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San Francisco Attractions

San Francisco Attractions

Nothing compares to San Francisco attractions like Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Park! Here's a short list of fun things to do in San Francisco to get you started.

The Mission - Vibrant, hip and ethnically mixed, the Mission is easily San Francisco's funkiest neighborhood. A mile or so south of downtown, it is also the warmest, eluding the summer fogs. As the traditional first stop for immigrants, the Mission serves as a microcosm of the city's history and, for the time being, ensures that the neighborhood never transcends the "transitional" stage it has been in for years.

Union Square - The city's heart can be found around Union Square, located north of Market Street and bordered by Powell and Stockton streets. Cable cars clank past bustling shoppers and theater-goers who gravitate to the district's many upscale hotels, department stores and boutiques. The statue in the center commemorates Admiral Dewey's success in the Spanish-American War, though the square takes its name from its role as gathering place for stumping speechmakers during the US Civil War.

Golden Gate Park - In a city with an abundance of green space, Golden Gate Park stands out as not just the largest, but also the most beautiful and safest, of its parks. Spreading three miles or so west from the Haight as far as the Pacific, it was constructed on what was then an area of wild sand dunes, buffeted by the spray from the ocean. Despite the throngs of joggers, polo players, roller-skaters, cyclists and strollers, it never seems to get overcrowded and you can always find a spot to be alone.

Fisherman's Wharf  - San Francisco rarely tries to pass off pure, unabashed commercialism as a worthy tourist attraction, but with Fisherman's Wharf and the nearby waterfront district, it makes an exception. An inventive use of statistics allows the area to proclaim itself the most-visited tourist attraction in the entire country.

Chinatown - Its 24 square blocks smack in the middle of San Francisco make up the second-largest Chinese community outside Asia. Almost entirely autonomous, with its own schools, banks and newspapers, it has its roots in the migration of Chinese laborers to the city after the completion of the transcontinental railroad, and the arrival of Chinese sailors keen to benefit from the Gold Rush.

San Francisco Activities

Alcatraz - Alcatraz's exhibits and tours vividly recount the prison's legacy of cruel and unusual punishment, such as unbearably long periods of solitary confinement that drove some men mad.  At least 750,000 tourists each year take the excellent hour-long, self-guided audio tours of the abandoned prison, which include some sharp anecdotal commentary and even the chance to spend a minute (it feels like forever) locked in a darkened cell. 

Cable Cars - They're only kept on for tourists, but San Francisco's cable cars are still among its most visible and charming icons, offering scenic rides up and down some of the city's steeper streets.

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