San Francisco, CA, USA cruises
Your guide to San Francisco.
“Every man should be allowed to love two cities - his own and San Francisco,” said author Gene Fowler, and as you sail into the port, under the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s not difficult to see why. Located in Northern California, San Francisco’s hilly streets offer striking glimpses of its famous bay below. Discover fantastic food, local wines and glorious views in this vibrant metropolis where springtime lasts year-round. From Fisherman’s Wharf to Alcatraz Island and the 1000-acre Golden Gate Park, San Francisco is a destination with something for everyone, where many hearts have been captured and lost.
Fisherman’s Wharf is where you will find the Wax Museum and harbor tours passing around Alcatraz. Do not forget to stop at K-dock to see the sea lions lazing off Pier 39. San Francisco’s cable cars offer fantastic city views, while walking the Golden Gate Bridge takes around an hour. Famously curvy Lombard Street descends down Russian Hill, and Coit Tower features a history museum. Chinatown and Japantown offer picturesque pagodas and sacred temples, while the impressive gold dome of City Hall is modeled on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Montgomery Street, the “Wall Street of the West,” provides insight into California’s Gold Rush era, complete with stagecoaches and gold nuggets at the Wells Fargo Museum.
Eating and drinking.
San Francisco is a haven of restaurants with every kind of cuisine on offer. At Fisherman’s Wharf, seafood fans will find a variety of stalls preparing fresh fish dishes. Pier 39, further along the waterfront, also offers two levels of restaurants, with views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. The passages between Union Street lead to delightful courtyards and mews full of restaurants and delicatessen, while North Beach is home to the city’s Italian community where you can find freshly prepared pasta. For Asian cuisine, including dumplings and noodle dishes, seek out Chinatown or Japantown, the latter of which offers excellent sushi bars.
San Francisco has several major retail centers (often called marketplaces) which will delight those who want to indulge in afternoon shopping. In Union Square, the heart of San Francisco’s downtown district, you will encounter America’s top department stores, boutiques and flower stalls gracing the sidewalks with colorful displays. Union Street’s restored Victorian buildings now house fashionable boutiques, specialty and antique shops and art galleries. Pacific Heights is one of the city’s most upmarket areas, while the former hippie hangout and flower power haven of Haight-Ashbury is now a collection of stores selling second-hand clothes, antiques and books just a few blocks from Golden Gate Park.
Beyond San Francisco.
Alcatraz Island, once a federal prison housing convicts like Al Capone, is a mile from shore, and boats depart from Fisherman’s Wharf throughout the day. Once there, an audio tour narrated by former inmates guides you through the cells. Eight miles north of San Francisco is Sausalito, a picturesque Mediterranean-style community full of boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Golden Gate Park is home to the Strybing Arboretum, Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden, while a trip through Napa Valley’s wineries is a must for wine lovers. Finally, California’s Berkeley University campus offers guided tours, which include the Greek Theater and Memorial Stadium.
Enjoy the superb bay views, cross the steep rolling hills by tram, explore eerie Alcatraz and visit the Museum of Modern Art. Or head for the celebrated vineyards of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.