One of the USA's most attractive cities, San Francisco's hilly streets provide some gorgeous glimpses of the Bay and its famous bridges. San Francisco has an atmosphere of genteel chic mixed with offbeat innovation and a self-effacing quality so blatantly missing from brassy New York and plastic LA.
The treats of San Francisco are not just for locals. The basic pleasures of life here – wonderful food, sparkling nightlife and those glorious views – are there for everyone. Watch the white fog fill the Golden Gate as the sunset lights up the windows across the bay, and prepare to leave your heart.
The best way to explore San Francisco's neighbourhoods is on foot. A leisurely stroll through North Beach, with its relaxed European charm, leads smack into bustling Chinatown. A hike up hoity-toity Nob Hill segues down to the troubled Tenderloin. South of Market, a busy warehouse district during the day, transforms into nightclub central at night. The Mission District is varied: many of its streets are Latino enclaves, but a continuous flow of hip young invaders has redefined many of the district’s crossroads. The nearby Castro was claimed by gay men in the 1970s, and it remains predominantly gay today, projecting an assured, almost mainstream air.
Facts for the traveller
Off the beaten track