Metropolis with hippie flair
Picturesquely situated on several hills on San Francisco Bay, San Francisco is considered, more than any other major city in the USA, to be the epitome of cosmopolitanism and liberal culture. This is where the hippie movement began, and still today in San Francisco much of the spirit of the Beat era can be felt.
Visitors can expect countless sights, a pleasant Pacific climate with mild winters and moderately warm summers, and a unique, tolerant and cosmopolitan attitude to life. Stroll through Haight-Ashbury, once the centre of flower children and beatniks, today still the centre of alternative culture, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and explore the many museums, theatres and music halls. See the elaborately restored Victorian houses. San Francisco’s cuisine is an exciting mix of Californian, Asian and European influences and is one of the best in the USA. Especially recommendable: the excellent seafood.
With San Francisco Airport, the city has the second largest airport on the US west coast and is served by many national and international airlines. Nonstop flights from Frankfurt/Main and Munich take approximately eleven and a half to twelve and a half hours.
Thanks to its convenient location, San Francisco is an ideal starting point for round trips through California and the western United States. Drive to the dream beaches of Santa Barbara and San Diego, explore grandiose national parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks and experience vibrant metropolises such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Places of interest in San Francisco
By far the most notorious sight in San Francisco is the prison island of Alcatraz. Located in San Francisco Bay, it served as a prison during the Civil War. In the 20th century, the former fort was converted into a high security prison. Some of the most famous criminals – including the mafia boss Al Capone – were imprisoned in Alcatraz; riots and escape attempts provided material for books and films. After the prison was closed, Alcatraz was temporarily occupied by the Indian movement demonstrating for its rights. Today, the former prison is visited by millions of visitors every year.
The AT&T Park, the home stadium of the San Francisco Giants from the Major League Baseball, is a highlight for all sports enthusiasts. Thanks to its unique location above the bay of San Francisco, it offers a magnificent view of the sea – and is famous for the so-called splash hits, those home runs that are hit by the Giants into the bay.
An absolute unicum of the city are the San Francisco Cable Cars. They are the only cable tram with decouplable cars still in operation worldwide and at the same time a mobile US national monument. Cable Cars currently only operate on three routes, but have developed into one of the top attractions for travellers, some of whom have to put up with long waiting times in order to take part in the seemingly breakneck ride over the steep streets of San Francisco.
Highlights of the City by the Bay
The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most prominent landmarks not only of San Francisco, but of the whole USA. With a total length of 2,737 meters, the suspension bridge, built in 1933, crosses the San Francisco Bay and connects the metropolis with Marin County. It has six lanes and two cycle paths and footpaths. At its inauguration, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world and is still regarded today as a great engineering achievement. With its bright orange-red colour, it is an impressive sight, especially at sunset. Due to the weather conditions over the bay, the bridge is often covered in fog – another popular photo motif. A bike tour over the Golden Gate Bridge is worthwhile, with breathtaking views of the bay, sea and skyline of San Francisco.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of San Francisco is Fisherman’s Wharf. The harbour district in the northeast of the city was built around 1900, when fishermen from Italy settled there. In addition to a multitude of bars, cafés and restaurants, galleries and excellent shopping opportunities await the visitor. Get a taste of the fresh sea air, get a bargain at the flea markets, enjoy thrilling open airs in summer and watch the fun of the sea lions who have founded a permanent colony at Pier 39 since the end of the last century. Other highlights of Fisherman’s Wharf include the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park with a large shipping museum and a historic fleet anchored at Hyde Street Pier and the visitor-accessible USS Pampanito submarine.