By Shereen Shabnam
As one of the most fascinating and eclectic cities in the world, San Francisco has always drawn me in with its charm and history each time I visit my relatives. Since San Francisco’s attractions are spread out, the best way to see the attractions is to have road trips. Luckily my base is always in Hayward with my favourite aunt and over the years, the attractions below have been the ones I love going back to.
The Golden Gate Bridge
As one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, The Golden Gate Bridge is a must visit for a walk across the bridge, for amazing pictures and onwards to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which has a waterfront promenade and a number of hiking trails.
The Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is majestic and the Corinthian columns always catches my eye each time I am in San Francisco. The lagoon area is perfect for a leisurely stroll or for a picnic on the grass. It always has interesting events but my favourite stop is always the theatre.
Home to a former federal prison that had some of America’s most notorious criminals in the past, Alcatraz Island is a national landmark that tourists can explore. Take a guide when taking the tour of the Island so that the rangers can give you historical information with some interesting stories thrown in.
This waterfront is always my definite destination as I love spending time people watching at the cafés on the pier as well as enjoy their famous clam chowder soup with sour dough bread. The street performers are great and I love the souvenir shops that have a wide variety merchandise including my favourite Ghirardelli Ice Cream and chocolate shop. If you love cruising, head towards San Francisco Bay to see the city from the water.
Cable Car Tours
Cable cars are fun to ride and a great way to explore the various neighborhoods of San Francisco. These tram-like vehicles are the only public transport system to be declared a historic monument and they save you loads of time walking up and down the city’s hills.
Museums and Science Centres
After opening a science exhibition at the Tech Museum in San Jose, I dedicated one of my visits to San Francisco to interactive centres. I started my tour with a visit to the Exploratorium, a popular science museum with a huge number of diverse exhibits and hands-on learning experiences designed to educate and entertain.
Next up was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art visit which took a lot longer with 10 floors, and a large gallery space that took half a day. The next day I ventured to the Young Museum of fine arts that features a wide variety of exhibits from different geographical locations.
While most visitors head to the Napa Valley for a bit of country air, there are other options as well. One year we decided to escape to Solvang and do the ‘Sideways Tour’ on our own by following the trail exactly as it was done in the award-winning film ‘Sideways’. The scenery was as gorgeous as Napa Valley and we got to see a new part of California.
The San Francisco Chinatown is the most famous in the United States and the most vibrant with the best places to eat Chinese cuisine, get souvenirs and people watch. I would suggest as least dedicating half a day to get a feel of the area.
Overall, the entire California is an amazing destination but I have a soft spot for San Francisco because of my many relatives living there and the fact that it offers so many attractions and entertainment within and beyond the city.