San Francisco

Richard Harbourne 20 March 2010
March 2010 was my second visit to San Francisco which was part of a multi centre taking in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego.

San Francisco is around half hour from the international airport and is easily accessed by airport taxis or another way of getting into town would be the train which is fast efficient and cost effective.

San Francisco has many attractions and has something for everyone, the best area to stay would either be downtown San Francisco my favourite area is Fishermans Wharf which is a very big tourist attraction and has a huge harbour which homes hundreds of sea lions. There are plenty of choices for accommodation with the down town area being the cheaper end of the market and Fisherman's Wharf slightly more expensive.

When staying in San Francisco I recommend you visit Alcatraz and do the guided audio walking tour. It really is a fantastic day out to get there you have to take a boat from the main harbour. My tip is to either pre book the tour before you get there or book it as soon as you get there as the tours to Alcatraz are always very popular and you may be disappointed if you do not book early enough.

There is also a boat trip you can take which goes around the island and also under the Golden Gate Bridge but this is a completely separate tour. There would be no real need to do this tour as well unless you are not going onto Alcatraz itself.

If you have a car hired then this will be a great way to experience driving over the bridge and stopping off at various different photo spots for plenty of pictures. Alternatively you can take a bus tour which will do the same thing but it is much better if you have your own transport.

When visiting the downtown or Fisherman's Wharf depending on where you are staying I recommend you take the old fashioned cable car. It runs on rails just like a train or a tram but its open so you can sit and see the amazing sights and San Francisco city as you go up and down some of the steepest roads in the world. The cable car is operated by a driver also and you can watch how it is all operated.

San Francisco is great for shopping as there are many designer stores and the prices are much cheaper than back home, so make sure you have room to do some shopping.

Other places to visit would be Napa Valley Wineries and Yosemite National Park.

And now for the best bit – we hired a convertible and drove the coastal road from San Francisco stopping in Monteray, Carmel, and Pacific Grove which are all part of the Monteray Peninsula. The hotspots here are the Monteray Bay aquarium, Cannery Row, Pebble Beach (golf enthusiasts will love this) and the famous 17 mile drive. Next stop was San Simeon where you can find Hearst Castle.

From there we drove to Santa Barbara staying a few nights there and then on to Santa Monica for 1 night. There is plenty of nice accommodation on this route and we stayed mostly in B&B’s which were like small boutique hotels and very unique.

You could drive from San Francisco in a day driving the coastal road but I recommend spreading it out over a few days as there is so much to see.

This is a place you have to visit!