If you are planning to visit California, grabbing some cheap flights to San Francisco is a must. It may no longer be the city where you need to “be sure to wear some flowers in your hair,” but it is still one of those cities that inspired so many crooners, bluesmen and other assorted musical folk, that it’s kinda impressive just on that score (so to speak)!
So if you recognised the lyrics above, you might wanna go on a pilgrimage to Haight-Ashbury, the site of the hippie counterculture in 1960s. Nowadays like most such places, it’s just a nice neighbourhood to hang out in, shop for all things vintage, get a cappuccino and people watch. Although the Church of Coltrane is pretty special, if you have the time to stay for a three-hour tribute service to John Coltrane…
In terms of iconic SF attractions, the ultra-red and confusingly named Golden Gate Bridge is of course a great photo opp, and the wholesome set will also want to visit Alamo Square Park where you can see Victorian terrace houses against a modern city skyline, a spot so well popularised by the sitcom Full House, also a nice photo to send grandma. Everybody is bound to want to ride the cable cars – this city is quite hilly, so walking can tire you out. Although, if you get caught on the historic loop one, everyone will know you’re a tourist J!
Maybe it’s just the California weather, but people in this city just seem chilled, friendly and happy – it could also be that I’ve been spending way too much time in New York, where relaxing somehow is not a top priority.
For those looking to get drunk in San Francisco, Nancy Sinatra style, a good place to do it is where the beatniks did it, at Vesuvio Café, a historic bar in North Beach, just opposite the famous alternative City Lights Bookstore. If you’re travelling with kids, North Beach is a good place to take them to have a gelato, as it’s SF’s Little Italy. Afterwards make sure to let them run wild at the Exploratorium, they’ll have tons of fun with all the hands on stuff to look at and experiment with.
If you’re of a more sombre disposition, you can hop on a tour of Alcatraz, the infamous island-prison, or opt out to go seal spotting on Fisherman’s Wharf instead, like me.
The artsy-fartsy crowd will definitely enjoy The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), de Young Museum and the Asian Art Museum. Speaking of Asia, San Francisco’s impressive Chinatown is well worth a visit. It’s the oldest one established in America, and yes, sorry to burst your bubble, it is here, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory specifically, that fortune cookies actually come from.
You’ve been warned: you might just leave your heart in San Francisco, it’s easy to do…
Author Bio: Patricia Bieszk is a freelance writer and writes for Flight Centre with great deals on flights to San Francisco. When not writing about her adventures, which usually keeps her on the move, you can find her at the local coffee shop, documenting arts events, penning film and restaurant reviews and planning her next big globe-trotting conquest.