The view alone of the Golden Gate Bridge glinting in the sunlight makes catching a cheap flight to San Francisco worth it. A vibrant city made up of several distinct and inviting neighbourhoods, San Fran is renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, and eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. North Beach is one of the most beloved neighbourhoods. Known for its cafe culture, it has everything that has made San Francisco famous: cable cars, roller-coaster-like streets, funky bars and bohemian life. Pacific Heights is swanky with elegant mansions; the Castro is known around the world as a centre for progressive gay culture; Chinatown is the largest of its kind that you will find without flying to Asia; and Haight-Ashbury, no longer the epicentre of hippie culture, still holds on to its laidback vibe even as its streets fill with exclusive boutiques and hip – though pricey – restaurants.
Culture buffs flying to San Francisco have endless venues and activities to choose from on their holidays. Located on a peninsula between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the city is home to the San Francisco Opera, the second-largest company in the United States. The Fillmore Auditorium, a historic music venue, gained fame in the 1960s, housing a stage where now-famous musicians such as Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane first performed and created what is known as the “San Francisco Sound.” The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is home to cherished 20th Century and contemporary works of art. The California Academy of Sciences, a natural history museum, also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. San Francisco is home to great sports franchises such as the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL and two Major League Baseball teams: the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants.
Renting a car in San Francisco is more trouble than it’s worth. The city is covered with steep hills and one-way streets, traffic backups can be a nightmare and parking is scarce and expensive. You’ll only need a car if you’re heading out of town. It’s easy to get around on foot and the public transportation system can get you anywhere else. San Francisco’s main transportation network is the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). It has 100 bus lines with electric trolley buses and the famous historic cable cars. Riding one of the cable cars from the Nob Hill down to Fisherman’s Wharf is an integral part of the San Francisco tourist experience. Check out the Muni Passports that offer unlimited rides for several days. Biking is a popular way to get around, but you’ll have to steel yourself to get up and over some of the hills. The easiest way to get a cab is calling ahead or lining up for one at a hotel stand. To get out of the city, you can hop aboard the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the fast and efficient subway linking the city to the East Bay. You can also catch one of the many ferries sailing for Sausalito, Larkspur and Tiburon.