Travel lovers, here are 7 super fun things to do in San Francisco
Whether you want to dance the night away, or soak up some culture, San Francisco has got it all. Here are 7 neighbourhoods you definitely want to visit while in San Francisco.travel Updated: Apr 14, 2018 16:04 IST
San Francisco is a network of different neighbourhoods. In a city so large that the weather can vary depending on where you are, there is always something to see and do. Change happens quickly as the various neighbourhoods attract new residents and visitors, and each one offers an entirely unique flair. Here is a list of places in neighbourhood of San Francisco you should include in your Itinerary:
To capture glimpses of Art and culture at SFMOMA
One of San Francisco’s most well-known neighbourhoods is SOMA, which is short for South of Market. This neighbourhood stretches from Market to Townsend and Embarcadero to Eleventh Street, encompassing an impressive variety of nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, museums and more. If you’re curious about what a neighbourhood with this much diversity in commercial and residential buildings looks like, check out this guide to SOMA as you plan your visit.
You can’t visit San Francisco without spending time at one of the city’s amazing museums; you’ll see why when you check out SOMA’s best cultural offerings. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - or SFMOMA for short - features more than 30,000 pieces of modern artwork, thanks to a recent expansion.
When you’re in the mood for a great glass of wine with dinner, you can count on Press Club to have what you need. If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to taste several wine offerings here. You can’t go wrong with either choice.
Relax at the North Beach
North Beach is rich in Italian heritage, compresses cabarets, jazz clubs, galleries, inns, family style restaurants and gelato parlours into less than a square mile. A perfect spot for cappuccino and espresso, North Beach is transformed into one of San Francisco’s most electric playgrounds by night; live music and dancing keep the streets swinging. In the morning practice tai chi with the regulars in Washington Square and from here, catch the No. 39 bus to the top of Telegraph Hill. Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill offers amazing views. Thirty local artists painted murals on its ground floor walls in 1933. This hill is also laced with stairways off Filbert and Greenwich streets as well as lush gardens.
Strolling around North Beach is a simple pleasure. The beautiful white-walled church and the adjacent vest-pocket Washington Square Park, make a great destination for a stroll, and offer excellent people-watching. Among other accolades, the church was the site of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe’s wedding.
Get a taste of San Francisco’s Chinatown
As old as San Francisco itself, Chinatown is the second-largest Asian community in North America. Perennially popular, it’s both a legitimate dining destination and a wonderland of interesting sights. If there’s a trick to enjoying it fully, however, it’s to recognize that there are actually two Chinatowns centered on parallel blocks: Grant Avenue (for tourists) and Stockton Street (for locals). Hilly and full of alleys, Chinatown rewards the curious wanderer. Get a taste of San Francisco’s Chinatown with this one-day itinerary filled with food, history, shopping and more.
Built in 1970 to anchor the neighbourhood’s southern entrance, the unique Dragon’s Gate was constructed in the proper Chinese style: out of stone, not wood. Both it and the golden dragon streetlights beyond draw visitors up to Grant Avenue’s shops. While you can find rolling carts full of shu mai almost anywhere in the Bay Area, dim sum in Chinatown is a must. Great Eastern Restaurant might be the neighbourhood’s crown jewel, although it forgoes the carts for menus. An affordable spot for dumplings, buns, and more unusual fare, Great Eastern happens to be President Obama’s choice.
Experience culinary delights in Mission District
Named for Mission Dolores founded in 1776, San Francisco’s oldest neighbourhood has some of its hottest new restaurants and galleries. Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill These neighbourhoods all share a sunny outlook. Boasting some of the best weather in the city, the Mission District, Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill take advantage of an abundance of fog-free days. New restaurants and night spots are a draw while Mission Dolores, 16th and Dolores streets, is the oldest structure in San Francisco. Many of the city’s pioneers are buried in an adjacent cemetery. The largest concentration of murals in the city adorns buildings, fences and walls throughout the district. Potrero Hill’s Dogpatch neighborhood is one of 11 historic districts in the city and home to the second crookedest street (after Lombard) in the city.
Visit a Beaux Arts architectural wonder Civic center / Hayes Valley
Three districts: one of the trendiest, one of the newest and one of the oldest are all anchored by a Beaux Arts masterwork. San Francisco’s widest street, Van Ness Avenue, runs down the middle of Civic Center, a Beaux Arts architectural wonder. A short distance from Civic Center lies Hayes Valley boasting the SF Jazz Center, galleries, antique shops, restaurants and book nooks. A stretch of Larkin Street starting just beyond the Asian Art Museum’s front door at Larkin and McAllister up to O’Farrell has been designated Little Saigon. Some 250 Vietnamese-owned businesses are concentrated in this and the nearby Tenderloin areas. The Polk Street district parallels Van Ness Avenue and extends all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, where it terminates in front of the historic Maritime Museum. Catering to a diverse population, Polk Street is one of the oldest shopping districts in San Francisco.
Explore historical sites at The Castro
Visit the Castro, a neighbourhood that welcomes friendly people of all stripes. Explore historical sites, enjoy a meal, and shop until you’ve worked up a thirst for one of its many bars and nightclubs. While exploring this accessible neighborhood, check-out the Rainbow Honor Walk, featuring 20 bronze plaques placed on the sidewalks honoring the heroes and heroines who were prominent in the LGBT community. No trip to the Castro is complete without stopping at Cliff’s Variety Store, a landmark shop that sells an eclectic mix of goods, including housewares, home furnishings, toys, and costumes. Shop like a local at Local Take, a San Francisco focused boutique that features art, clothing, accessories and gifts that highlight diverse aspects of the city, created by independent-local designers. Both shops host great opportunities to pick up unique gifts to take home to your loved ones.
Experience Japan in San Francisco’s Japan Town
When you’re in Japantown, San Francisco’s historic foundation of Japanese and Japanese American culture, and it’s near neighbour, the Fillmore District, the city’s historic home for live jazz music, they most certainly do. Japantown is bordered roughly by Geary Boulevard between Laguna Street (east), and Fillmore Street (west) and a stop on San Francisco’s 49-Mile Scenic Drive. Look for the bright red banners adorned with cherry blossoms and the Peace Pagoda which proudly marks the Japantown area.
Japantown is the oldest of only three Japantowns remaining in the U.S., all of which are in California. This is confirmed by dozens of Japanese groceries, shops, restaurants and the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya. Traditional Japanese and Asian themes adorn the Japan Center, a shopping complex on the north side of Geary, and anchored at both ends by the Hotel Buchanan and Sundance Kabuki cinema. Hotel Tomo is designed inside with J-Pop anime and manga themes. The Kabuki Springs & Spas is one of the only Japanese style osentos in the U.S. and offers Japanese style bathing followed by another art of Japan, Shiatsu massage.
Cultural menu offerings range from sushi, the most popular Japanese food in the world; manju, a rice confection, still being hand-made and served up by family owned and operated Benkyodo which opened in 1906; Ramen noodles, a growing popular noodle and broth dish; matcha, a green tea beverage; shabu-shabu, a meat and vegetable combo simmered at a tableside hot pot and Asian BBQ.
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First Published: Apr 14, 2018 16:02 IST