Dig deep into this rollicking city that is consistently shrouded in fog, yet entices with its clement weather, panoramic Pacific Ocean views, iconic structures and soulful cuisine
“San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth” – Academy award winner William Saroyan
Mention San Francisco and all these come to mind: colorful parades, free speech, culinary experimentation, the famed Golden Gate Bridge, and historical cable car rides. Debatable issues were mainstream in this city before they hit the rest of the world, which means that social revolutions have often started here.
This cosmopolitan city is teeming with exciting and diverse events throughout the year that you’ll always have something new to see or do in town, which probably explains why it topped the charts of America’s favorite cities. Just in 2015 alone, 24.6 million visitors were reported to have visited the hilly city, with a significant 85-percent of them here for leisure purposes.
Predominantly, tourists visit for the lively atmosphere, infectious ambiance, and mesmerizing scenic beauty. Take the Coit Tower for example: perched atop the summit of Telegraph Hill, this 64m flutelike cylinder provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. Art aficionados will likely linger about the ground floor longer while admiring the wall murals painted by some 30 local artists in 1933, with each piece depicting a different aspect of the Great Depression.
If the visit piques your interest, consider taking a trip down to the newly opened Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.
Not only is this home to an impressive contemporary art collection, it also comes with a gift shop fully equipped with quirky gift ideas or unique home décor pieces.
Cutting down on time-consuming transfers to make your trip more enjoyable, Singapore Airlines has recently relaunched its non-stop flight between Singapore and San Francisco, which will operate on a daily basis with effect from 23 October 2016. The 14-odd- hour flight is timed conveniently to leave Singapore in the morning and arrive in San Francisco in the morning as well to help you maximize your daylight hours. Pick up Lonely Planet’s San Francisco city guide for more great tips on how to uncover the best of this colorful city (US$21.99).
This was the site where the first lighthouse of the Pacific Coast was built but was later turned into a federal prison for notorious convicts such as Al Capone. Now, the infamous island is part of the Bay Area’s 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area and listed as one of the top attractions in San Francisco. Audio tours are available within the cell house where visitors get a glimpse of the living conditions of the prisoners, including the main prison block with its steel bars, claustrophobic cells, and mess hall. And since it is offshore, it will be ideal to reserve your Alcatraz Cruises tickets beforehand to avoid disappointments.
If you only have time to visit one destination in San Francisco, this is it. PIER 39 is situated in the Fisherman’s Wharf and parking is readily available at the entrance plaza. Whether you are visiting with family, looking for a fun yet romantic date setting or simply on a getaway with your friends, the possibilities are endless at this beloved destination. We highly recommend you visit the boisterous sea lions who have been camping out on PIER 39’s K-Dock since 1990. The Presidio, formerly a military post, is a national park site and recreational paradise, ideal for those who might like a peaceful environment to walk in. The air is scented with eucalyptus and the trails are usually fairly unoccupied as if you were farther from the city center than you really are.
Golden Gate Bridge:
The world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge comes in an International Orange hue and is deemed one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Once called the “bridge that couldn’t be built’’, it has since become the prime landmark of San Francisco after its opening in 1937 after a four-year struggle against treacherous weather conditions. The bright color was chosen as it provided visibility in the fog for passing ships and fit in naturally to the entire natural setting. You may have seen it in recent films such as Ant-Man, Big Hero 6, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Monsters vs. Aliens – giving it the nickname Cinematic San Francisco, a close second to Los Angeles.
The Cable Car Museum:
Established in 1974, the museum is operated by a nonprofit educational facility. Located in the historic Washington-Mason powerhouse and car barn on Nob Hill, the museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables for San Francisco’s famous trams. It also features three antique cable cars from the 1870s, nostalgic images, mechanical displays and a gift shop for memorabilia. Of course, you have to hop onto the world’s last permanent manually operated cable car, in the U.S. sense of a tramway where cars are pulled along cables embedded in the street. Unsurprisingly, the city’s right-out-of- the-Smithsonian cable cars were named a national historic landmark in 1964.
The St. Regis San Francisco:
Often dubbed the best luxury hotel in town, The St. Regis San Francisco hotel is a modem masterpiece situated within the SoMa district. The hotel embodies extraordinary hospitality with modern-day sophistication to meet the needs of modern-day travelers and of course, personalized butler services, a treasured hallmark of all St. Regis experiences for over a hundred years. An artful address in its own right, the hotel is home to the Museum of the African Diaspora and the renowned San Francisco Museum of Modern art next door. Talk about convenience and a vibrant neighborhood. This is the best district to reside in with plenty of public transportation and attractions just a stone’s throw away.
The Scarlet Huntington, San Francisco:
The Scarlet Huntington pays homage to the former Huntington Hotel’s illustrious legacy in Nob Hill. With its defining charm intact and traditions upheld, hotel guests can expect to receive the same kind of hospitality and bespoke services it had in the former years.
The reimagined establishment is a melting pot of culture as Singapore Straits Chinese heritage is fused with the high-fashion luxury of Nob Hill. Hotel guests can expect to be thrown into a sensual, chic yet timeless mood as they rejuvenate within the glamorous yet soothing suites. Situated within the Nob Hill neighborhood, expect to find an array of good restaurants and shopping in Pacific Heights and Japantown nearby.
The Argonaut, A Nobble House Hotel:
Inspired by the Greek legend and Gold Rush-era adventurers, the hotel is one of those rare places in San Francisco where you can truly merit the term iconic. Located in the historic Haslett Warehouse, the Argonaut’s home is a grand building built in 1907 of exposed brick and navy flare on the inside. Though it sits firmly by the edge of the Fisherman’s Wharf Bay, it may seem as if you are inside a cruise ship with plenty of nautical-themed artifacts adorned. Hit the unwind button within the privacy of your own room as you enjoy the in-room spa services while soaking in the sweeping views of San Francisco Bay.
Alameda Point Antiques Faire:
If you have the patience to plow through millions of items, this might be a paradise for you. This is the largest antique show in Northern California and it is held on the first Sunday every month.
You can find just about anything here, from vintage and antique home decorations to clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, pottery, books, and collectibles.