Voted as "Best U.S. City" by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine for 16 consecutive years, San Francisco is known for its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities, and world-class cuisine.
Measuring 49 square miles, this walk-able city includes landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz and the largest Chinatown in the United States. A stroll of the City's streets can lead from Union Square to North Beach to Fisherman's Wharf, Japantown and the Mission District, with intriguing neighborhoods to explore at every turn. Views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay are often laced with fog, creating a romantic mood in this most European of American cities.
San Francisco has a colorful past, growing from a small village to a major city nearly overnight as a result of the 1849 Gold Rush. The writers of the "beat" generation, the hippies of the Summer of Love in the late 1960's and the large gay/lesbian population have all contributed to making San Francisco the fascinating place it is today. The City is home to world-class theater, opera, symphony, and ballet companies and often boasts premieres of Broadway-bound plays and culture-changing performing arts. San Francisco is also one of America's greatest dining cities. The diverse cultural influences, proximity of the freshest ingredients and competitive creativity of the chefs result in unforgettable dining experiences throughout the City.
San Francisco has well over 33,000 hotel rooms, from first-class hotels and ultra-chic boutique hotels to familiar names in lodging and budget friendly inns. For additional information, please visit www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.
As a founding sponsor, Visit California is pleased to be a part of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California. For insider trip ideas, cruise over to visitcalifornia.com
. SAN FRANCISCO / STAGE 8 Start, May 19
- The Golden Gate Bridge is actually orange. Dubbed “International Orange,” the color was selected because it blends with the nearby hills and contrasts with the ocean and sky. Bicycling Magazine ranked San Francisco as one of America’s top ten bike-friendly cities.
- Stop by the California Welcome Center in San Francisco located at PIER 39. Personal travel concierges answer your travel questions and offer free brochures, guides and maps, plus helpful tips on dining, shopping, lodging and things to do. Find FREE tourist information on all that California and San Francisco has to offer.
- PIER 39 is one of San Francisco's premier bay Attractions. No visit to San Francisco's Embarcadero waterfront is complete without a stop at PIER 39. Fun for all with shops, restaurants, sea lions, and the Aquarium of the Bay.
- There are a couple of misconceptions about how often the Bridge is painted. Some say once every seven years, others say from end to end each year. The truth is that the Bridge is painted continuously. Painting the Bridge is an ongoing task and a primary maintenance job.
- Alcatraz Island is one of San Francisco’s (and California’s) most famous landmarks. Tour the famous prison that once housed the likes of Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
- Ghirardelli Square is one of San Francisco’s most classic landmarks. This former factory site dates back to 1893. The handsome brick buildings now house shops and restaurants, with pretty outdoor spaces and fountains. And, you can top off your visit with a dessert that makes chocoholics go wild: a hot fudge sundae.
- In San Francisco, get your fill at famed Fisherman's Wharf. You'll never go hungry with a bounty of fresh seafood, sourdough, and Ghirardelli chocolate.
- Experience the abundance of icons: Alcatraz, cable cars clanging up and down impossibly steep hills, walking down the S-curves of wacky Lombard Street, taking a ferry across the sparkling bay, or watching a fishing boat unload its catch at Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Escape the excitement with a visit to Baker Beach. This remote and wild stretch of beach is ideal for strolling, picnicking, fishing, and taking in the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Park, 1,000 acres of manicured gardens and lush forests, houses the California Academy of Sciences, the greenest museum in the world.
- If you’re a foodie, make a beeline for the Ferry Building Marketplace. This indoor food mall is overflowing with ultra-fresh, locally produced artisan breads, cheeses and prepared foods. Twice a week, the adjacent plaza hosts an enormous outdoor farmers’ market.