1/2/13

San Francisco, California, USA


San Francisco is a unique and breathtaking metropolis. From the famous icon of the Golden Gate Bridge to the exquisite art galleries at SFMOMA, the City takes pride in its unrivaled attractions, renowned museums, and its unique neighborhoods which are treasures of its own. Discover the variety of sites, shops, and restaurants that reflect the City's great ethnic and cultural diversity.
 
Alcatraz island

 Alcatraz Penitentiary was truly “The Rock,” where America sent the worst of the worst criminals from 1934-1966. Public enemies like Scarface Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Creepy Karpis, and the Birdman (Robert Stroud) all learned this first hand. People on the outside have always been fascinated with Alcatraz. Visitors peered at Alcatraz through telescopes when the prisoners were there, and ever since it was opened to tours, thousands of visitors have come every year.

 
Passing under Golden Gate bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful and most photographed bridges in the world.
Linking San Francisco with Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge is a 1.7 mile-long bridge that can be crossed by car, bicycle or on foot.
There are parking and viewing areas at either end of the bridge.
Completed after more than four years of construction at a cost of $35 million, opened to vehicular traffic on May 28th, 1937 at twelve o'clock noon when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key in the White House announcing the event. The Golden Gate Bridge was ahead of schedule and under budget.

Golden Gate Bridge

Who cares about a little fog (okay, a lot of fog) when there’s so much to do in San Francisco? By day, explore Fisherman’s Wharf and the Aquarium of the Bay, ride a cable car, and stroll around the Presidio; by night, have a fabulous dinner (at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a tiny place in Chinatown), then hit some of the best clubs on the West Coast.

 The famous Pier39 (Fisherman's Wharf)

Popular with tourists and sea lions, Fisherman's Wharf is full of shops, silly museums and family fun. Still a working wharf, its vendors sell thousands of tons of fish and shellfish. Take an early morning walk down "Fish Alley" to see fisherman at work. Later, the Wharf is boardwalk-style family entertainment with decidedly tourist attractions such as Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, the Red & White Fleet, the Wax Museum, and, of rare interest to local San Franciscans, the Aquarium.
For maritime-lovers and WWII buffs, the San Francisco Maritime Musuem is at the foot of Polk St. and massive USS Pampanito is docked right at Pier 45. USS Pampanito (SS-383) is a World War II Balao class Fleet submarine museum and memorial that is open for visitors daily at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Pampanito made six patrols in the Pacific during World War II during which she sank six Japanese ships and damaged four others.
 On Pier 39

The sea lions that camped out in PIER 39's West Marina have been an international sensation for more than 20 years. A few California sea lions began "hauling out" in PIER 39's West Marina shortly after the 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake. The boisterous barking pinnipeds started arriving in droves and took over K-Dock in January 1990. At first they numbered from 10-50, but due to a plentiful herring supply, the available dock space and protective environment, the population soon grew to more than 300 in a couple months. 
For the past two decades, The Marine Mammal Center, an organization devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, as well as to the study of these animals' health, advised PIER 39 that the sea lions should be allowed to stay.
In November 2009, a record number of sea lions were counted on K-Dock (1,701 to be exact)! Later that same month their numbers quickly dwindled and by December 2009 only a handful were visiting K-Dock. Researchers at The Marine Mammal Center attributed their departure to a shift in food source, which caused the population to travel to other regions in their normal range including the Oregon Coast to feed. Slow the sea lions migrated back to PIER 39 to the delight of locals and tourists who gather from all over the world to watch the playful behavior of the California sea lions.

  Hilly San Francisco

 China town

A walk through Chinatown and you will forget that you're in San Francisco and may think that you're somewhere in China. You will see four blocks of unique shops and restaurants, plus the famous Chinatown Fortune Cookie Factory.

 Cable car

Take a ride on the cable car located at the cross streets of Powell and Market and head to Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square and back again for some more shopping! Stop while you are there and sample the infamous Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista. Enjoy an exhilarating ride up and down the hills of San Francisco, wind gusting through the historic Cable Cars— gussied up in all their glorious San Francisco tradition. 

Experience the unique character of San Francisco's Union Square District, where the best names in fashion, dining and theater can be found. Union Square is a great place to meet friends or family and enjoy a day of shopping, dining, theater or a movie at San Francisco Centre or the Metreon.

Fruit market at Fisherman's Wharf

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