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Travel guide to flights & holidays in San Francisco.


San Francisco Holidays & Travel Guide

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San Francisco Holidays Overview

San Francisco, (the locals hate it when you call it Frisco), might be huge in terms of the things that it has to offer to its visitors, but it is actually quite small and compact in its size. The city is situated on a 7 x 7 mile square piece of land between the Pacific Coast and the San Francisco Bay. It is known to be one of the main cities of California and is the central of attraction in the Bay Area. San Francisco is popular in the travel world due to its gorgeous Victorian era architecture, hilly terrains, breathtaking scenic beauty, a liberal community and an excellent cultural diversity.

Its patchwork demography offers it with a distinct flavor and it is possible for sights and sounds and even the climate to change as one travels from one block to the other. The summer fog might be a bit of an issue for some travellers, but when one is offered with so much to see and do, who cares about a bit of weather extremities.

Most people used to visit the city to experience its hippie movement in the 1960s and 70s. The hippie movements were soon pushed aside in the 90s by the dot coms and the growth of the Silicon Valley, leaving the city with progressive politics and a liberal society to cling on to. However, it once again started becoming an extremely popular tourist destination in the early 2000s due to its unsurpassed natural beauty, a beautiful peninsular combination of the ocean and the bay and due to its picture perfect sceneries and landscapes.

Today, tourists can not only find scintillating views from dozens of spots such as the Nob Hill, Twin Peaks and the Coit Tower; but also revel in exploring neighbourhoods such as Fisherman’s Wharf and the Union Square. Those looking for something different can always embark on a tour of the famed Alcatraz Island while others can revel in the cosmopolitan culture that the city has to offer and sample the countless restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping arcades and boutiques that the city has to offer.

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San Francisco holidays - Top Places To Go

1. Golden Gate Bridge
Highway 101 North
What is it? The rust-coloured towers, graceful suspension and supportive cables of the Golden Gate Bridge make this famous symbol of San Francisco the most photographed bridge in the world, and visible from almost any high point in the city, although it is often shrouded in rolling fog. Spanning the two-mile (3km) mouth of the bay, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1937 and was built to withstand winds of more than 100 mph (161km per hour). During high winds it can sway up to 27ft (8m) in each direction. One of the great engineering accomplishments of the 20th century, the bridge claims to have used enough wire in its construction to stretch around the earth several times. Walking across the bridge, under the towers that loom 65 storeys above the water, is one of the best ways to experience the immensity of the structure and affords beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline, the bay and its islands. Golden Gate Bridge is also a favourite with the suicidal and the sidewalks are dotted with crisis-counselling phones. Hours of Operation: Access for pedestrians is on the east sidewalk during daylight hours only from sunrise to sunset (April to October from 5am to 9pm, November to March from 6am to 6pm). The bridge is open 24 hours for motorists Phone:(415) 921 5858



2. Alcatraz
What is it? Out in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, or 'The Rock', is one of Golden Gate National Recreation Area's most popular destinations. The notorious escape-proof island with its dreaded maximum-security prison once held the likes of Al 'Scarface' Capone, George 'Machine Gun' Kelly and the 'birdman of Alcatraz', Robert Stroud. With sheer cliffs surrounded by the icy waters of San Francisco Bay, known for its treacherous tides and currents, it was regarded as the perfect place to detain the country's most-wanted and dangerous criminals who were isolated in dark solitary confinement cells. There have never been any successful escapes from The Rock. Visitors can explore the prison as well as learn about its history: from its discovery as a pelican nesting ground, its location as a military outpost, and the years between 1933 and 1963 as an off-limit federal penitentiary. It was also inhabited by Native Americans before being declared a Recreational Area and protected bird sanctuary. Thousands of tourists flock here each year and take the excellent self-guided audio tours that contain commentary from former guards and prisoners about life on the island. There is also a slide show and a tour of the island's ecology and bird life led by a park ranger. The view from the island looking across to San Francisco is awesome. Hours of Operation: The last boat leaves the island at 6.30pm in summer (April to October) and 4.30pm in winter Phone:(415) 773 1188 (ferry schedules and information), or (415) 705 1042 (park information)



3. Fisherman's Wharf
The Embarcadero
What is it? Some people love the bustle of Fisherman's Wharf, while others make a conscious effort to steer well clear of it. But for better or worse it is massively popular, attracting more visitors than any other city sight, with Pier 39 the commercial tourist epicentre. The Wharf was once a fishing port with dozens of boats anchored here. Pier 45 is still used by fishermen in the early morning hours, and fish and seafood can be bought from the Fish Alley Market. There are shops galore, fast food stands and overpriced bay-view restaurants as well as bars, markets, street performers, and an endless variety of activities for the whole family. It is also the gateway for several top attractions: trips to Alcatraz and other bay cruises leave from here; numerous museums include the Historic Ships Pier; and the USS Pampanito submarine that can be boarded from Pier 45. The entertaining colony of sea lions that reside on the floating docks at Pier 39 are one of the best attractions on the quay. Hours of Operation: Phone:



San Francisco holidays - Top Events


1. Uncorked!

From 2007-05-19

To 2007-05-19

What is it? The San Francisco Wine Festival is a celebration of wine, providing opportunity to taste, learn about and enjoy wines produced from San Francisco's local wine-making region. Various events take place along Beach Street including chef demonstrations, wine tasting seminars, and a chocolate and wine pairing seminar. Where is it? Ghirardelli Square



2. The Crab & Wine Marketplace

From 2007-02-23

To 2007-02-25

What is it? The climax to the annual month-long festival in celebration of San Francisco's Dungeness crab is the final weekend at the Crab & Wine Marketplace, featuring food, wine and entertainment. Highlights include gourmet crab specialities, fresh seafood and wine tastings, chef demonstrations, live music and performances, arts and crafts, and a children's crab-themed recreation area. Where is it? Fort Mason Center



3. San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration

From 2007-06-01

To 2007-06-30

What is it? As the world's most gay-friendly city, San Francisco celebrates gay and lesbian pride with a festive procession and numerous music stages. The parade features hundreds of themed marchers and floats, after which thousands of people from every walk of life gather at the Civic Center to carry on the party in front of one of the many music stages. The area is lined with stalls selling everything from food and drink to crafts and souvenirs. Where is it? Market Street, from Embarcadero to the Civic Center



4. Carnaval

From 2007-05-26

To 2007-05-27

What is it? Every Memorial Day weekend, the Mission District hosts San Francisco's version of the Mardi Gras celebrations with music and dancing, food and craft stalls, contests, street performers, and a parade with lavish floats, marching bands and colourful costumes. The Grand Parade is an exotic celebration of different traditions and cultures from around the world, with floats and dancers depicting vibrant multi-cultural themes, from samba and Chinese Lion dancers, to African drummers, and accompanied by the hip-swinging music of Latin America, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Where is it? Mission District



5. Chinese New Year Parade

From 2007-03-03

To 2007-03-03

What is it? The New Year Parade is the highlight and focus of the two-week Chinese New Year celebrations that includes the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, the Community Street Fair and the New Year Flower Market. A San Francisco tradition since the 1849 Gold Rush, the Parade is the biggest celebration of its kind outside Asia and is listed as one of the top 10 parades in the world. Hundreds of spectators gather to watch as colourful floats, elaborate costumes, firecrackers, stilt walkers, lion dancers and marching bands go by, and wait in expectation for the world-famous annual Golden Dragon, which is 160ft (49m) long and takes over 100 men to carry it through the streets. In 2007 the Year of the Pig begins. Where is it? Chinatown




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About This Page

Information on San Francisco Holidays, San Francisco Hotels, Holiday Packages in San Francisco (city breaks, short stays, all inclusive and luxury deals). Also provides links and resources to Air Travel, Flights and San Francisco Car Hire Options

Holidays Travel Guide content part sourced rom, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.