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Very few cities can conjure up such striking images and ideals as San Francisco. You have heard it all before: the beat movement, Golden Gate Bridge, centre for gay rights, liberal attitudes, city by the bay, flowers in your hair. Hearing about a city is one thing but visiting it is quite another and San Francisco is a city that will capture your heart in ways few other urban locations can.
You will already know about the likes of Coit Tower and Alcatraz before you go so we will aim to highlight some of the hidden gems the city has to offer.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest in North America and walking the streets alone is an experience. There are, however, some lesser-known treasures off the main streets. Tucked away on narrow Ross Alley is the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Inside, the few workers diligently man a conveyor belt, making fortune cookies the old fashioned way. Admission is free and you might be offered a sample but if you want to take a photo you are asked to leave 50 cents- at least that’s what the sign outside says!
Nearby, you’ll find Norras Temple, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple, with an altar made out of wood imported from China. Located on the third floor of 109 Waverly St, it is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside
For stunning views back across the city, towards Oakland to the East and the Marin headlands to the north, make your way to the top of Tank Hill in the Twin Peaks neighbourhood of the city. It’s definitely one of those locations that only locals make the worthwhile effort to visit.
The city is well-known for its quirkiness and this extends to its vibrant night life. One of the better-themed bars is Butter. With an unrivalled menu, including corndogs and deep-fried Twinkies (all served from half an RV in the back of the bar) it’ll be one of the more unique dining experiences you’ll have! At the Black Horse Pub, located on 1514 Union St, you can be sure of a friendly welcome from the owner James, along with a cool beer from the bathtub behind the bar. Don’t bring too many with you as the tiny space only accommodates about 20 people.
If you have your children in tow then you’ll want to bring them along to the Exploratorium. Their website states it “isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception” and we couldn’t put it any better.
Another great venue is the Museum Mechanique which is home to one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of mechanically-operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. From turn-of-the-century hand cranked music boxes to modern video arcade games, it will be both a trip down memory lane for parents and a chance for kids to see what their parents used to play with.
For places to lay your head, why not relax in Hotel Union Square located one block from bustling Union Square and alongside the famous cable car line, Hotel Union Square completed an extensive modern makeover in spring 2008. Remaining faithful to its Art Deco history, guestrooms have been transformed into a new experience, fusing contemporary with classic San Francisco. If you fancy splashing out that little bit more, The Hilton San Francisco Financial District, located in the historic centre of the city, the Hilton San Francisco Financial District sits at the crossroads of the Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach and Nob Hill. Within our bustling, culturally diverse surrounding neighbourhoods you are just steps away from San Francisco’s most popular attractions. Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge are short drives away. An excellent accommodation experience!
San Francisco is a must-visit destination with so much to do, see and experience and you will not be disappointed! Book yourself a great travel deal to San Francisco all inclusive holidays, hotels and flights on http://www.ebookers.ie