Famed for street cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco sets the bar high for Californian cities. It's the state's fourth-largest hub, and one of the most culturally-saturated and trendiest spots in the nation. Plus, you'll never have to wear anything more than a light jacket thanks to its temperate weather year-round. After savoring fresh seafood, biking across the bridge and hanging in Dolores Park, you might feel like you left your heart in San Francisco.
As the face of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is truly a modern marvel - containing about 88,000 tons of steel and spanning 1.7 miles. Visitors from all around the globe flock to see the orange-red suspension bridge that stretches across the Golden Gate strait, the 3-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Fisherman's Wharf well worth a visit. This northern waterfront area, which spans from Ghirardelli Square to Pier 3, packs delicious seafood restaurants, street performers and great shopping centers. Dine in Fishermen's Grotto or Pompei's Grotto, which go back three generations of family ownership, or try the crab chowder from one of the street stands.
This island served as a military prison in 1868, a federal prison for 29 years and a Native American occupation for 19 months. Today the National Park offers an audio guide narrated by former inmates and prison guards. Be sure to reserve your tickets months in advance because they sell out quickly.
San Fran's cable car system is the last of its kind in the country. Although it's not the speediest mode of transportation, hopping on the iconic trolleys is an experience in itself. Anyone interested in the history and mechanics of the cable cars should check out the Cable Car Museum on Mason Street.
Union Square is one of the largest shopping areas in the U.S. This district is home to department stores, luxury shops and specialty stores that cater to all personalities. At the Weinstein Gallery, you can take home art from 20th century masters such as Picasso, Chagall and Miro. Its also home to staple stops like Macy's and Nordstrom.
In the heart of the district, the Crocker Galleria features three levels of retail stores. If you want to find a sweet gift for you or a loved one, head to See's Candies, a California tradition since 1921. After it's all said and done, you'll probably walk away with a California Republic T-shirt.
In the Mission District you'll find Bar Tartine, an ambrosiac mix of Hungarian, Japanese, Danish and Californian influences. Try the fried langos potato bread and the smørrebrød sandwiches during lunch hours.
Chef-owner Tim Archulet puts a twist on nigiri at ICHI Sushi. If you're on the hunt for unconventional sushi, this is your place.
Nopalito recently opened up a second location - that should be a clear indicator of its delicious Mexican dishes. The housemade masa in the tamales is killer, but the carnitas are a crowd favorite.