San Francisco Cruises
The hilly streets of San Francisco in northern California, is the iconic image of this city sat on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the eponymous Pacific Ocean Bay. Known for its year-round fog, legendary Golden Gate Bridge, trolley cars and colourful Victorian houses, San Fran is a city of free thinkers and crafty inventors.
Almost perpetually in the clouds over 43 hills, San Francisco’s cable cars provide easy access to the fantastic panoramas from Russian and Nob Hills. Equally exhilarating are Telegraph Hill's garden-lined stairway walks and blustery walks around Land's End. The gardens, trails, museums and festivals of Golden Gate Park are also worth uncovering.
The city’s most distinctive skyscraper is Transamerica Pyramid, while its most notorious former prison, Alcatraz Island, sits menacingly in the bay. Other central attractions include Dolores Park, the tropical heat inside the California Academy of Sciences' Rainforest Dome, plus the scenic Pier 39. [ReadMore]
Food in the Bay Area is a serious, lavish – and often pricy – affair. With the most restaurants and farmers markets per capita in North America, supplied by pioneering local organic farms, San Francisco sets the standard for foodies. Add to that Napa Valley Wine Country and local distillers providing the finest tipples around, digesting all that this uniquely crazy city has to offer, makes for a truly remarkable experience.
Golden Gate Bridge
Glowing red at day and showing visitors that its name doesn’t just refer to the body of water it bridges when its colours seem to burn deep gold under the sunset. Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognisable features of the entire United States, let alone San Francisco. Spanning, majestic and quite stunningly red, visitors are never quite prepared for the magnitude of this legendary landmark no matter how many times they’ve seen it already in films.
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was perhaps the most notorious prison in the world at the time when it operated. This prison housed the toughest criminals in its time, the frigid and hazardous waters of the Bay isolating the island from the mainland almost as effectively as the locks and bars themselves. This historic landmark has a dark but rich history and is one of the most notable tourist destinations in California.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, Fisherman's Wharf is packed with things to see and do and has a stunning amount of variety on offer. From the sea lions basking on Pier 39 to the oddities tucked away in the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, the imposing USS Pampanito (a decommissioned WWII era submarine) and the historic fleet of the Maritime National Historical Park, there's truly something for everyone here.
The last manually operated cable car system in the world, three of the 23 original lines remain in operation. Still used to an extent by commuters, these cars mainly serve as one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city. Pulled by underground cables which
are connected by means of a grip controlled by the operator, riding this old yet effective transportation system is a step back in time.
The original Chinatown; the oldest in the States and the largest Chinese enclave outside Asia. Actually one of four Chinatowns in San Francisco alone, this is the one people mean when they use the name. This enclave draws more tourists each year than the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, continuing to retain its own customs, social clubs, languages and identity. This area includes some recognisable locations like the Chinese Telephone Exchange and Ross Alley, both much featured in films.