Moving to San Francisco? With its rolling hills, rows of Victorian homes and friendly cable cars, San Francisco is one of the country’s most charming cities. It’s mild year round climate, iconic landmarks, and coastal location are just some of the reasons why San Francisco is one of the most densely populous cities in the United States…and one of the most highly visited by tourists.
San Francisco is home to some of the country’s most famous landmarks, including one of the seven wonders of the modern world – the Golden Gate Bridge. As the second largest suspension bridge in the United States, the Golden Gate Bridge is impressive in both its construction and vibrant color. Formerly a lighthouse and federal prison, Alcatraz Island (originally called Alcatraces by the Spanish after the Brown Pelicans in the area) is a popular tourist site run by the National Parks Service. Another well recognized symbol of the city is the cable car. The city has a cable car system used mostly by tourists. Hop on view the city by cable car, or visit the cable car museum.
For an unusual view of the city, take a kayak underneath the Golden Gate Bridge…go out at dusk to see a spectacular view of the downtown skyline during sunset. For other activities, enjoy a combination of bowling and ice skating at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center, or take in some horse racing at the Bay Meadows Racecourse. If you’re looking for a quick trip out of the city, head over to Napa Valley and Sonoma for the weekend. Tour your favorite vineyard, sample the many varieties of local wines, or treat yourself to an afternoon at a spa.
San Francisco became the financial center of the West Coast after the California Gold Rush (Montgomery Street is even known as the "Wall Street of the West"). In addition to banks and financial institutions, the city is home to businesses in professional services (graphic art, law, architecture, and others), biomedical research, and countless small businesses. Intermixed with these businesses are fine restaurants, local coffee houses and shopping areas. At the Financial District and area around Union Square, you’ll find a plethora of shops and hotels. Other shopping areas include Chestnut Street, Embarcadero Center, Haight Street, North Beach, and Mission Street.
San Francisco is full of neighborhoods that celebrate the immigrant cultures that arrived in this city years ago. North Beach is the city’s version of Little Italy with authentic restaurants and cafes popular with residents and tourists alike. San Francisco is also home to the largest and oldest Chinatown in the United States. Or try one of the many restaurants, sushi bars, and karaoke lounges in Japantown. The Mission District was once a primarily Latino community and has since seen an influx of people of other cultures…but you can still find many traditional Mexican and Latin American restaurants. Maintaining the essence of the 1960’s hippie culture, you can get a new piercing or pick up some vintage clothing in the Haight neighborhood. Taking a tour of San Francisco can be like taking a mini trip around the world.