San Francisco - Recommended Tours
San Francisco is a unique city of steep hills and beautiful architecture, bordered by the Muir Woods, the Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Seeing everything is possible; the city is rather small, but the terrain often poses a challenge. Be sure to have a schedule in mind, and take advantage of the convenient public transportation options.
Union Square is a haven for shoppers: look in any direction and you will see upscale department stores. Nearby, visitors can hop onto a cable car on Powell Street, or walk up Stockton Street to the pagoda-style roofs of Chinatown. The St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral can be found here. Explore the many shops with their inexpensive wares and souvenirs, then grab a bite at the nearby Imperial Palace.
The Saints Peter and Paul Church is North Beach's defining feature, and its lawn is the site of many summertime picnics and pickup football games. City Lights Bookstore, a shrine of the "Beat" culture, can be found nearby. The store features a collection of literature, poetry, and avant-garde theory and criticisms, some of it published under the City Lights label, which you won't find anywhere else. The Tosca Cafe and the Caffe Trieste are former Beat hangouts that offer tasty dining options. Take note of the sign for the Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard, and if you're in the mood for satirical sketches, stop in for a show.
The climb to Coit Tower is very steep, be warned. You can stop at the Liguria Bakery for a bite before. At the top of Coit Tower, take in the spectacular panorama from Nob Hill past the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and the East Bay. Then hop on a bus and visit Fort Mason and Ghirardelli Square.
A trip to Fisherman's Wharf on the Embarcadero is on every visitor's to do list. Shop at Pier 39 and be sure to try the fresh seafood at Lou's Pier 47. Ferries embark to Alcatraz Island and Angel Island State Park from the Ferry Building Marketplace. Be sure to check out the culinary shops and restaurants while you wait for your ferry.
Yerba Buena Center
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is located in the area south of Market Street. The unique, temporary exhibitions here draw huge crowds. If you are in San Francisco for a convention or other event at the Moscone Center, it's just around the corner. Above the Moscone Center, whose business end is underground, is the successful Yerba Buena Center complex and Yerba Buena Gardens. The Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center features a year round, indoor skating rink. It's a handsome and airy facility with a glass wall that faces the skyscrapers Downtown. Across Howard Street, you can see the back end of the imposing Metreon, Sony's four-story, sixteen-screen entertainment megalith.
If you're looking for an affordable way to hit all San Francisco's hotspots, try one of these tour companies.
Barbary Coast Trail ( +1 415 454 2355/ http://www.barbarycoasttrail.org/ )
Flower Power Haight-Ashbury Walking Tour ( +1 415 863 1621/ http://www.hippygourmet.com/)
Dashiell Hammett Walking Tour ( +1 510 287 9540/ http://www.donherron.com/ )
Yosemite with Green Tortoise ( +1 415 956 7500/ http://www.greentortoise.com/yosemite.national.park.html )
Gray Line Tours ( +1 888 428 6937/ http://www.sanfranciscosightseeing.com/ )
Starline Tours ( 1-800-959-3131/ http://www.starlinetours.com/san-francisco-tours.asp )
Bike & Roll San Francisco ( +1 415 771 8735/ http://www.bicyclerental.com/)
California Canoe & Kayak ( +1 510 893 7833/ http://www.calkayak.com/ )
Segway San Francisco Electric Tour ( +1 415 474 3130 / +1 877 474 3130/ http://www.electrictourcompany.com/ )
Anchor Brewing Company ( +1 415 863 8350/ http://www.anchorbrewing.com/ )
Fire Engine Tours
San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures ( +1 415 333 7077/ http://www.fireenginetours.com/ )
Wok Wiz Chinatown Tours and Cooking Company ( +1 650 355 9657/ http://www.wokwiz.com/tours/index.html )
The Haunted Haight Walking Tour ( +1 415 863 1416/ http://www.hauntedhaight.com/)
Chinatown Ghost Tours (+1 415 793 1183/ http://www.sfchinatownghosttours.com/)