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I left my heart in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities on the west coast. Famed for its steep rolling hills, iconic bridges, unique architecture, and its wonderful location on the Pacific Coast Highway. Cosmopolitan and diverse, the stunning Bay Area just gets better with time.

From hippies to hipsters, gold rush to dot coms – San Francisco has had a colourful history. Art, culture and past glories intertwine – such as the vintage cable cars criss-crossing the city, or the counterculture roots of Haight-Ashbury – ‘Frisco’ is a city of constant change. San Francisco’s capacity to embrace social change and subcultures creates an intriguing place. The Victorian splendour of the ‘Painted Ladies’ of Alamo Square contest with the high-rise megaliths of the Financial District. Museums and galleries vie for your attention against sports and shopping. Add to this world-class restaurants, great bars and idyllic parks and you have the makings of a fantastic San Francisco holiday.

San Francisco areas

There's a lot to discover in San Francisco. Find the best place for you.

Union Square
Union Square

The cosmopolitan and chic Union Square is a haven for shopaholics, with its abundant shopping opportunities. They range from well-known department stores, like Macy’s, to exclusive designer boutiques and lesser celebrated emporiums. Union Square is a one-block plaza boasting a 97-foot Corinthian column, with flower stands, palm trees and a great atmosphere. You will also find some great food options, from high-end restaurants to food stands selling hot dogs and pizza – it caters for everyone looking for a bite to eat after shopping.

Find out what's on in San Francisco

In April, try for Hamilton tickets, or enjoy two very culturally different parades. Throughout May, catch the SF Giants at a home turf baseball match and relish in some cultural delights. Then in June, get outdoors and join the party, with Pride celebrations, foodie festivals and lots of live music.

April
US-SFO-Cherry-Blossom-Festival

April

On 1 April clown around at the St Stupid’s Day Parade starting at Market Street. Mocking ‘the business of religion and the religion of business’ everyone wears silly outfits and swaps spare socks outside the Stock Exchange. Shenanigans abound. Over two weekends on the 8,9 and 15, 16 April, go to the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival and celebrate the city’s cherry blossom and 50 years of the Japanese community. There are live bands, food stands and a Hello Kitty pit stop for kids. Hamilton, the historical hip hop musical, with the most Tony nominations ever, is at the SHN Orpheum Theatre with a new cast announced. It’s sold out, but a day seat lottery will run: why not try your luck?

May
Wine Festival

May

Taste a selection of tantalising North Californian grapes at the Uncorked Wine Festival on 6 May. Try more than 50 wines and food goodies throughout Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and Beach Street. The live music will get you in the mood to mingle with people from all over the world. The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival illuminates the arts and performance scene dramatically from 7 May to 29 October. With nearly 100 dance, operatic, theatre, poetry, art exhibitions and performances, take a picnic and immerse yourself in San Francisco’s artistic flair. The SF Giants baseball team are back, playing from 11 to 17 May and 26 to 31 May, with even more batting and fielding scores through until September. Grab a corndog at the AT&T Park and soak up the lively atmosphere of this classic US sport.

June
Street Music Festival.

June

Enjoy gourmet booze and tasty street food, whilst listening to live music at the 41st Annual Union Street Music Festival, over the weekend of 3 and 4 June. Pop along to Union Street, from 10am to 6pm, sample beer and wine in the beverage gardens, listening to live music as you go – there’ll be entertainment areas throughout, playing five different musical genres. Celebrate LGBT pride with two-days of celebrations at San Francisco Pride on 24 and 25 June. The party kicks off on Saturday, with a celebration at the Civic Center Plaza and continues into Sunday, starting with the parade. Find yourself a spot along the route – the festivities start at 10:30 am. Or head to SOMA StrEat Food Park for craft beer, food truck cuisine, DJs and more. Dates are yet to be confirmed, but it’s sure to be a great event.

What if finding adventure again was in California?

San Francisco

Watch Callum abandon his British reserve as he explores alternative San Francisco.

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