San Francisco's cosmopolitan feel and somewhat European charm make it one of the most popular stops in the USA. Located along the northern Californian coastline, the weather here can be a little less sunny and generally colder compared to the southern parts. September and October are considered the most reliable months for a visit. Famous for the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, San Francisco will occupy you for at least a few days, but it's friendly atmosphere and diverse suburbs will probably keep you longer than you intended to.
The historic heart of San Francisco's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community.
Full of history, culture, and touristy gimmicks, Chinatown is a must-see neighborhood. It's located between the Financial District and Nob Hill. The main commercial street is Grant St, but for a more authentic experience wander down Stockton. People crowd the streets that are lined with local shops selling produce and meats and restaurants providing dim sum specialties.
At Fisherman's Wharf you'll find Pier 39 and 41, which offer touristy shopping, restaurants, seafood, and views of Angel Island and Alcatraz Island. Fisherman's Wharf is also the location where travelers can catch ferries to Alcatraz.
Nob Hill is historically known as the place where the rich came to see and be seen. The top of the Hill (at the intersection of California and Jones) offers stunning views of the Financial District and Angels Island in the bay. Grace Cathedral is a must see as well. Down the hill you will find Polk Street, an area frequented by locals for it diversity of ethnic restaurants and shopping.
Home to many well known dot-comers, Pacific Heights has large mansions in a trendy, young, and hip neighborhood. It houses many boutiques and specialty shops, trendy restaurants, and popular bars.
The Presidio is a lovely place to walk, picnic, and take pictures.
When you've had your fill of zigging and zagging on Lombard Street, take a stroll around ritzy Russian Hill to get a glimpse of some of the city's finest homes.
Macy's, Union Square, San Francisco
The plaza is known for its many shopping and dining opportunities in the surrounding blocks. It is also a major transportation hub and a great place to hop on the famous San Fransisco streetcars.
Alamo Square - This area surrounds the Alamo Square park where locals picnic and relax outside. It is home to the famous "painted ladies" houses which were highlighted in intro to the 1980s sitcom "Full House."
Union Square, San Francisco
A trip to Alcatraz Island should be at the very top of every visitor's agenda. Fascinating history and amazing views make this a most memorable day. A highly recommended automated walking tour brings the experience to life. For a more eerie take on Alcatraz Island, pay a little more and door tour after sunset at night. Check the official Alcatraz website for more information or if you want to, Alcatraz Cruises offers boat trips.
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco
The newly renovated/built DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park is simply spectacular. Gazing at the building and going into its tower for a most unexpected perspective on San Francisco is enough of a reason to visit. But, the fine art collection strikes the visitor as much like the city itself, eclectic, vibrant, beautiful and unlike any other in the world.
Golden Gate Bridge
If you haven't walked across Golden Gate Bridge in the evening, toward sunset, you really haven't lived. The setting sun's rays reach into the glowing city and make for a spectacular scene. Below you, the peace of the bay clashes and mixes with the drama and power of the endless Pacific ocean. At times, some locals say it can be better than the Grand Canyon. Bring someone you love to make the moment complete.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
After walking or biking north across the Golden Gate Bridge, coast down to the absolutely charming village of Sausalito. When you've had your fill of galleries and coffee shops, take the ferry back across the bay. The ride is nearly as romantic as the bridge, and affords a lovely view of Alcatraz and Angel Island.
Positioned as the center of Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 is a multilevel facility offering many options for dining and shopping. Pier 39 is also home to the famous sea lions.
Located in Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 41 offers spectacular views of both Alcatraz Island and Angel Island. This is the location where travelers catch the ferry to go to Alcatraz Island. However, as the ticket booth usually sells out in advanced, it would be wise to purchase tickets ahead of time.
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is a great place to spend a few hours. You can walk through the rose garden, explore the Japanese Tea Garden (for a small fee), or bike. The park is San Francisco's answer to Central Park in New York City. There is a small pond where you can rent paddle boats or you can simply relax with a picnic lunch.
City Hall, San Francisco
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New Year's Day
January 1 every year
New Year's Day is the first day of the year. It is a public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts.
Statue of Liberty
Photo: William Warby
Martin Luther King Day
3rd Monday in January
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a United States Federal holiday marking the birthdate of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King's birthday, January 15. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. He was assassinated in 1968.
3rd Monday in February
Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day (or Presidents' Day). As Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day, it is also the official name of a concurrent state holiday celebrated on the same day in a number of states.
The White House
Last Monday in May
Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I.
Devils Tower National Monument
July 4th every year
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States
1st Monday in September
Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parades. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays
2nd Monday in October
Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in 1934. However, people have celebrated Columbus' voyage since the colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During the 400-year anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism.
November 11 every year
The largest summer festival in Hamburg is the Alster-Vergnügen, which takes place from August 30 through September 2, 2002. Featuring everything from street theatre to music and art on the waterfront in Hamburg, the ‘Venice of the North’ is a magnificent host for this upbeat, exciting festival.
4th thursday in November
Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God.
Hollywood Los Angeles
December 25 every year