The United States always offers us postcards of its landscapes and cities. He does it through movies and television series and by now, although we have never been there, we know something about New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami or San Francisco. That's how powerful its great Cultural Industry is.
Today we will focus on San Francisco, the city that can always disappear with an earthquake, but is still there, waiting for us. Do you dare to travel and know the best of San Francisco? Well, before you do not stop reading everything you can do there.
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It's a county and a city and the cultural and financial heart of north central California. The Spanish founded it in 1776, with the Mission San Francisco de Asís so hence the name. It grew hand in hand with the exploitation of gold in the XNUMXth century and although a fierce fire, in turn the product of an earthquake, almost wiped it off the map, it was reborn from the ashes.
Streets that go up and down and make anyone dizzy, trams, Victorian houses, a generous Chinatown and a famous bridge are among its tourist attractions. Let's see some, the ones you can't miss.
Golden Gate Bridge
It's a suspension bridge across the Golden Gate strait, a channel of almost three kilometers long that connects the bay of the city with the Pacific Ocean. Before its construction there was a regular ferry service but obviously the need for a bridge was imperative. The Crisis of '30 delayed construction but it finally began in 1933 and ended in 1937.
Nowadays you can go hiking on it or a simple walk or ride a bike or take a tour. It has its own Visitor Center with historical information and souvenir sales. This office is open from 9 am to 6 pm and there are often interactive exhibits outside. Twice a week there are free guided tours, Thursdays and Sundays.
At both ends of the bridge there are recreation areas with great views and you can have a coffee at the Round House Café or the Bridge Café which are open at the same hours as the Visitor Center. Bikes are not rented on the bridge, so if your intention is to cycle, then you must rent it before you go. Note that electric bikes and motorcycles are not accepted, neither do you skate or skate.
If you are a pedestrian, you can enter the bridge every day from the East walkway from 5 am to 6:30 pm. If you go by bike you can enter here or through the West entrance
It is an island that is in the San Francisco Bay about two kilometers from the coast. It is small but very famous because the Alcatraz Prison. It was a federal prison and functioned between 934 and 1963. Its fame was based on the idea that it was impossible to escape from it, although Clint Eastwood's film deals precisely with a real escape that took place in 1962.
Among its most famous prisoners was more and nothing less than Al Capone, so between its history and the film it has become a great tourist destination. Tickets are all inclusive as they include ferry transport and audio tour available in several languages. Tickets can be purchased online, in person or by phone.
There is the Alcatraz Day Tour and Alcatraz Night Tour. The first lasts about two and a half hours and you can hire it up to 90 days in advance. It includes the round trip by ferry, the access, the 45-minute tour, an orientation video and the specialized guide. Cost $ 45 per adult. The same goes for the second tour.
Streetcars and cableways in San Francisco
What a postcard! These streetcars run through Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, among other neighborhoods. The tram driver accepts cash and the ticket costs $ 5 per adult. There are one-day passes for $ 13, three-day passes for 20, and seven-day passes for $ 26.
You can also buy the Fast Pass that costs $ 60 per adult and allows unlimited use of trams, cableways and buses for a whole month.
At the stops there is a sign that informs you of the name of the route, the address, the final destination, the schedule and the telephone number to know routes, schedules and more. If the tram or cableway is full of people but the outer handles are empty, it is normal to travel hanging. No problem! If you are interested in the subject you can always visit the Cableway Museum.
It is a building that opened in 1915 after the first one was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. It is in the Civic District and visiting it is free. It is an elegant and enormous building that is composed of two blocks and is characterized by a dome, a golden dome.
Just below this dome, which is also golden because it has pure gold, there is a marble staircase that is beautiful. It has 42 steps and goes up to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, under the dome, is where couples take their wedding photo. For example, the photo was taken here Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMagio.
The floors of the City Hall are also beautiful, with a pink marble design that is charming. Seeing it from the second floor is the best because the design is appreciated. On this second floor is the harvey milk statue, near the steps. Milk was the first homosexual to hold public office in the city and his story was portrayed very well by Sean Penn.
On the walk you can also visit a mini museum with the history of the building and some exhibits on the first floor. The visit is on your own from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 9 pm. If you are fast in half an hour you finish but you can walk quietly for two hours.
Tours in San Francisco
Tourism agencies in the city offer many tours. You can sign up for the one in Alcatraz Prison, obviously, or focus on the ones that take place in the center:
- Public Library Tours; These tours also include the City Hall and the neighborhood. It takes place on Tuesday and Thursday at 11 am. They last an hour and a half.
- City Hall Tours: every day, by the San Francisco Art Commission. It lasts 45 minutes with departures at 10 am, 12 and 2 pm. They start at the City Hall Docent Tour Kiok.
- SF Movie Tour: The idea is to know the places where movies like Milk, A View to Kill or Indiana Jones were filmed, for example.
- Hop On Hop Off Bus: the city also offers these friendly and always useful tours. It has stops in the Civic Center neighborhood and the Asian Art Museum, one of the best in the country.
With these attractions we have concentrated on the city center. Obviously there is much more to do because these visits leave you a lot of free time. A walk with lunch included in Chinatown cannot be missed, for example, or a walk through the vineyards that are on the outskirts. It all depends on the time of year you are visiting, but in general the weather here is very pleasant.