San Francisco -

San Francisco is a bustling cosmopolitan city in California, the centerpiece of the Bay Area, well-known for its diverse ethnic and political communities, hilly and picturesque terrain, and history of earthquakes. It is located on the tip of a peninsula by San Francisco Bay and the Pacific coast and has a population of around 750,000. It is 7 miles by 7 miles in size. The best times to visit are September and October because they are mostly fog free. But just in case, dress in layers. Nothing makes locals laugh more than a tourist wearing shorts, sandals and a brand-new parka.

Districts

  Bayview-Hunters Point
  Bernal Heights
  Castro Street (aka The Castro)
  Chinatown
  Civic Center
  Cow Hollow
  Fillmore
  Financial District
  Fisherman's Wharf
  Haight
  Hayes Valley
  Ingleside
  Japantown (Nihonmachi)
  Marina
  Mission
  Nob Hill
  Noe Valley
  North Beach
  Pacific Heights
  Potrero Hill
  Richmond
  Russian Hill
  SoMa
  Sunset
  Tenderloin
  Twin Peaks
  Union Square
  Visitation Valley
  West Portal
  Western Addition

Drink

For you travelers who like the grit and gritty of the city, go to Zeitgeist. It is a great place to split a pitcher of beer with some friends on a hot summer day. There is lots outside seating and the even better there is a shade tree to give you some relief from the sun, oh wait were talking about San Francisco. The tattooed bar tenders are friendly enough and will have information about staying in one of the rooms above the bar, if you have drank too much or if you believe in love at first site. This place is cool, go there. They have great beers on tap. Everyone is friendly, even though the place looks like the home of Satan's Helper's. After the in-house food stops being served, you may see the Tamale lady. Feeling buzzed and looking for late night Grub? Get a Tamale. If you like football(Soccer) and all things English, you should stop into the Lower Haight's Mad Dog In the Fog. Located at Haight and Fillmore, the pub quiz and bar food are good. Swill some pints and stay in the dark. Good for a entire days worth of drinking. It's also central to other "dive" bars on Haight.

Toronado in the lower haight has a many, many beers, crowding out the atmosphere. They allow you to bring in food from outside, and the block is chock-a-block with takeout (Rosemund for sausages, Memphis Minnie's for barbeque, others for other food).

Stay safe

As with many other major cities in the world, San Francisco also has a share of problems. The distinct areas that one should be cautious in are around the southeast section of the city, such as Bayview-Hunters Point, and the SoMa (South of Market downtown) and the Tenderloin districts at night (north-east of the Civic Center). San Francisco attracts a large homeless population, the largest per capita in America, and in absolute numbers trailing only New York and Los Angeles, due to the moderate weather and generally tolerant city government and populace. Plus, an incredibly high cost of living here also adds to the numbers of homeless people. Generally, if someone begs from you, just politely say that you do not have any change and they'll leave you alone. Alternatively, if you do not feel threatened, you could offer food. Many of the homeless are friendly and very articulate, and are happy to at least have you acknowledge their presence, but be aware that it's not just a coincidence that some of the homeless people have some serious mental health & substance abuse issues, so keep your guard up.

Links

  San Francisco Bay Area public transit info, important for a city with tight parking but excellent public transit.
  San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau and its subset, the
  Official Visitor Site for San Francisco lists many specialized events, but is unfortunately both boring and slow.
  SFgate by the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper provides a more lively summary.

Get In
Attractions
Activities
Get Around
Lodging
Dining
Get Out

Smoking

Smokers beware: as in the rest of California, smoking is illegal in bars, restaurants, and other public places. Bay Area people can be particularly vocal about your personal habits. Be aware of nonsmoking areas, and try to be courteous about smoking in other places. They will probably not bother you about standing and smoking outside a restaurant or bar.

However, smoking is not dead in San Francisco; there are a small number of bars that take advantage of loopholes in the law, and cater to the short-of-breath. The Zeitgeist (a motorcycle-themed dive bar) on Valencia in the Mission District is one of the better known. The Eagle (a gay biker/leather-themed bar) and the Lone Star (a gay bear-themed bar) both feature large outdoor smoking patios.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License


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