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Once the center of the counter-culture movement of the sixties, San Francisco is now one of the world’s technology powerhouses and a hub for start-up companies. Although you'll no longer find Janis Joplin or the Grateful Dead singing to sold-out crowds, the laid-back liberal atmosphere remains. Fleece jackets and tennis shoes long ago replaced suits and ties in the city’s Financial District.
San Francisco is known for its distinctive neighborhoods and tourist areas. Hitch a ride on cable car as it hauls you over the city’s steep hills to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you can try fresh seafood or a bowl of creamy clam chowder. Browse bohemian bookshops and soak up some music history in Haight-Ashbury. Stroll through Union Square for some serious shopping, or hang onto your hat as you walk the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
The attractions here are as diverse as the weather. Experience the city’s multiculturalism in Little Italy or Japan Town. Take a walking tour of North America's largest Chinatown. Along the eastern seafront, stroll the Embarcadero, where you can dine with views over the bay or grab some fresh produce at the farmers’ market. Wander through the 1000 acres (405 hectares) of Golden Gate Park. Board a ferry for a trip to the seaside village of Sausalito. Don't forget your jacket as even on the sunniest day it gets cold out on the water.
For a change of pace, head to Pier 33 and jump on board a tour to Alcatraz Island. Listen to fascinating, personal accounts of life at one of the world’s harshest prisons or stroll the grounds and the old cellblocks. Tours are popular, so it's best to book ahead.
Weather in San Francisco can change by the hour and from one neighborhood to the next. For the best chance of consistent sunshine, visit September through November. Winter means wind and rain, but also the best deals for accommodation. The city is crowded in summer for festivals such as the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade in late June. This is one of the biggest celebrations of diversity in the country.
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.
The Serrano Hotel is steps away from Union Square, perfectly positioned in the Theater District of San Francisco, 2 blocks from the Powell Street cable car.
The Tuscan, A Noble House Hotel is 2 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, and the Alcatraz Island ferry.
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.
Set along a tranquil lagoon, this contemporary resort-style hotel is 11 miles south of San Francisco International Airport and an equidistant 25 miles from San Francisco and San Jose.
Built around a skylit open atrium, this fully renovated 9-story hotel on San Francisco Bay features an onsite restaurant and is located 2.5 miles from the airport, 10 miles from Half Moon Bay, and 14 miles from downtown San Francisco.
This elegant and historic 1904 hotel offers a prime location across from San Francisco's Union Square; cable cars stop right at the front door, and the Financial District and Chinatown are both just 4 blocks away.
This 200-room hotel is 2 miles north of San Francisco International Airport and 10 miles from downtown San Francisco.