We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing to browse our site you are agreeing to our Cookies Policy and use of cookies technology. Find out more »

HostelBookers Logo

Overview to San Francisco: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

San Francisco Skyline

San Francisco; whether it’s Steve McQueen driving his Mustang around the steep slopes of the suburbs in ‘Bullitt’ or Kim Novak sleepwalking the streets in ‘Vertigo’, most travelers already have an image of the iconic American city in their minds.

Seeing it on the big screen, though, doesn’t even begin to prepare you for the visual impression it leaves. The crooked descent from Lombard Street on Russian Hill, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Prison brooding out in the bay… San Francisco is a series of striking images.

But this purely superficial description is at odds with the complex and rich reality of a city that amounts to far more than it even appears to. Quite different from anything you might find in Europe, it’s also a world away from its East Coast counterparts, New York, Boston and Washington.

Many travelers warm to San Francisco because of its laidback atmosphere and tolerant philosophy. A thriving gay community on Castro rubs shoulders with a vibrant counter-cultural movement stretching back to Kerouac, the Beat Generation and the 60s hippie scene.

Right across its length and breadth, the city is dotted with different areas, each packed with their own unique character. North Beach, the city’s Little Italy, retains some of its 50s and 60s bohemian flavor, as well as a host of authentic restaurants.

At the center of Downtown, the large and ever-expanding Chinatown is certainly well worth a visit. It’s a busy, thrusting neighborhood where both locals and visitors gravitate to take in its fascinating atmosphere and, of course, its food.

Elsewhere in the city, gorgeous Victorian terraces can be found in the Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Fillmore and Haight-Ashbury districts of town. They form an important part of what is an extremely attractive and varied cityscape.

For the shopaholic, there are few better places than bustling Union Square. Located near the Financial district, it’s filled with all manner of shops and department stores, ranging from the outrageously expensive down to the outright bargain.

San Francisco is a wonderfully vital city. It boasts a host of top landmarks, a buzzing cultural scene, great restaurants and nightlife and a friendly, welcoming vibe. And, even in a country full of notable metropolises, it manages to charm travelers with its excellence.