“My husband and I were looking
the perfect romantic weekend getaway
and Travel Bargains made it happen.
For less that what most people pay for one
night at a hotel, we were able to stay at
the Sheraton on Fisherman’s Wharf for 2
nights and 3 days. And the dinner and Bay
Cruise for two was a nice touch too. Count
on us to spread the word!”
Michele & Charlie Bennett,
Las Vegas, NV
THINGS TO DO
SQUARE The crown jewels of San Francisco's Victorian
treasures, this row of houses called "Postcard Row"
is one of the most-photographed residential streets in America.
Bounded by Webster, Broderick, Oak and Golden Gate streets,
Alamo Square Park looks out over the downtown area to the
east, framing these turn-of-the-century beauties against a
backdrop of modern skyscrapers. A number of them are open
to the public either on private-home tours or as B&Bs.
Once the chilling destination of maximum-security convicts,
Alcatraz now sees hundreds of thousands more tourists per
year than the total number of prisoners in its entire 29-year
life as a federal penitentiary. Audio-assisted tours in several
languages recount the history of the island and its famous
inmate inhabitants: Machine Gun Kelley, Al Capone, Robert
Stroud, "the Birdman of Alcatraz." On a clear day,
the views of the San Francisco skyline and bridges are alone
worth the crossing by ferryboat.
– HORIZONTAL Just as vital, though less famous
than its golden cousin, the hardworking Oakland-San Francisco
Bay Bridge links the City with the communities of the East
Bay. Opened on November 12, 1936, it remains one of the largest
bridges in the world and carries more traffic than any other
toll bridge -- over 270,000 vehicles each day.
Framed by San Francisco's two bridges, Coit Tower stands proudly
atop Telegraph Hill against a backdrop of the bay and city
CAR The nation's only moving national historic landmarks,
the cable cars still run on 8.8 miles of track along three
of their original hundred-year-old routes. These motorless
carriages travel by gripping onto the constantly-running underground
cable on the ascent and releasing on the descent. Average
speed: 9 1/2 miles per hour. Steepest grade: 21.3%. There
were 9,600,000 cable car riders in 1995-1996. Hyde Street
Pier, Alcatraz in background.
Home to the largest concentration of Chinese outside of China,
San Francisco's Chinatown crams exotic shops, restaurants,
produce markets, herbalists and temples in its 24 square blocks
of teeming activity in the midst of downtown. Chinatown was
founded by the young men who came seeking fortunes from the
Gold Rush and transcontinental railroad in the late 1800s,
and later brought over their families. Every year in February
the neighborhood explodes in a riot of color and festivity
for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
WHARF The most popular tourist destination in the city,
Fisherman's Wharf is still a working fishing pier, bringing
in thousands of tons of fresh fish and crabs annually. Freshly
cracked crab and crusty sourdough bread are not the only delicacies
to tempt the visitor here. Over eleven million people a year
come for the shops, bay cruises, attractions and historic
GATE BRIDGE – HORIZONTAL Looking north, from
San Francisco to Marin County. The world's best-loved bridge
is recognized everywhere as a symbol of San Francisco. Built
in 1937, the 1.7-mile suspension span was designed to withstand
the forces of nature, including gale force winds and earthquakes.
Over 40 million vehicles a year make the crossing.
GATE BRIDGE – VERTICAL The world's most famous
bridge spans the Golden Gate strait, a mile-wide gap between
the bay and the ocean, separating Marin County from the City.
The early Spanish explorers sailed up and down the fog-shrouded
coastline for years before finally discovering this vital
gateway that, in 1769, led them from the violent Pacific to
the vast shelter of the San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate
Bridge is actually painted "International Orange."
DOLORES The oldest building in San Francisco, Mission
Dolores was constructed by the Franciscan friars and Ohlone
Indians in 1791, when the land was still claimed by Spanish
pioneers and called Alta California. The columned façade
is actually a single wall of whitewashed adobe bricks. Inside
the church is a small museum and in back, the Mission cemetery
contains an array of historical gravestones.
SKYLINE As seen from the bay, the lighted towers of
the Financial District and northern waterfront gleam under
a clear sky just after sunset. In the forefront, the Ferry
Building, whose spire was built in 1898 to and modeled after
the Giralda cathedral tower of Seville, Spain, is today dwarfed
by the Transamerica Pyramid, Bank of America building and
OF FINE ARTS Conceived as a grand classical ruin, the
Palace of Fine Arts was originally designed by architect Bernard
Maybeck as a temporary structure for the 1915 Panama-Pacific
Exhibition. The romantic lagoon, Romanesque rotunda and elegant
colonnade evoke a sense of joy and timeless beauty. Even after
the other structures were torn down, the public clamored to
preserve the Palace. It was rebuilt in near entirety in concrete
in 1966, after crumbling for over 50 years. The Exhibition
Hall now houses one of the most unusual museums in the world,
the hand-on science Exploratorium, conceived by physicist
Frank Oppenheimer, and an adjacent 1000-seat theater hosts
events and concerts. Marina district.
STREET HILL The foot of Powell Street is a downtown
transportation hub -- site of the cable car turnaround and
underground Muni and BART stations, plus the F-Line Historic
Streetcar route along Market Street. Four blocks up the hill
lies Union Square, the heart of the City's vibrant shopping
district. Bank buildings and retail shops line Market Street
on either side.
The tallest building in San Francisco at 835 feet, the Transamerica
Pyramid marks the edge of the financial district and beginning
of North Beach, the cafe-studded Italian quarter.
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