San Francisco City Guide

Filed under Destination Guides

Words: Jennifer Campbell

San Francisco; the city by the bay where crooner, Tony Bennett left his heart. A sensory feast of culture and innovation, it is a city of many faces with a personality that’s difficult to pin down. Long defined by its stunning natural setting and for being at the vanguard of America’s counter-culture revolution, Northern California’s golden city pulsates with cool rhythms and a vibrant spirit; cultured on the outset but bohemian at heart.

San Francisco’s star-power of course, is its iconic Golden Gate Bridge along with the once-notorious Alcatraz Island, which now sits silent and haunted; especially when swirling fog from the Pacific Ocean rolls in to Horseshoe Bay as twilight falls. Then there are the great gastronomy experiences, art festivals and museums, clanging cable cars and a squadron of Victorian houses that cling to its impossibly steep hills, the picture-postcard views of a gleaming skyline ̶ from the tallest; Transamerica Pyramid building to the 360 degree panorama at Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, its mystical bay waters and intriguing neighborhoods — places where you can feel the verve of the city anytime during the day or after dark. And with over 18 million visitors flocking to the city each year to soak up its diverse attractions you can also be assured that San Francisco is always on tap in either a neon blaze or gossamer lights, 24 hours a day.

It seems that every seismic rumble in San Francisco prompts another season of cultural innovation, fresh discoveries. But one thing’s for certain; the city by the bay’s bright lights never fails to beckon.

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This guide made possible by Travel Associates

Must Do & Ways to Revisit

With the IT industry, gastronomy and vibrant arts scene at the core of its energised neighborhoods, you can be assured that San Francisco is wired; with social media and apps alerting travellers on where to dine, stay and play.

There’s no better place to start your romance with San Francisco than at the headlands of Marin County as the fog begins to rise above the Golden Gate Bridge.
Looking for somewhere to hang? Ride a cable car along the city’s steep inclines. Also visit the Cable Car Museum at the end of the line on Mason Street.
Spend time on The Rock. Alcatraz Island once was home to some of the country’s most infamous criminals including gangster, Alfonso Capone and Robert Stroud—the “Birdman of Alcatraz”. Closed in 1969, today you can explore its cells and grounds on an audio tour. To reach the rocky island, take an Alcatraz Cruises ferry from Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf and make sure that you buy a return ticket.
Visit North Beach which collides at Columbus and Grant near Washington Square. The district boasts some of the city’s best cafes and eateries (think Vesuvio, Enroci’s, Tosca and Caffe Trieste), specialty shops, bookstores (City Lights – the hallmark of the Beat Generation). No one should miss out on a visit to Club Fugazi, home to the Beach Blanket Babylon revue.
Get cultured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Asian Art Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum — a fine arts centre housed in a copper, stone and glass-clad building in Golden Gate Park.
Visit the Coit Tower to view the city panorama and exquisite murals commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s.
Like its nightlife, San Francisco’s shopping is hardcore. You will find the most exclusive boutiques and stores around Union Square (think Macy’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Barneys all rolled into one). A short stroll down to Market Street will place you right in the fashion arena at Westfield San Francisco, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.
Swing to San Francisco’s nighttime jazz and cocktail scene where new waves of Atlantic and Latin sounds drift through the uber establishments on Market and Mission Streets.
Enter through the Dragon’s Gate at Chinatown on Grant and Bush Streets, where the bustle of San Francisco’s oldest district is steaming with dim sums, medicinal herbs and exotic temples. Visit the Old Chinese Telephone Exchange and the Chinese Historical Society Museum, a mystical journey in itself.
Lauded as one of America’s best dining destinations, choose your gastronomy journey to complement San Francisco’s four seasons. Consider the elegant bistros of Pacific Heights (Florio), acclaimed Michelin-star dining venues (top of the pick – Benu, French Laundry, Restaurant at Meadowood and Saison) to a bucket list of cool eateries in North Beach and Mission District. Cap off the evening with a Golden Dream and panoramic views of the city at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins’ Top of the Mark.
Immerse yourself in the history of the 1906 Earthquake on a Pacific Heights walking tour and view the city’s architectural heritage; its “painted ladies” on Bush Street and near Alamo Square. And if you want to leave the city with flowers in your hair, venture to Haight Ashbury, still the venerable stronghold of the 1960s’ hippy culture.


San Francisco’s boutique hotels were the first to dispense with the old and transform the city into a hotbed of new accommodation experiences. A constant winner of ‘best hotel’ awards, San Francisco still indulges the visitor with old-world glamour and uber cool like no other. Bunk down either in the Financial District (Union Square), South of Market (SoMA) or Fisherman’s Wharf. There are rooms to suit any budget.

Old world meets new at The Ritz-Carlton atop Nob Hill on Stockton. Built over a century ago, the Neoclassical landmark is a modern retreat that ticks every box for five-star indulgence and elegant dining at Parallel 37. Step outside and you’re within walking distance of the iconic cable car lines, (South of Market Street) SoMa and the Financial districts.
A perennial favourite for repeat visitors, the Prescott Hotel is just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Union Square’s theatre and dining district. In 2016, the hotel will reopen its doors after undergoing extensive renovations.
Arty and wired, Hotel Zetta San Francisco is within easy steps of San Francisco’s cool dining scene and SoMa’s attractions.
St Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square is the ultimate five star hotel that adds spectacular views of the city to the guest experience. The likelihood of ‘being seen’ is on the cards at the Starlight Room, where cocktails and torch jazz attracts well-heeled patrons after dark.
Regarded as the San Francisco’s landmark hotel, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill combines unabashed luxury and an impressive pedigree that dates back to the Jazz Age. Its iconic, Top of the Mark rooftop bar is renowned for its wicked martinis as well as a bird’s eye view of the gleaming city.
A new player to town is the St Regis San Francisco. Discreetly modern with ceiling to floor windows of epic proportions, the hotel is also home to Museum of the African Diaspora and is located next door to the prominent Museum of Modern Art.
The Philippe Starck-designed lobby at Clift creates the right mood indigo for a romantic stay. Though minimalist in attitude, its Redwood Room bar and Asia de Cuba restaurant makes up for size and ambiance. Ideal for couples who just want the bare essentials.
Right next to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the SoMa district is the glamorous W San Francisco, chic and spectacular at every turn. Enjoy a signature cocktail at XYZ Bar before you hit the district’s culinary hotspots.
Head to Argonaut Hotel for an affordable stay. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, its nautical-theme rooms immediately places you in the right mindset to explore San Francisco’s bay area before you head downtown on the cable car.


San Francisco’s fusion of new-California and global taste sensations has become more than a consuming obsession. With a slew of Michelin-star restaurants and great neighbourhood eateries, it is a gourmet itinerary that caters to all tastes and budgets. But remember, no guilt.

It’s hard to go wrong with the city’s cafes. For brunch go to Just For You Cafe in Dogpatch for a generous serving of buttermilk pancakes or eggs Benedicts. The uncomplicated setting is a perfect way to start your day full of sightseeing. Other great coffee houses include Sightglass Coffee and Caffe Trieste, where Jack Kerouac and Francis Ford Coppola use to hangout.
Another regular haunt for locals in the Mission District is Plow, a well-priced and talked-about eatery that is famous for its lemon and ricotta pancakes as its biscuits. Even the toppings are organic and fresh.
The perfect chow-down is found at Outerlands at Ocean Beach, where the long wait will reward you with delicious Dutch pancakes with roasted apples or a plate of fanciful scrambled eggs with lashings of bacon on the side.
Foreign Cinema brings the right element of drama to the table. Chomp on jalapenos, roasted peppers and poached eggs beneath a squadron of classic film posters or move outdoors to its courtyard where art-house classics are screened against the back wall. Despite its theatrical element the real focus remains on the incredible Mediterranean dishes.
Mobile food trucks (or gastro-fleets to locals) are now considered de rigueur. Found at SoMa Streat Food Park, Off The Grid and The Whole Beast, you can order anything from scrumptious Mediterranean wraps to mouth-watering squid and Moroccan tacos. Ignore the queue fatigue; all lead lines to something delicious.
The city is packed with star power; from one Michelin stars to three. Try season favourites, Benu and Saison (there are six, three-star restaurants alone in this category). You can also follow the talk of the town at Manresa in Los Gatos where the focus is on a witty presentation of seasoned vegetables. So trendy, you will need concierge to get you a reservation on short notice.
With 50 restaurants receiving coveted Michelin-stars, it’s easy to break out into hives if you are on a budget. Fear not, as San Francisco has other acclaimed eateries and restaurants; many found in the heart of North Beach and around Union Square where the wine is mellow and the prices are just right. Try Boulevard in SoMa and Greens in the Marina District. Gary Danko’s California cuisine is just as tempting at Fisherman’s Wharf along with perennial favourite, Zuni Cafe on Market Street, where its Caesar salad, light pastas and mouth-watering pizzettas allow you to eat and run without guilt.
Adventurous carnivores will sigh with relief at the selection of bistros and menus that dot the city sidewalks. Try the multiple French courses at La Folie in Russian Hill. Or take a cab to Sausalito for the best serving of sushi at Sushi Ran. For signature dishes closer to the city, you should not go past Tataki in Pacific Heights. Delfina offers mouth-watering pizzas in the Mission District. And a fusion of light, Italian-Californian cuisine are the bill-of-fare at SPQR in Pacific Heights, truly one of the city’s major hotspots.
Toast (yes really) has willfully inched its way into San Francisco’s cafe scene, much to the chagrin of the city’s food aficionados. For as little as $4.00 you can order a cinnamon toast or French toast with lashings of calories, or move up a notch to grilled cheese sandwiches, a perfect staple lunch for any visiting Aussie. Go to The Mill, Toast Eatery, Trouble Coffee Co and Stuffed for the best artisanal toast.


Rooftop terraces and uber bars have long been a San Francisco staple but the stirrers and shakers of San Francisco’s cocktail scene are the real stars after dark.

The only game in town. ABV on 16th Street has not only garnered two Spirited Awards for their elegant drinks, the cosy atmosphere is complemented by an equally evocative torch-decor. Try their signature Casino Perfecto (Perfecto (blanco tequila, cappelletti aperitif wine and amontillado sherry) with a side-plate of canapés.
Powerhouse on Folsom Street is a throwback to the smoke-filled, sweaty bars of yesteryear. Sometimes shirtless, the wet-jockstrap competitions makes this gay bar the perfect venue for raucous fun and the occasional free drink. Dress down – not up!
Some bars off Union Square allow you standing room only but there are several where a reservation will confirm you one of the best tables in town. Local Edition offers a vast selection of cocktails and plenty of atmosphere. Across on Kearny Street, Rickhouse woos in the crowds with their sublime concoctions and Scotch whisky.
Irish Pubs are synonymous with America’s after-dark scene, especially in San Francisco where sports and brew go hand-in-hand. Go to Johnny Foley’s Irish House on O’Farrell for live music, whisky and beer as well as The Irish Bank on Mark Lane.
Industrial cool is now the new oasis of calm. Legions of white-collar workers will extol the joys of drinking rare tap beer at Mikkeller Bar on Mason while the Bourbon and Branch draws in discreet patrons looking for ‘curated’ cocktails and dry martinis.
More wine? Speakeasy bars that remain hidden from out-of-towners are just the ticket for travellers looking for local ambiance. Eden Lounge in North Beach imparts an old-world feel while the Hidden Vine simply leaves you sated but a poorer; with the minimum spend a $100. Hideout at Dalva in The Mission district is another that handcrafts its ravishing cocktails. Other gems across town include The Ipswitch, Tivoli Sour Room and Wilson & Wilson, which is set in a fictional detective agency!
The conversation is always at a pleasant hum at the landmark bars. Enjoy the sweeping views at Top of the Mark, The Starlight Room and Jones, which fans out onto a rooftop terrace. And taking inventiveness and panoramas to another level is the iconic Redwood Bar in the Tenderloin.
Happy Hour is thankfully alive and kicking. Travellers visiting the waterfront district can enjoy the best pisco sours at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana for $6.00 while on Columbus the upscale Comstock Saloon mixes Derby cocktails for the same price. For just $1.00, you can join the frolicking fun and steady flow of beer at the Lightning Tavern in Cow Hollow.


San Francisco’s siren call for shopping is a “can’t miss” experience. Overflowing with sublime department stores, designer boutiques, specialty stores and homewares, there will be no time to shop for trinkets.Too tempting? Let’s see how you fare.

  • The holy grail for fashionistas commences at Union Square. Home to the upscale retail chain stores; Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Macy’s, the designer trail continues on to Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, which anchors the top floors of Westfields San Francisco on Market Street. Also clustered around the colossal stores are a heady selection of designer stores including Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Valentino, which just opened its salon doors in 2014.
  • Moving away from the heavy hitters of fashion is Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights. Here the blocks are lined with more cutting-edge designers such as Marc Jacobs, Joie, Alice & Olivia and Jigsaw London while a more off-the-beaten path into North Beach will lead you straight to San Francisco’s more funkier fashion. On Valencia in the Mission District, the fashion-finds quickly shifts gears with bedroom choices; superb cotton sheets, blankets and other desirable accessories at several homeware stores.
  • The city is a serious literary haunt. Start with the legendary City Lights; a Beat Generation landmark in North Beach. Shop around for coffee table books at William Stout and The Booksmith in Haight-Ashbury.
  • San Francisco is a collector’s nirvana for vintage clothing and curios. Hippy chic can be found at Held Over in Haight Ashbury while Mystery Mister in the Mission District evokes Mad Men glamour. And for American kitsch? Search every nook and cranny at Mixed Nuts. In fact, the entire inventory begs to be purchased.
    *The San Francisco Premium Outlet mall is the place to buy incredible designer bargains; Prada, Gucci, Versace, DSQUARED2, Nike, Barneys New York and Emporio Armani. Take the BART from Downtown to the Pleasanton/Dublin station and board the RAPID bus to the Outlets on weekdays. On the weekends take the Route 12 bus.
    *San Francisco Bay Area not only offers picture-perfect views but also first-rate flea marketss. The best treasure-troves are found at Treasure Island and Alameda Point Antiques Fair at East Bay.
    *The city’s IT craze has raised the shopping stakes. Apple now has three locations with a new flagship store soon to open at Union Square in 2016. Just six blocks away is the TechShop, an innovative workshop for IT buffs; with over 1580 square metres of floor space packed with computers and cutting-edge design software. Sign up for a class while you’re visiting.


San Francisco has been beautifying itself for years with street murals, contemporary art houses, fine art museums and eye-popping galleries. But the city’s art scene goes beyond the curated; it flows into the veins of its denizens who live for the moment to hear the cool sound of jazz or attend a street festival bursting with the next generation of local artists.

*Who said pictures can’t talk? View the extensive yet vibrant murals that come to life in The Mission’s exterior walls. You can also visit the Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Centre on your way.
*Every month, the city hosts First Thursday Art; a happy hour for art lovers to view the latest sculpture or canvas. The art party takes place on the first Thursday of each month between 5.30 and 7.30PM.

  • Visit The Beat Museum on Broadway. Here you can delve into the memorabilia and letters of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg and other Beat Generation luminaries. Also a great spot to enjoy live jazz and poetry readings.
    *There are many must-experience museums so start planning. The iconic de Young Museum will soon be outflanked by the new SFMOMA, which has just undergone a restoration project and opens in May, 2016. Keeping company with the giants are the National Maritime Museum, Asian-Art Museum, Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD), Contemporary Jewish Museum, California Historic Society, Legion of Honor and the California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park; an architectural feast which boasts a 1.01 hectare living Eden on its roof. Factor in some extra time to visit its aquarium, earthquake exhibit and planetarium, which propels you through space and time.
    *Watch the San Francisco Ballet interpret the classics; Swan Lake and Nutcracker. If ballet is not for you, there are many theatre productions, operas, musicals, standup comedy acts and concerts that will keep you busy in the evenings. Check your apps for the latest listings at the Golden Gate Theatre, Orpheum, San Francisco Playhouse, War Memorial Opera House and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
    *The city is alive with sound. Cool sound. From the local jazz bars to the international rock acts and visiting virtuosos, there are always headline-grabbing programs or live music every month.
  • Survive the unthinkable – travelling with young children. There is a vast range of entertainment for families. A perfect escape venue is the Exploratorium at the Embarcadero. And if that is not enough, the Walt Disney Family Museum at Golden Gate Park and the Children’s Creative Museum’s interactive exhibits keep the kids happy.
    *An indispensible ticket to the city’s premier attractions is the San Francisco CityPASS. The SF Arts Express is the perfect app to use to find the best venues, links to tickets and other highlights.

San Francisco’s natural setting allows visitors to remain fit. Offering uninterrupted pavements, trails and parklands throughout the inner city, the best trails are the 10 kilometre waterfront promenade and along Ocean Beach; each revealing unsurpassed views of the iconic Golden Gate and Oakland Bridges.

  • WALK San Francisco’s challenging inclines on a walking tour or solo. This way you can experience the city’s architecture and streetscape, up close and personal. Start with Russian Hill before you blaze another route which starts in North Beach at Vallejo Street. If you can manage to catch your breath, crane your neck to peek at the jaw-dropping panoramas. We will understand if you can’t.
  • RUN with the locals. The urban, parkland and ocean trails all spoil for choice but each promises to give you a close encounter with San Francisco’s cityscape and bay area. You could start on the Embarcadero at Fisherman’s Wharf if you’re fast enough to dodge the crowds. Another great trek weaves through Golden Gate Park past the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences. Many locals however prefer Land’s End Trail, which starts at Eagle’s Point Trailhead at California and 32nd Street and blazes to Cliff House. This place is a state of mind.
  • CYCLE the serpentine scenic loops. One of the most popular routes is the Butterlap that links you from the Presidio through Golden Gate Park, past distant views of the bay area including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Along the way you can make several pit-stops at San Francisco’s best coffee houses including the aptly named, Four Barrel Coffee. Other curated routes include Headlands and Paradise Loops. For something different, start your journey in Sausalito and use the ferry to connect you from point to point. There are numerous outfitters on both sides of the bay.

More than a state of mind, San Francisco’s youthful exuberance is reflected by the diverse festivals, entertainment, sporting and cultural events it offers each year. And this is a city that knows how to party!

*With the highest Chinese population outside of mainland China, people flock to Chinatown each March to see the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year in a kaleidoscope of colour and firecrackers. (Held annually from late January to early March – depending on the Lunar Year).
The city’s love affair with the lens also extends to celluloid film. Each year film aficionados flock to the San Francisco Film Festival, the longest running in North America. Jammed-packed with screenings of feature films and documentaries, audiences also hear presentations made by actors and filmmakers. (Held April 2016 – May 2016).
San Francisco’s version of Mardi Gras draws upon thousands of free spirits, with two days of dancing, music and celebration. There’s a Carnaval King and Queen competition and a flamboyant Grand Parade that weaves through the streets of the Mission district. (Held May 2016)
The San Francisco Jazz Festival (SF Jazz) is acclaimed as one of best in the world. A trailblazer for new talent it also draws in the legendary masters. (Held in June, 2016).
Insiders will tell you that the North Beach Festival is considered to be the city’s best. Artistically-driven with street painting, gourmet food booths and live entertainment, the community’s Italian roots and avant-garde spirit lives on. (Held June 2016).
San Francisco Pride is a gay and lesbian celebration, where a huge street party culminates the spectacular two-day event. Guest acts have included Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys. (Held 25-26 June 2016).
Dining out now extends to the great food festivals. The Bay Area bristles during the San Francisco Street Food Festival, a two-day event held that attracts celebrated chefs; each offering their own interpretation of global foods and taste sensations. (Held annually in mid-August).
Puccini in the park? Absolutely. Opera in the Park is one of the most anticipated outdoor venues to the city. Attracting over 50,000 opera buffs each year and held in Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park, the incredible line-up of performances are only matched by the views. Make sure you organise a picnic hamper with a bottle of wine between engagements. (Held in September 2016)
The city’s real cultural hub are the street fairs; most notably the Castro Street Fair where art booths, live entertainment and dancing form the reverie. (Held in October, 2016)

Unplugged or high-voltage, the city has stirred some of America’s greatest artists to unveil its soul in prose, song and film. Of course, San Francisco’s misty bay often plays a supporting role.


  • For the best literary inspiration you must read, San Francisco Stories: Great Writers on the City (edited by John Miller)
    *Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club tells of the epic journey between four Chinese-American women and their daughters in San Francisco and China.
    *Tales of the City: Delicious tales of gay San Francisco and the residents of 28 Barbary Lane during the 1970s. The revelry continues.
    *The Maltese Falcon: Raymond Chandler once said that author, Dashiell Hammett took the murder out of the drawing room and put it back in the allies of San Francisco. It is in the Bay Area where we are introduced to the hard-boiled detective, Sam Spade and the figurine of the black bird in this classic mystery.
  • Jack Kerouac’s The Subterraneans captures the stirring of North Beach’s souls and of a racially-doomed romance with an African American during the 1950s.
    *Very few people remember Jack London’s ties with the city but readers will see that the author found his sea legs in the very dark novel, The Sea Wolf.
  • Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons and Impact is the definitive read on a generation that left their cultural footprint on the city.
  • City by the Bay: San Francisco in Art and Literature (edited by Alexandra Chappell) is a must for those wanting to dip into the city’s cultural scene.
    *The perfectly digestible Zagat’s annual guide and reviews on San Francisco’s premier restaurants and nighttime venues.
    Insight’s San Francisco Smart Guide is ideal for quick references and ‘must do’ experiences.

Vertigo: Like his leading ladies, Hitchcock never made a city more alluring. See Scotty’s apartment on Lombard Street and stroll down to Fort Point where Kim Novak was fished out of San Francisco Bay.
Basic Instinct: The ultimate thriller that turned beautiful, Sharon Stone and the city into superstars.
Bullitt: Watching Steve McQueen drive airborne over Russian Hill’s steep inclines in the famous car chase will make you think twice about hiring a car. See Alcatraz and the Marina District as McQueen’s Mustang whizzes by.
Dirty Harry: We can thank Clint Eastwood’s character, Harry Callahan for making San Francisco’s streets a little safer.
Tales of the City: The mini-series that gave gay San Francisco its cult status on the small screen.
What’s Up Doc? Director, Peter Bogdanovich injects plenty of slapstick into the plot (yes, complete with pie fights)with leading lady, Barbra Streisand. Watch the made car chase through Chinatown, Pacific Heights and Telegraph Hill, before the entire cast ends up in San Francisco Bay.
Mrs Doubtfire: Who could forget Robin Williams portrayal of the dotting housekeeper-in-drag being ogled by the driver of a Bay Area Transit bus?
San Francisco 2.0: Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi takes a critical look at how San Francisco is changing amid the current tech boom. To some, it’s the documentary that bites the hand but this is just between you and I on Twitter, right?
When A Man Loves A Woman: The ultimate chick flick that chronicles Meg Ryan’s fall from grace after a disillusioned love affair with the bottle. San Francisco never looked lovelier.
The Wedding Planner: Who better than Jennifer Lopez to fall into Matthew McConaughey’s arms on hilly, Taylor Street?
Nash Bridges: A decade after Don Johnson folded away his pastel Armani trousers, he moved to San Francisco to solve new crimes in the Bay Area. Great for neighbourhood spotting.
San Francisco’s skyline and bay always enjoy star billing. Watch the city’s lights twinkle in The Graduate, Pal Joey, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Joy Luck Club, Sister Act, Interview with the Vampire, The Sweetest Thing, Escape from Alcatraz: (Clint again) and old re-runs of The Streets of San Francisco with Karl Malden and a very young, Michael Douglas.


If you’re visiting San Francisco on brief stopover, you can still create a full itinerary that takes in the sights and sounds. So rest up before you touch down and then hustle.

8am: Pave the way for health and tranquility. Wake up to the sound of the clanging cable car and head to Chinatown where you can practice the graceful movements of Tai Chi.
9.30am: You will need some rocket fuel to navigate San Francisco’s hills. Order a crêpes and a plate of scrambled eggs at Honey Cafe & Crepery on Post Street off Union Square. For a skinny latte on the run, go to Coffee Shop on Mission Street or the Four Barrel Coffee on Valencia Street.
10.15am: Hop on cable car from Powell Street to Fisherman’s Wharf. Soak up the vista of the Golden Gate and Oakland Bridges before taking the ferry to Alcatraz Island. Make sure you have a return ticket to leave.
11.30 am: Grab your audio head set and view the infamous cell blocks where America’s most hardened criminals were incarcerated. If the chill from the bay doesn’t get you, their stories will.
12.55 pm: Take the ferry back to Pier 33 and stroll the wharf. There are many sideline attractions for children as well and the best are free; the seagulls and barking sea lions that call Fisherman’s Wharf home. Grab some hot, steaming crab ‘to go’.
2pm: Head to Russian Hill and stroll Lombard Street; from atop the hill follow the ‘crookedest’ street down to Coit Tower to view the WPA murals. Mexican notable, Diego Riveria was one of the commissioned artists.
4pm: Take a taxi through Chinatown and weave across the Financial District to Union Sq uare, where you can indulge in high-tea at the Villa Florence. Or head down to the Presidio and stroll through the former military park, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Walk around to Fort Point to take in a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
6.30pm: There is always time to indulge in some shopping downtown. You can start at Union Square’s department stores and end your spree outside the Westfield complex on Market Street.
9pm: The choice of menus are endless. For something casual and delectable, hit the North Beach neighborhood for American-Italian cuisine; fresh and saucy like many of its patrons.
11pm: If you’re drawn to the Beat Generation, rummage through some of the books at the City Light Bookstore before you enjoy a late night coffee and soak up the memorabilia at Vesuvio’s – the onetime haunt of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg.
Midnight: The fog has rolled in but the night is still young. Head to the Barbarossa Lounge on Montgomery Street or the Laughing Budda on Sutter for a cocktail, mixed with a stirring of midnight ambiance.
1.30am: Before you entertain any ideas of goodnight, sweet dreams, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without one last Brandy Alexander and some low-key jazz at Club Deluxe in Haight Ashbury.
am: Bedtime? Not yet. The late night bands are just getting started.
2am: Head back to your hotel for a dreamy sleep beneath the sheets.


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