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San Francisco - 'The City.'
Start your tour with the 49-Mile Drive marked with blue-and white seagull signs. Be prepared to dine well: San Francisco has more than 3,000 restaurants. Most rate from good to terrific, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients - the hallmark of California cuisine.
Union Square/Financial District.
Welcome to shopper's heaven. The major department stores around Union Square and scores of specialty shops along Post Street and in the Embarcadero Center will tempt you. For fun plus good views, catch a cable car up Powell Street or California Street to Nob Hill, Chinatown, or Fisherman's Wharf. Or, zoom to the top of the Bank of America Building to see the fog come in beneath you.
Here, two ethnic enclaves exist side by side. Stroll Grant Avenue amid Chinese-style buildings, housing, restaurants and shops. North of Broadway is North Beach, known as Little Italy. Explore the cafés and bookstores.
Wharf Area/Telegraph Hill.
Stroll Fisherman's Wharf savoring a fresh crab cocktail while you watch the fishermen put their boats in order. Nearby Ghirardelli Square and the neighboring Cannery both offer a myriad of shops and restaurants. Board the numerous historic sailing ships at Hyde Street Pier. At Pier 39, enjoy the sea lions, shops, restaurants, street performers, and a brand-new aquarium. Cruise to Alcatraz to tour 'the Rock,' a notorious former prison. Or, board a ferry to Vallejo and Marine World Africa USA.
South of Market.
This redeveloped area includes the Center for the Arts Theater and Galleries at the Yerba Buena Gardens and the stunning new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The area is an enclave of trendy restaurants, nightclubs, and theaters, but you can shop the outlets here, too.
Golden Gate Park.
This retreat holds everything from museums - the De Young, Asian Art Museum, and Academy of Sciences - to the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, Arboretum, and buffalo paddock next to Spreckels Lake.
The Civic Center offers world-class symphony, opera, and ballet performances. The Exploratorium is a children's hands-on science museum. Shop and dine in style on Union Street.