Here Are The Best Activities For You While In San Francisco Apr 20, 2017 by Ian (Awesome Escape Blogger)
If you’re planning a trip to the West Coast, you absolutely have to visit San Francisco. If you’re lucky enough to be in town for a convention or a cruise, you'll find a winning combination of great food, shopping, and culture. Just remember that the city is so much more than just its big tourist destinations. Historical neighborhoods like the Mission District, the Sunset District, and the Castro District are full of charming cafes, boutiques, Spanish Revival buildings, and San Francisco’s “Painted Ladies,” those dainty Victorian houses painted in bright colors. Once you get enough exercise, hop on San Francisco’s famous cable cars and head for one of following amazing activities.
Shopping in Union Square or Haight-Ashbury
San Francisco has world-class shopping in Union Square with tons of premier flagship stores and beauty salons, art galleries, and off-Broadway theaters. Book a play or set up an appointment for a new hairstyle at the salon! Union Square is eclectic and ritzy, the epitome of San Francisco. But you should also head over to Haight-Ashbury, the main street for boutiques and independent shops in the city that really represents the region's true hippie and retro styles. Just don’t let the fog and clouds fool you and slap on some sunscreen – the UV is very high and a lot of tourists end up looking like lobsters.
Bike Golden Gate Park
Rent a bicycle (there are several bike shops adjacent to the park) and head into Golden Gate Park. There are lots of paths that wind their way through the fantastic landscape. Visit the lakes and waterfalls, the Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, and a paddock with a herd of wild bison! Renting a bike will let you see everything you want with time to spare if you want to head inside the de Young Museum or Asian Art Museum, both located in the center of the park. On your way out, if you have a car, be sure to check out Ocean Beach on the western end of the park and drive up the Great Highway to Cliff House for great eats and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
See the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most recognizable feature that defines San Francisco. The bridge gets blown up and destroyed in movies all the time, but for now, it’s still standing. The best way to see the bridge is from the Presidio, a park on the southern end of the bridge. Hike up the hills or walk down to Fort Point for bike lanes and some Pacific spray – you can even bike from Golden Gate Park! Also, you can walk across the whole bridge if you’d like, but be warned, you should dress warmly as the bridge is usually foggy and cold! Just be sure to snap a few pictures to make it worth your while.
Check Out Chinatown
San Francisco’s famous Chinatown is the oldest and largest outside of Asia, located on Grant and Stockton Streets. Chinese signs, lanterns, and tiled balconies cover the narrow buildings which creates the feeling of being in an exotic, foreign country. You’ll find lots of unique shopping and souvenirs, as well as great cuisine. Don’t forget to see the famous Dragon Gate on Grant Avenue and Bush Street.
Take a Tour of Alcatraz
For thirty years, Alcatraz Island was home to America’s most dangerous criminals and today, you can take a tour inside this haunting, maximum security prison. Alcatraz was located on a rocky island in the bay surrounded by cold water and treacherous currents. It held notorious bank robbers, murderers, and gangsters inside a forbidding concrete and barbed wire citadel. Many of them tried to escape, but no one ever succeeded! Check out the museum and tour tiny cells that held infamous gangsters like Al Capone and James “Whitey” Bulger.
Cruise the Embarcadero
The Embarcadero is the preeminent stretch of waterfront in the heart of the city with great shopping and even better views. The Embarcadero is home to aquariums, museums, shops, and restaurants. Wherever you go, you’ll just be a minute away from the nearest waterside patio! One thing you have to see is Fisherman’s Wharf located at the north end of the Embarcadero, home to a 19th Century arcade full of vintage games you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Finally, you need to take a bay cruise and see the city from the water.
Time for a Street Party!
If you can plan your trip accordingly, try to make it to the city in time for one of two huge parties! The San Francisco Pride Party transforms the city into one big dance party for the last weekend in June. Bars and patios cover the streets and over 1.5 million people attend to see the gaudy floats and performances. And if you visit in the fall, Fleet Week falls on Columbus Day weekend. Navy ships and sailors come to the city and the US Navy Blue Angels put on a thrilling air show performance. Grab a spot on a rooftop or the waterfront to watch the jets scream by right overhead.
If you find yourself in San Francisco, check out these great activities and let us know what your favorite adventure is in the “City by the Bay.”