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1) Destination
San Francisco

     
2) Travel Information
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San Francisco is divided into many sections and neighborhoods - each with their own distinctive style. To get directly to the heart of San Francisco, head downtown to Market Street on a Muni bus (unless you want to spend a good part of your day hunting for parking spaces and parallel parking on steep hills).
Union Square is several blocks away and Chinatown is within walking distance. From there, head over to North Beach where you'll find the Coit Tower and a fantastic panorama of the city and bay.

North Beach leads into Fisherman's Wharf, with its seafood restaurants, entertainers, and shops.
Take a ferry to Al Capone's old stomping grounds at Alcatraz, browse the Maritime Museum, and don't forget to buy some fresh chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.


No matter what, at some point give your feet a rest and catch a trolley. Spend a sunny afternoon at Golden Gate Park, with its museums and concerts.
Or go to the Haight Ashbury and take a look at the old haunts of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and other icons of the 1960's.
Check out the murals in the Mission District. Go towards Lake Merced, in the southwest corner of the city, and take your kids to the San Francisco Zoo.
If you do want to drive, take the 49-mile scenic drive by following the blue-and-white seagull signs that will take you on a tour of the best-known sights of the city.

Early History: The San Francisco area was first settled at least 15,000 years ago by the Ohlone Indians, who lived in the coastal area between San Francisco Bay and Point Sur. The Spanish found the entrance to the bay in 1769, and by 1776, the first colonizing party arrived to found the Presidio of San Francisco and Mission Dolores. San Francisco remained a tiny settlement until the Gold Rush of 1849.
Mercantile establishments, small industries, and shipping to the Orient brought prosperity to the newcomers. Famous writers such as Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, and Mark Twain congregated here.

In 1869 the first westbound train arrived in San Francisco and by 1870 San Francisco had become the tenth largest city in the United States. Irish immigrants settled into the Mission area and French, Italian, German, Russian, Australian, Jewish and many other nationalities contributed to the city's international flair. The 1906 Earthquake and fire devastated the city. But with its characteristic spirit, the city rebuilt itself--into a grander city than even before.

 

The list of attractions in San Francisco reads like an all-star vacation checklist: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf, the cable cars—and the list goes on.

Visitors to San Francisco are never far from one of the many attractions that has put this coastal town on the map. One of the distinctive local attractions is the Haight area of the city.

Once synonymous with hippies and the counter-culture, today the corner of Haight and Ashbury Street is a confluence of modern, trendy shops and piercing salons and alternative bookstores.

San Francisco is well known for its support of alternative lifestyles, as is evidenced with the annual Bay to Breakers run, which routinely sees families and frat boys pounding the pavement next to nudists and artists. The end of the race is celebrated with Footstock, a festival with live music and activities at Ocean Beach.

Expect a moderate climate in San Francisco, where cool summers and mild winters almost blend into one. Temperatures in the city seldom rise above 70 F/21 C or fall below 40 F/4 C. Morning and evening fog is common during summer months but rarely remains through the day.

(Little or no rain falls from June to September.) Winter average maximum temperatures are in the high 50s F/10 C and only drop to the upper 40s F/4 C at night. Rain showers can be common November through March. The weather in San Francisco literally varies from neighborhood to neighborhood -- it may be sunny and pleasant in one area and foggy and cool in another.

No season is really out of the question for a visit, though September and October are the warmest and driest.

Nearby Marin County enjoys similarly moderate weather, although its location, sheltered from the cool ocean winds, keeps it warmer and sunnier than San Francisco (it's also cooler at night).

Expect temperatures to reach 85 F/29 C in some Marin County communities. The summer-morning fog or cloud cover usually clears well before noon.

 

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