Exploring San Francisco
Northern California's largest city, San Francisco, is most famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, world-class dining, and status as one of the most progressive cities in the United States. Several sprawling suburbs may belong to the San Francisco Bay area, but San Francisco proper is actually a compact city on the Pacific Ocean and its namesake bay. Most hotels, like Ghirardelli Square's luxurious Fairmont Heritage Place, are situated in the city's northeast section, near the downtown area and the popular tourist attractions of Fisherman's Wharf, and Chinatown.
Accommodations in San Francisco
Budget hotels may seem hard to find in San Francisco, but the Grant Hotel is among the downtown area's most affordable places to stay. Fisherman's Wharf and Lombard Street are also filled with affordable options, but the Monte Cristo Inn is one of many more intimate bed and breakfast offerings. Summer rates tend to be more expensive than rates during other seasons. Go San Francisco Card holders are entitled to free museums, tours, and other city activities, while the Wharf Pass covers admission fees to 10 different Fisherman's Wharf attractions. Two aquariums, the Exploratorium, and the California Academy of Sciences are just a few of the attractions that San Francisco CityPASS holders can see at no extra cost.
Sightseeing in San Francisco
Stunning natural surroundings from all sides are major reasons why San Francisco is such a popular place to live and to visit. Sausalito lies just across the Golden Gate Bridge, but visitors who venture farther north will encounter the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Muir Woods redwood forests. San Jose to the south and Oakland to the east are other popular daytrip destinations. Oakland has much to offer as one of the country's most multicultural cities. The waterfront Jack London Square may be the city's main meeting place, but Lake Merritt is a sprawling tidal lagoon which is popular among boaters, joggers, and cyclists alike. Children may enjoy the Oakland Zoo and the Children's Fairyland fun fair. Some of the state's oldest and tallest redwood trees flourish in Redwood Regional Park.
Transportation in San Francisco
San Francisco's public transit network is said to be more extensive than that of any other American city west of Chicago. San Francisco Municipal Railway, or MUNI, operates the city's famous cable cars and trolleys, as well as more conventional buses and the Metro subway. The Caltrain rail network travels between San Francisco and San Jose, while the BART network links the city with Berkeley, Oakland, and both major Bay Area airports. Cycling and walking across the city's hilly streets provides quite a workout.