San Francisco is the gem of Northern California and a great place to visit. Aside from the classic sights and icons of the city, like the Golden Gate Bridge and the steep, winding route of Lombard Street, the city has a lot to offer. If you’re thinking of heading to the City by the Bay, here are some things you shouldn’t miss.
1. Ferry Building Marketplace
The Pacific Northwest has an abundance of excellent open air markets full of fresh produce, local confections, crafts, and other delights. San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace offers the highest quality goods in the city, allowing you to taste things you can’t find anywhere else. It’s definitely a refreshing change of pace from your average grocery store. There’s nothing quite like chatting with the knowledgable vendors for a more personal shopping experience.
2. Palace of Fine Arts
Much more than your typical city park, the Palace of Fine Arts echoes the look of Ancient Roman architecture and rests on a lush, green landscape by the water. As you spend your day walking between popular destinations like Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park, the Palace is a great place to relax and enjoy some fresh air. It’s ideal for picnics or just lounging at a leisurely West Coast pace. (Image by rjptn )
3. Golden Gate Park
Speaking of that most famous bridge, the long park at Golden Gate has a lot to offer. You can find an excellent hotel close to Golden Gate Park, like the highly acclaimed St. Regis Hotel. It’s always encouraging to find a museum that’s a work of art itself, which is what you’ll find at the beautiful Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Classical architecture and a variety of sculptures out front make this a unique aesthetic experience, while the combination of enduring and modern art inside is among the best collections in the world. Once you’re done at the museum, the nearby Japanese Tea Garden offers delicious food and a serene place to enjoy it.
4. Muir Woods National Monument
While the bridge and the hilly city streets are urban icons of San Francisco, nothing says Northern California nature like the towering redwood trees. Muir Woods National Monument is just a short drive north of the city. It features some of the nation’s oldest and largest trees in stunning groves, as well as beaches close by for swimming and sunbathing. There’s also a convenient park-and-ride shuttle in nearby Sausalito. (image by Ray Bouknight)
5. Angel Island
Visitors to San Francisco often find themselves on the famed prison island of Alcatraz, but there’s another, more positive locale in the Bay. Angel Island has been called “The Ellis Island of the West.” Nearly 200,000 immigrants from China, Japan, and other Asian countries entered the United States through Angel Island, even leaving poetic messages on the walls of Immigration Station. It’s a unique slice of San Francisco history.
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There are even more great attractions in San Francisco than these, but exploring the city is half the fun. While you’re checking out some of the above points of interest, keep your eyes peeled for other gems all around the Bay Area.
Featured image by Darvin Atkeson
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