San Francisco, also nicknamed Frisco, is a cosmopolitan city known the world over for its ethnic and political communities, liberalism and picturesque terrain. The area is small, seven by seven mile square, and is at its best (fog free) from March to May and September to October and remains one of America's top tourist destinations. San Francisco plays host to many colorful events throughout the year. Look them up while you are there.
Your choice of a nice hotel can let you live like a local in San Francisco. You can blend into the neighborhood and go to places like a veteran. You can find rooms ranging from $45 to $1,280 per night. In peak season, the room rates are high, while in the off season prices usually fall. So, it is wise to hunt for the best deal available and book ahead of time.
If Union Square appeals to you, then try The Argent Hotel San Francisco, you can walk to cable cars and take a ride to Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. A nice hotel in touristy Fisherman's Wharf is the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Chinatown, North Beach and Coit Tower are within a mile's reach from this cozy spot.
It's rather easy to get around the city except some roads have steep angles making it difficult to walk upward or drive, so avoid renting a car. Just get a weeklong City Pass (1-888-330-5008; http://www.citypass.com; $49 or $39 for children 5 to 17), which allows you unlimited use of the Muni buses, trolleys, historic street cars and cable cars. The same pass includes admission to attractions like the Exploratorium and the Museum of Modern Art.
You may want to start the day by going to the Union Square, also known as the heart of San Francisco. Visit the big shopping centers anchored by stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy's. Go walking from Stockton to Chinatown, where the main attractions are the graceful pagodas and the plethora of shops selling everything from jade to dim sum under Chinese brands.
Further north, Stockton Street reaches Fisherman's Wharf — the main tourist center in town. When you come to the end of Stockton, turn right and then take the first left into Embarcadero. You will get to the wharf which is speckled with many souvenir shops and restaurants. At Pier 39, hop on a ferry and take a bay tour. You can get spectacular views of the city at night. On Pier 45, the Pampanito submarine also offers a nice underwater experience.
To end the trip on a positive note, dine at the Sea Lion Cafe at Pier 39. Unwind and enjoy fresh seafood and order your choice from the full bar. Get the best view of the world-famous California sea lions barking and frolicking right outside your window.
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