Introduction to San Francisco

There's something about San Francisco. A Californian city that brings out inspiration and motivation in all that pass through it. It's been responsible for numerous revolutions, movements and bee-ins, from the beat writers of the 1950s to the hippies of the 1960s, the homosexuals of the 1970s and the technology workers of the 1990s. Each group bringing forth new ideas and beliefs that have since ingrained themselves within the identity and personality of San Francisco - one that is forever open minded and happy to embrace you with open arms.

Like most big cities, San Francisco has its fair share of icons; The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the cable cars. But for every typical tourist attraction, there's a place where you can truly experience that special San Fran something that has long lured locals to its shores (that and the weather). You can feel it while sipping coffee in the Castro, browsing through vintage records at Amoeba Music in Haight- Ashbury and watching the street performers at Fisherman's Wharf. It's a feeling of bohemia, acceptance and optimism all soaked in sunshine. It's a feeling that's addictive. But eventually you'll have to leave it where it belongs (along with your heart) - in San Francisco.

Must Do

Big but manageable, San Francisco is a city that looks best from the outside. Accordingly, much of the top things to do in San Francisco take place in the great outdoors, basking in the sun and taking in the bay views. At the top of that list is the city's most famed landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, which you'll find is more orange that gold. Also on the bay, the infamous Alcatraz Island and jail of the same name continues to lure travellers with legends of notorious criminals.

Even the transport in San Francisco is all part of the experience. Catch the city's iconic trolley to the Castro where the area's long-standing gay community has morphed the neighbourhood into a trendy hangout of cafes, designer stores and bars for all persuasions. Then there is Haight-Ashbury, home to 1967's Summer of Love, previous home of Janis Joplin and a hub for counter culture ever since. Get your hipster on at Amoeba Music, embrace a Rockabilly style at one of the vintage stores on upper Haight Street or snap a picture perfect moment outside the pastel coloured Painted Ladies.

For more must-dos in San Francisco check out our things to do page and start planning your San Francisco holiday.

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