US trips: San Francisco pt 1
The tech city with a green soul
One of the most vibrant city in the US, very European if compared to the other cities of America, San Francisco has a unique style, mixing hills, skyscrapers, city parks, old buildings and a breathtaking ocean view.
San Francisco has a diversified economy, including financial services, tourism, and an increasingly high technology. Citizens keep a great attention to ecology and sustainability, it’s also one of the healthiest population in the states with a big offer of organic food.
San Francisco became the main hub during the internet boom of the 1990s and during the second technological growth driven by social media, the city it became a popular location for companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter to base their tech offices.
Main spots to visit in San Francisco
Even though SF is relatively small it offers many places to visit, to go for a walk, take a picture or just look at some of the eye-catch views.
NORTH BEACH and Lombard street
I like to start with a very touristic but a must see in SF. The area of Embarcadero its on the north side of the city, Surrounded by fish restaurants, funny sea lions and street artists. The main spot, here in North beach, is Pier 39. You can admire Alcatraz and get the ferry for vising it. There is also a Bubba Gump restaurant, which offer fried and oily seafood.
Five minutes by Tram up to the hill there is an hot spot for pictures: Lombard street. With an amazing view of the city, it’s being part of several international movies.
Golden Gate bridge
The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of America. It’s amazing to see during a sunny but also during a foggy one, when looks like floating….a goose bumps atmosphere!
Mission district: the heart of the San Francisco street art
Walking trough this district full of pubs, tattoo shops, clubs and restaurants you will see one of the greatest worldwide collection of murals and graffiti.
Castro and Dolores park
Hosting one of the biggest American LGBT community, it’s impossible to not find a dedicated neighborhood. The name is Castro, It extends down Market Street toward Church Street and on both sides of the Castro neighborhood from Church Street to Eureka Street. Colorful and extravagant, I suggest for a fast visit. Here, there is also a beautiful view of the city up to the hill of Dolores park, bring some beers and go during the weekend, people from all over the world are meeting here for chilling under the Cali’s sun.
Around 20 minutes walking from Castro there is another spot famous on the big screen, The painted Ladies.
Visiting this old prison is a fulfilling experience, step by step, you will know incredible stories, going over again the life of those people who worked there until 1963, when was closed because not considered convenient anymore. It’s now run by the National Park service and it’s an important touristic pole.
Hight-Ashbury and the golden gate park
Hight-Ashbury is famous for being the suburb where the hippy movement born and rise, full of vintage and alternative shops is close to the golden gate park. This park is amazing with ponds, rivers, trees, everything seems in perfect harmony, ideal to chill or do some sport activity.
The financial district
The economic heart of the city, most of the bank and financial institutions are located here. All these massive skyscrapers are very fascinating. During the weekend here, is also possible to find the craziest parties tanks to the low rate of residents.
if you have time left
I’ve spent 3 months in San Francisco so I’ve pretty seen it most of the city. If you stay more than a week, you can visit China Town one of the biggest in the US, take a tour to the Twin Peaks, these hills have a beautiful view of the entire city, or visit the botanical garden which is very big and lovely. Nice tours to do close to the city will be part of the second article about San Francisco.
Food and parties in town
Burgers and sandwiches
Between the American cities, San Francisco is certainly the one with a population who care most to health and food. It’s extraordinary to see so many organic shops and that few Mac Donalds, which is not on trend anymore. For eating I recommend you the meat in one of the pubs in center or fish in north beach. The specialty it’s crab and lobster sandwiches, delicious and fresh, are also easy to prepare at home, nice for trying something different.
My top three
One of the best rooftop for eating and drinking at a reasonable price is Dirty Habit , small portions but delicious, it offers different kind of food and you can try more things. Between my favorite restaurant, in my top three, there are two Italian restaurants: 54 Mint and Montesacro pinseria. The first it’s a modern restaurant with a very good menu typical of the Roman tradition. The second one proposes a different version of pizza, made it with a mix of different flours to be lighter, called pinsa. Very cozy and familiar, the pinsa is nice and the price proportional for San Francisco.
Drinks and clubs
San Francisco has a vibrant and liberal nightlife, a typical night it starts in bar and rooftop to continue in bigger clubs. There are many secret locations as well as bar that playing music like in a disco. I went often to the Q-Bar a famous gay bar that on Monday it’s frequented by everyone, with 1 dollar shots.
Liberal, open minded and multicultural. Night parties shouldn’t have better base. Among the electro clubs Monarch it’s one of the best in San Francisco offering different styles and also techno music. Another famous club is Temple, very big has often EDM music. The last one that I’d like to suggest is Audio, with various kind of electronic, mostly EDM.
Overall San Francisco has a lot to offer every night, but some style are not covered at all, with a predominance of hip-hop and EDM on clubs, there are anyway periodic events for every tastes. Clubs usually close around 4/5 A.M., following city rules and afterparties are far away from the city, so it’s better organize yourself if you like party longer. In the next part of the US T(r)ip I’ll speak about what visit close to the city, annual events in town and sport matches to follow!