Monday, August 29, 2011

Things To Do in San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco, California; photo by John, as star5112

California, U.S.A. is a tourist mecca, especially the City of San Francisco. Attractions abound, so travelers won't be disappointed. You may have a hard time fitting everything in, but you will certainly enjoy trying. Here's a short list.

Things To Do in San Francisco

A highlight for many is to ride a bike from Fisherman's Wharf along the Marina, then across the Golden Gate Bridge with a stop at Vista Point, continuing into Sausalito, and then returning to Fisherman's Wharf by ferry. Families can take their children to see the animals at the San Francisco Zoo or hike through the redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument. It is exciting to whale watch on a excursion to the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary or ride a helicopter over San Francisco, looping around the Golden Gate Bridge. Fabulous vistas can be enjoyed on ferry boat cruises around the bay. For something no cost, meet for a free walking tour of San Francisco offered by City Guides.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) is the train that services the San Francisco Bay Area. At the Powell exit, people can then take a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. On the way, they can also tour the Cable Car Museum or China town. With a car, one can visit Coit Tower or Twin Peaks to take in magnificent views of the City.

San Francisco Bay Area Vacations

Fascinating cities to check out are Half Moon Bay, Sausalito, Berkeley, China Town in San Francisco, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Palo Alto, Saratoga and Los Gatos. Exceptional parks in San Francisco Bay Area include the former military base and then prison of Alcatraz Island, Angel Island State Park, Ano Nuevo State Park which has elephant seals in their natural habitat, Point Reyes National Seashore with a trail along the San Andreas earthquake faultline, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Tilden Park for golfing and hiking in Berkeley, and Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo. Tourists could spend days in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, with attractions like the impressive deYoung Museum and Japanese Tea Garden.

If visiting college campuses is an interest, Stanford University in Palo Alto and the University of California at Berkeley offer free tours. Classic car buffs will want to visit Blackhawk Museum in the city of Danville, across the Oakland Bay Bridge.

Scenic Roads Around the City of San Francisco

With the Pacific Ocean, cityscapes, coastal mountains and pristine parks, many roads in the San Francisco Bay Area offer amazing views. Here are a few worth driving on:

  • Highway 1 along the coast
  • Highway 35
  • Panoramic Highway in Marin County
  • The Embarcadero in San Francisco
  • El Camino Del Mar in San Francisco
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Lombard Street, San Francisco
  • Bridgeway in Sausalito
  • Skyline Boulevard in Berkeley
  • Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Oakland
San Francisco Attractions and Activities

Shopping is a must for many visitors to San Francisco. Favorite places are the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings at the Ferry Building, Union Square, Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf and Embarcadero Center. Just across the Oakland Bay Bridge is Jack London Square in Oakland. Don't forget to stop in Heinold's First and Last Chance Bar that London used to frequent.

What is a vacation without great food? San Francisco is multicultural and the dining reflects that with restaurant cuisine from all corners of the globe. For a list of the best ranked eateries, click here. Across the bay in Berkeley is Alice Waters world famous Chez Panisse, where organic restaurant fare began.

For the brave souls who want more daring experiences, iFly in Union City, about a half hour drive outside of San Francisco, offers indoor sky diving on a vertical wind tunnel. Or acrobatics can be learned at Trapeze Arts in Oakland. Sea Horse Ranch in Half Moon Bay offers horseback riding on the beach, and the adventurous can also rent equipment to go kiteboarding, kitesurfing, kayaking or windsurfing.

Locals and visitors love to shop, dine, visit local hot spots, roller blade, sail, scuba dive, surf, swim, sunbathe, visit museums and galleries, visit colleges, attend concerts and theaters, bike, hike, golf, and motorcycle or drive on scenic roads. It would take a year to fully explore everything, so many visitors simply have to make another trip!

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