San Francisco is a golden gateway to a rich assortment of vacation destinations. You could spend your whole vacation within the city limits. Or you could venture out and be wowed by the grandeur of what lies just beyond—from majestic mountain ranges and redwood forests, to quaint seaside hamlets and world-famous wineries.
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Union Square. High-end shopping and a wide variety of dining that’s as unique as the city itself, make this a place people return to again and again. A great place to people watch, on the streets or in the theaters. Upscale hotels, small inns and a wide variety of entertainment contribute to the area’s “up all night” character.
Alcatraz Island. Always makes the Top 10 US Destinations list. The ferry ride to the island gives you beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the green hills of Marin County. The trip and award-winning headphone tour, with narration by former inmates, will take about half a day, but it’s worth every minute. Catch the ferry from Pier 33.
Lombard Street (on Russian Hill). A trip to San Francisco just wouldn’t be complete without a trip down the crookedest street in the world. Its eight hairpin turns were originally designed to reduce the hill’s steep incline making it more manageable for cars and pedestrians. The Powell-Hyde cable car stops at the top of this street, from there you can stroll down its 600’ length without fear of breaking the 5 mph speed limit (possibly making it the world’s slowest street, as well).
Fisherman’s Wharf. Centrally located, from here you can ride the famous 2-story carousel, see Alcatraz Island and walk to Pier 39 (with its resident Sea Lion colony). A great place to start if you’re traveling with your family.
Ghirardelli Square. One of the iconic shops in the city; you can’t visit San Francisco and not stop at the famous chocolatier for an ice cream sundae or cup of hot cocoa (depending on the weather).
Golden Gate Park. Approximately the size of Central Park, Golden Gate Park is one of the most visited city parks in America. Housing a fine arts museum, aquarium, planetarium, Japanese tea garden, and a lake big enough for paddle boat rides—it’s custom made for family fun.
Napa Valley/Sonoma Wine Country Tours. Ranging from small, family run estates to grand wineries, this area offers so much more than wine-tastings. Gourmet restaurants, summer concerts, open air markets and an array of spas are all part of the artsy scene. Take a tour via charter bus, hot air balloons, bicycles, horseback, limo or even on foot.
Yosemite National Park. A remote wilderness just 4 hours from San Francisco, Yosemite, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, showcases the grandeur of our country with its deep valleys, huge waterfalls, ancient sequoias and vast tracts of wilderness.
Sausalito. Considered by many to be the prettiest village in California, Sausalito is located just north of Golden Gate Park in Marin County. The village is known for its stunning views, access to water-based activities, and outdoor fairs, festivals and concerts.