Explore San Francisco

San Francisco has various regions to explore that make up the city's charm and culture. Its diversity can be appreciated and enjoyed by just about anyone. Some of the most widely-recognized areas include, but are not limited to, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury and the Fisherman's Wharf. These areas attract the highest concentration of visitors because each location is unique and has a story to tell that keep visitors of all ages coming back year after year.

Explore Alcatraz > Alcatraz
Since the 1930's, Alcatraz, also known as "the Rock", became widely-acknowledged as an inescapable high-security penitentiary. The freezing and choppy waters that surrounded the Rock created the ideal enclosure for dangerous criminal minds. Only the most atrocious criminals were sent there to rot in solitary confinement. Inmates were restricted to dark and cramped cells. They couldn't even talk to one another or eat together.

In 1963, the prison was shut down due to exceedingly high maintenance costs. These days, you can join over half a million visitors who tour the grounds of Alcatraz each year, in awe over what was once a house full of wretched criminals. You can listen to an audio tour that guides you as you're walking through the prison grounds and hear inmate stories and commentary. If you're up for it, you can even spend a minute locked in a dark and solitary cell.

Tours to Alcatraz leave from the Fisherman's Wharf on pier 41 between 9:30am & 6:30 pm. During the summer months, night tours are available from Thursday to Sunday. It is strongly recommended that you book weeks in advance as the tours fill up very quickly.

Explore Chinatown > Chinatown
San Francisco's Chinatown is the 2nd largest Chinese district in the U.S. Many visitors are attracted to allure of Chinatown, as it presents a whole different world. You can chose to explore Chinatown on your own or take a free walking tour. A tour will tell you all about its history, and take you through various streets discussing historic figures and pointing out significant buildings. If you venture out on your own be certain to stroll down Stockton Street, away from the tawdry trinket shops, where you can experience a less touristy feel. During the day, all the unique little shops are open to peruse and there are often musicians playing in the street. Also, if you enjoy Chinese food, try some of the authentic cuisine in one of the many restaurants or noodle houses - it sure is scrumptious!
Explore Haight-Ashbury > Haight-Ashbury
A few miles west of downtown, is Haight-Ashbury, named after two adjoining streets that encompass the area. In the 1960's, "The Haight" became San Francisco's bastion of cool due to its chillin' cafes, eclectic record and bookstores, and thrift shops. These days you will still find a similar scene with a primarily younger crowd, along with some of San Francisco's best shopping. So stroll around and hit up all the unique shops and maybe you'll find that vintage book, rare live recording, or shiny ceramic monkey you've been searching for all these years.
Explore Fisherman's Wharf > Fisherman's Wharf
The Fisherman's Wharf is commonly known to all who journey to San Francisco. This highly-visited tourist attraction is filled with souvenir shops, sidewalk seafood vendors and an abundance of restaurants. Decades ago, it was home to an authentic fishing port. In recent years, it has become extremely crowded and commercialized, so you don't need to spend too much time there, but it still warrants a brief stroll through. If anything, the sea lions on Pier 39 are worth checking out. You can see them slipping and slithering through the water, hopping up on the docks and "ark-arking", and occasionally engaging in a playful quarrel over the ideal basking spot.

Hotels Near Alcatraz
Hotels Near Chinatown
Hotels Near Haight-Ashbury
Hotels Near Fisherman's Wharf
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