Places to visit
1. Pier 39.
Although there are many active piers in San Francisco, Pier 39 continues to be one of the most popular for tourists. With shops, restaurants and more, Pier 39 is always busy with people looking to get their first taste of the city. The sea lions are often visible, lounging on the nearby wharf. There is also an aquarium featuring creatures from the bay and a historic carousel.
2. The Golden Gate Bridge.
There are few things more iconic than the Golden Gate Bridge. This massive suspension bridge spans over the bay and has been named one of the wonders of the modern world. Built in the 1930s, this impressive structure remains a defining feature of the city. While it can be time-consuming to cross the bridge on some days, it is worth finding a good view. Two of the most popular spots include South Vista Point and Fort Point. Some people also choose to walk or bike across the bridge, which is a good alternative during rush hour.
3. Ghiardelli Square.
Located near Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiardelli Square is a historical gathering point in the city. The square is often crowded thanks to the popular eateries and shops that call the area home. The square is named for the D. Ghirardelli Company, which produces delectable chocolate and is still located in the square today. There is also a fountain and a clock tower, and Ghiardelli Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
4. Alcatraz Island.
Although most people come to the city for leisure, that has not always been the case. Alcatraz Island is situated just off the coast and was used historically to house some of the most notorious criminals in America. Due to the cost of operating the facility, Alcatraz was shuttered as a prison in the 1960s. After that, the island was abandoned until it was used by Native Americans during a protest. Eventually, Alcatraz was declared a historic landmark and now operates tours for guests.
5. Hippie Quarter.
To start off a day about the city, be sure to try Mama’s. Located on Washington Square, Mama’s commands huge crowds every day it is open. Some of the most popular menu items include French toast and eggs Benedict. Mama’s has been open for over 50 years and continues to cater to the crowds with hearty meals that are both familiar and unexpected. In addition to the menu for breakfast and lunch, there is also a popular bake shop located in the restaurant featuring a wide range of baked goods.
For a midday break, try the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. This quintessential eatery is a high-end treat, but many guests find the experience worthwhile. Not only is the dining room immaculate, but the food is expertly prepared and diligently served. More than all that, the ambiance is impossible to beat. The restaurant is located at the top of the building, giving diners a view of the exquisite glass dome. The dining area also features a view of the atrium, which looks down four floors over the rest of the building.
Tea is not considered an American pastime, but tea rooms are easy to find in San Francisco. When looking for things to do during a visit, trying tea time can be a nice treat. While there is ample information about many tea rooms in the area, one of the best places to start is Lovejoy’s. Lovejoy’s strives to be cozy and eclectic, featuring mismatched decor and homemade touches. There is a full range of options to consider for tea, including bottomless pots, sandwiches, fruit and more.
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