorium and the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, built in 1980 and home to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (closed Monday), located in the vicinity, offers an extensive range of European and American contemporary art. Continuing along Market Street, the visitor arrives in Hallidie Square; from here, Powell Street leads on to Union Square, the commercial centre of San Francisco. Maiden Lane between Geary Street and Post Street, located to the east of the square is considered the most beautiful street in the city. The Circle Gallery built in 1948 by F.L. Wright and inspired by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, is located at N°140. The largest Asian community living outside Asia, lives in San Francisco’s colourful Chinatown. A labyrinth of narrow alleys and streets complete with Buddhist temples, restaurants, shops selling exotic gods and cultural institutions including the Chinese Cultural Center and the Chinese Historical Society Museum, which displays photographs and records, detailing the development of the Chinese district. The Financial District is located at the end of Kearney Street. This zone is the centre for business, banking and commerce and is the site of the city’s skyscrapers: the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building (1929); the Bank of America Building; The Bank of California; the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange and the Transamerica Pyramid (1972), which has now become one of the symbols of the city. North Beach, the exclusive residential district of the city is located a few blocks away from the Transamerica Pyramid.
North Beach is the Italian-American district (aka Little Italy), famous for its restaurants, art galleries and night life. It is also the site of Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church, where mass is celebrated in three languages. Italian, English and Chinese. Here is a list from LikeList of places to check out in North Beach: http://likeli.st/FGvg . Telegraph Hill, offering wonderful views over the city, is located a short distance away. The Coit Tower, built in 1933, stands on the summit of Telegraph Hill and commemorates the heroic work of the city’s firemen during the blaze, which followed the 1906 earthquake. Columbus Avenue, Nob Hill and Russian Hill lie to the west and make up the wealthy and prestigious West Coast district. The area is dotted with Victorian style houses, painted in pastel shades. The majority of the houses date back to the period 1870 to 1906, having miraculously survived the 1906 earthquake. Fine examples include the Haas-Lilienthal House Museum, Whittier Mansion and Octagon House. Nob Hill is also the site of the Neo-gothic style Grace Cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of the Episcople Church of California.Lombard Street, located on Russian Hill, is regarded as the world’s most tortuous street. It has an incline of 40% and a series of 10 curves, which wind their way around among elegant flower-beds. Fisherman’s Wharf, the city’s liveliest district, is located north of Colombus Avenue, in front of the Cannery. This old quay, with its large number of souvenir shops and local restaurants is a firm tourist attraction. The ancient, but fully functional, Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory stands in Ghirardelli Square between Beach, Larkin, North Point and Polk. San Francisco is home to numerous academic institutions, including: Berkeley University of California (1868), San Francisco State University(1889), Golden Gate University(1901) and Stanford University of Palo Alto (1885).
Hotels and lodgingEdit
San Francisco Condos and Vacation Rentals on FlipKey by TripAdvisor are a great alternative for your next stay in San Francisco. Whether you are looking for a luxury villa or a trendy condo near the city's night scene, FlipKey offers great and affordable accommodation for everyone.
Holiday Inn Express San Francisco Airport North 373 South Airport Boulevard South San Francisco, CA 94080 Phone: 650.589.0600 | Fax: 650.589.0682
The Inn San Francisco 943 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110.
Residence Inn San Francisco Airport/Oyster Point Waterfront? 1350 Veterans Blvd, South San Francisco, California 94080 Phone: 1-650-837-9000 All suite hotel accommodations with full kitchens in every room. Located 3 miles from San Francisco Airport (SFO) and offers free airport shuttle service.
Renaissance San Francisco Stanford Court Hotel 905 California Street — Nob Hill, San Francisco, California 94108 Phone: 415-989-3500 The Historic San Francisco hotel is highlighted by luxurious surroundings, contemporary guest rooms, and breathtaking views of the Bay. Dine under the Tiffany-style dome in Aurea, one of Nob Hill's hottest new restaurants and savor the seasonal cuisine that celebrates the Bay Area and California culinary artisans.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis 780 Mission Street, San Francisco, California 94103 USA Phone: 1-415-896-1600 Discover our luxury downtown hotel in San Francisco, CA offering a welcoming ambiance and located near world-class shopping at Union Square, Yerba Buena Gardens and AT&T Park.
JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square 515 Mason Street, San Francisco, California 94102 USA Phone: 1-415-771-8600 The luxury JW Marriott San Francisco hotel near Union Square boasts sophisticated dining and deluxe guest rooms with 24-hour butler service available. Our San Francisco luxury hotel is close to Moscone Center and near Nob Hill and Market Street.
San Francisco Marriott Union Square 480 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 94108 USA Phone: 1-415-398-8900 Discover the San Francisco, California Marriott Union Square Hotel and enjoy luxurious accommodations just steps from the Moscone Center, financial district, Chinatown and AT&T Park.
A spectacular 360° view of the bay can be had from the summit of Twin Peaks. Alcatraz Island stands 2.5 km off the coast. The island is the site of the famous prison, from which nobody ever managed to escape. The prison, which was closed in 1963, opened to the public in 1973 and now forms part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Ferries to the island leave from Pier 41 and 43 and guided tours are held every 90 minutes. It is advisable to book. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is considered the largest urban park in the world. Visitors should stroll along the Golden Gate Promenade, a 6.5 km trail which starts at Aquatic Park and runs to Fort Point and Golden Gate Bridge. A very scenic walk that allows the visitor to admire the Palace of Fine Arts. This semi-circular building, with two large pillars at its entrance, was constructed in 1915. The Golden Gate Park to the west of the city, is one of the most beautiful town parks in the city. The park administration at McLaren Lodge provides information and detailed maps. Guided walks are organised every week-end from May to October. The park houses: the Conservatory of Flowers, a large greenhouse with tropical plants and flowers; the San Francisco Asian Art Museum with a vast collection of Oriental art and the Japanese Tea Garden, a delightful Japanese garden with wooden bridges, ornate arches, pagodas, lakes and statues of Buddha.
San Francisco MuseumEdit
This list on LikeList called "SF Spots" was created by a San Francisco native and described as: "A collection of places you won't want to miss, no matter how well you know the City." Take a look at the list here: http://likeli.st/FGlZ
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to San FranciscoEdit
San Francisco Bay Area Airports
San Francisco International (SFO) - located about 10 mi south of the city. SFO is one of the largest international airports in the world.
Oakland International (OAK) - located in the East Bay provides service to numerous destinations. Major hub for Southwest airlines.
San Jose International (SJC) - located in Silicon Valley, about 1 hour south of San Francisco. Easier access to South Bay from this airport.
Exploring San FranciscoEdit
San Francisco’s public transport system is comfortable and efficient. A first-time visitor must take a ride on the famous trams and trolley cars. And don't forget the ferries! There are a number of commuter ferry routes that provide an inexpensive option for seeing the city and other parts of the Bay Area by water. Tourist ferry operators also offer packaged tour trips to Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Angel Island.
Exploring by Car
If you arrive at SFO airport and will be heading into the city by car, you may wish to take a scenic route that by-passes a lot of potentially congested areas, and gives you a great introduction to San Francisco. Leaving SFO, follow signs for I-380/280, and get on I-280 North. Take this to the first Route 1 exit, for Pacifica, and get off there. About a mile or so up the road exit at Rte 35, Skyline Blvd. Follow this North for around two miles, noticing the architecture along the way — lots of row houses. Look for signs on the left for The Great Highway/San Francisco Zoo, and get into the left lanes, for a left turn at a stop sign.
This puts you on the Great Highway, a divided boulevard running right along the ocean. Stop in at the Beach Chalet and Brewery  at the north end of the Great Highway, and take in some music, a great beer, and a meal, along with great views of the ocean. This historic WPA project building also houses excellent murals from the 1930s.
From there find your way up into the Presidio and catch some unique views of the Golden Gate bridge, as well as touring around the beautiful Presidio grounds. The Legion of Honor  is impressive, and often has art/crafts exhibits on.
There are also a number of great vista points in the city on top of hills that are worth taking in.
Practical information and resourcesEdit
- Currency: the unit of currency is the US$, subdivided into 100 cents.
- Climate: Mediterranean. During July and August, fog is frequently present and a sweater and long pants are necessary.
- Opening hours: The majority of shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm. Many are also open on Sunday at the same times. The banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm.
- Telephones: Telephone code:. 415
- County: The County of San Francisco and the City of San Francisco have identical borders. San Francisco is the only county in the United States wholly occupied by its city.
- View the Frommer's San Francisco 2011 Guide (Amazon)
- View the Lonely Planet San Francisco Guide (Amazon)
City's Best Winners of San Francisco Restaurants on LikeList: http://likeli.st/FAW3
Tea Time — best tea rooms in San Francisco on LikeList: http://likeli.st/FGth
Find more lists of great restaurants, things to do, tips, and unique experiences from people in San Francisco on LikeList, or create & share your own — www.likelist.com
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