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This area of Bay Area contains some 800,000 inhabitants.
Sacramento, the state capital, is about 75 miles to the northeast of San Francisco, and Sausalito is 6 miles to the northwest.
There are a handful of places on this planet that are truly world-class and San Francisco is one of them because of sights such as Golden Gate Bridge and the University of San Francisco. You'll also be able to visit Pier 39 and Lombard Street here.
Take your partner and kids out to enjoy an afternoon of quality time at the Castro Theatre and the San Francisco Mint. For even more fun, head on to the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas and the Presidio Theater.
You might like to take the time to see the range of fish, amphibians, invertebrates and plants displayed inside Aquarium of the Bay and Steinhart Aquarium.
Snap photos, enjoy the interpretive displays and learn all about different ecosystems at the San Francisco Zoo. Be sure to ask at the entrance about zookeeper presentations and where to find the zoo's rarer inhabitants.
Spend the afternoon with beer lovers from all around the world at the Anchor Brewing Company, a great institution here. Take a close look at the facilities to discover what it is that makes the beer here so easy to drink.
To taste what this region is made of, make your way to the Winery Collective. Tour the vineyards, wine presses and barrel rooms and learn to recognize a quality drop. If you don't want a great day to end, pick up a few bottles to enjoy at home.
Ready to try your luck? Roll the dice or simply enjoy the bright lights at the Artichoke Joe's Casino.
Want to learn about some native plants and flowers? Spend a few hours at the Conservatory of Flowers or the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Budding botanists should also check out the Dahlia Garden and the Queen Wilhelmina Garden.
When it's time for a break, grab a bite to eat and make your way over to one of the pleasant urban parks, such as Golden Gate Park or the Japanese Tea Garden. Yerba Buena Gardens and Pioneer Park are two more nice places to while away a lazy afternoon and finally read that neglected book of yours.
Find out what's going on in the area at San Francisco Visitor's Center and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary - Visitor Center. The well-informed staff at California Welcome Center and San Franciscso Vistors Information Center are also on hand to answer any of your questions.
Look out over the glassy water, do a bit of bird-watching and check for any water-based activities at Stow Lake and Lake Merced.
If you've never been good at separating the words "vacation" and "beach" then this place is for you. There's enough scenic coastline here to satisfy even the most amphibious travelers. Rockaway Beach and China Beach should be your first stops. Baker Beach and Miramar Beach are also popular.
Leave your phone in the glove compartment and have a rest from the modern world at Alcatraz Island and Twin Peaks. Angel Island and Lands End Lookout are also popular among nature lovers.
Learn all about biodiversity and try spotting some ocean-dwelling lifeforms at JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.
Set aside a day or two to explore some of the many cultural institutions in the area. Enjoy the contemplative atmosphere as you check out the displays at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum and the Walt Disney Family Museum. Another two to look at are the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Hiller Aviation Museum.
Find your sea legs at the San Francisco Maritime Museum, the premier seafaring museum in the area.
Expand your knowledge on the latest in science and technology as you wander through the range of artifacts at the Exploratorium and Morrison Planetarium.
From the instant you walk through the doors, it is obvious that the collections of the California Academy of Sciences and the Mexican Museum are the product of obsession. Looking back from behind protective glass, these fantastic specimens are sure to spark your curiosity. You may also like to check out the Kimball Natural History Museum and the Natural World Museum.
San Francisco is a hub of artistic activity, with galleries and exhibition spaces all over. Pop in to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco for the best of what this creative destination has to offer. If you're feeling inspired, finish up your afternoon at the De Young Museum and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Amateur historians can explore the past at the Randall Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Do you like the sound of those? Continue your explorations at the GLBT History Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum.
The University of California San Francisco and the San Francisco State University are certainly worth looking into, even if you're not a passionate history buff. You might also like to take a few photos at Coit Tower and the City College of San Francisco.
Providing an easy way to cross the city's waterways, Lefty O'Doul Bridge and Bay Bridge offer a lovely view of the rushing water below. Those interested in engineering should also drop by Francis "Lefty" O'Doul Bridge.
If you are interested in the military history of the area, take a tour of the historical fortifications on display at Fort Point National Historical Site.
Take a peek into the lives of some of the area's most influential families with a visit to the stately grounds of California Palace of the Legion of Honor.
Discover the region's spiritual side and enjoy some moments of quiet contemplation at Grace Cathedral and Mission Dolores. You could also explore St. Patrick Catholic Church and the San Francisco Zen Center.
After you've checked out all the star attractions in and around San Francisco, make time to see a few of its lesser-known sights. The San Francisco Public Library and the Fort Mason are two recommended options. If you have more time to spare, also check out the California Historical Society or the Intersection for the Arts.
Accommodation in San Francisco
San Francisco features an excellent range of places to stay. Expedia's San Francisco hotels guide lists all hotel deals.
San Francisco's premium accommodation options such as the Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square, at 900 N Point Street, and the St. Regis San Francisco, at 125 3rd St are bound to satisfy the most discerning travelers. If you discover that those recommendations don't fit with your exact needs, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay and the Loews Regency San Francisco might be what you need.
If you are in town for just one night and only have time to see the highlights, why not check out the Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square or the St. Regis San Francisco, which are both within walking distance from Union Square.
Hotel Zoe San Francisco is 2 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, and the Alcatraz Island ferry.
Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Powell and Market Cable Car Turnaround, Fishermans Wharf Cable Car Turnaround, and Hyde Street Pier. Ghirardelli Square and Lombard Street are also within 15 minutes.
Fairmont San Francisco is located atop swanky Nob Hill, the only spot in the city where every cable car line intersects. Guests can hop a ride past the Cable Car Museum to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, or walk 4 minutes to Chinatown. Union Square is just a half-mile away.
A member of The Luxury Collection of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, this legendary 1909 hotel in downtown San Francisco is 1 block from the Financial District, 3 blocks from Union Square, and 4 blocks from Moscone Center.
Iconic, AAA 4-Diamond hotel a few steps from Union Square, Cable Car station, theatre district, BART, Chinatown, SFMOMA, and Moscone Center. Upgraded rooms offer stunning views of the city and the Bay.
Located in the San Francisco theater district with a BART and MUNI station at its entrance, this downtown hotel is 6 blocks from Union Square and within a mile of Moscone Center and SFMOMA.
Located in the heart of the South of Market district (SoMa), The Park Central San Francisco is across from Yerba Buena Gardens and close to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Ferry Building, Moscone Center, Union Square, Financial District, and Chinatown. The area also offers many restaurants and nightlife.
This historic 15-story hotel is on San Francisco's Powell Street Cable Car line. Union Square, Moscone Center, Chinatown, TransAmerica Tower, the Financial District, and the Ferry Building are also within easy reach.