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San Francisco, California Vacation Travel

More About San Francisco - Editor's Tips - Weather Maps & Dining

When to go?
San Francisco is uniquely refreshing, both climatically and culturally, four seasons a year - there is no single best/worst time to visit. Cool coastal fog sweeps over the city most nights, particularly in the summer months, so be sure to pack a sweater or light jacket whenever you visit San Francisco. The autumn months are the warmest of the year, particularly in the nearby Wine Country, while January through March can be somewhat damp. Uniquely San Francisco happenings are scattered throughout the year, including: the Bay to Breakers Foot Race (third Sunday in May), Gay Pride Parade (last weekend of June), and Fleet Week (weekend before Columbus Day).

Where to stay?
The well known Fishermans Wharf area is indeed centrally located for tourist activities, but embodies none of the charm of the neighborhoods. For a combination of charm and convenience, look for boutique lodging along Union Street in the Marina District. To focus on power shopping, theatre, and business, the best options are found in the downtown areas near the Ferry Building and Union Square (not to be confused with Union Street, which is located across town).

What to do?
If you only have one day, ride the Cable Car between Union Square and Fishermans Wharf - it may be crowded and touristy but you will not regret it. If the Cable Car queue is long at either terminus, just walk up a few blocks and hop on there. Once at Fishermans Wharf, plow straight through the throngs of tourists and take a Ferry to either Alcatraz (for a tour) or Sausalito (for lunch). On the way back through Fishermans Wharf, stop at the Buena Vista Cafe; for an original Irish Coffee. In the evening, if you can plan ahead and reserve tickets, do not miss the signature show extravaganza Beach Blanket Babylon. For fresh air and exercise, take a brisk walk on the Golden Gate Bridge.


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