From its origins as a monastic outpost of Franciscan monks to the 12th largest city in the United States, San Francisco has never lost its title as one of America’s most alluring cities. Its year-round temperate climate, dynamic cultural scene and European-style urban layout have attracted some of the world’s most intriguing innovators, artists and architects.
Easily identifiable landmarks include the Golden Gate Bridge and the cheery cable-cars that chug up the many hills of the city. Arrivals from America’s East Coast provided many of the city’s distinctive wood-framed homes, while the vibrant immigrant communities have given the Chinatown markets, Japanese spas, Italian restaurants and Russian tea rooms.
Affordable but hip hotels can help keep costs down as visitors explore art galleries and curiosity shops, tour the fishing wharf or check out one of the most prolific performing arts venues, and the city itself can also serve as a staging point for exploration of the amazing redwood forests of northern California, the spectacular scenic thoroughfares of the West Coast.