- By Kevin
- On Jun 26, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Plan ahead with Time Out's guide to the biggest and best annual San Francisco events, festivals and concerts. Fun family vacation ideas & planning San Francisco travel tips guide you visit the city in different sight.
Open Swing Dancing
What's the best reason to go out for a Sunday stroll? The Open Swing Party in the Golden Gate Park, without a doubt. This unique outdoor dance event is held every Sunday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Young and old alike can swing their hips to the rhythm of blues, jazz and swing, and there's a special introductory session at 12 noon for beginners. The whole spectacle is free and a real highlight.
Golden Gate Bridge
There it stands, majestic and impressive in its bright orange ?dress?, at the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco: the Golden Gate Bridge. It measures 2.7 km in length, and for over 70 years has connected the city of San Francisco with Marin County to the north. It is the landmark of the city, one of the most famous bridges in the world, and has even been called one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Crossing it on foot is a truly amazing experience.
Alcatraz Island, the former prison (1934-1963), is in the Bay of San Francisco, and is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA. Visitors to the prison can listen to original audio phone commentaries by former inmates. Al Capone (1934-1939) was probably the best-known inmate. The boat trip to the island – it goes under the Golden Gate Bridge – is also an unforgettable experience. The Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala named the island for the many pelican (“alcatraz? in Spanish) nests on it. A lighthouse was built in 1852 because of the many ship accidents that happened in the frequent fog, and it still dominates the image of the island today. The island, 500 metres long and 40 metres high, remains a bird sanctuary to this day.
Once upon a time, Fisherman’s Wharf was ?only? San Francisco’s fish market. Today, along with the Golden Gate Bridge, it is one of the city’s most frequently visited tourist attractions. There is always plenty happening on Fisherman’s Wharf: street musicians and street artists perform to the best of their abilities. Restaurants and lots of little seafood stalls stand cheek-by-jowl, offering typical fish delicacies. Shrimps, prawns and crabs are especially popular, as is the fish chowder served in a hollowed-out sourdough loaf.
This street is definitely not for learner drivers! Everyone should drive down it at least once in their lifetime. Lombard Street is often called the crookedest street in the world. It begins at the Presidio, and runs east through San Francisco, becoming Telegraph Hill and continuing to the Golden Gate Bridge. Most tourists will want to see – if not drive down – the steepest section, which is between Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street. In 1923, eight sharp turns (switchbacks) were constructed to reduce the hill’s natural 27 degree grade. Today, there are ten of these sharp turns. Steps have been added for pedestrians. Added bonus: if you drive down Lombard Street by car and then continue straight on up the hill, you will get to Coit Tower, one of the loveliest lookout points in San Francisco.
Wild SF Walking Tours
Wild SF Tours probably provides the most unusual and coolest city tours in the whole of San Francisco. Young, local artists lead visitors through the most happening parts of the city, revealing the history of the former fishing village on the west coast. Tours are delivered with a good dose of wit and charm – guides have also be known to strum away on their guitar on occasions, too. At the end of the tour, participants simply pay what they consider it was worth. A concept that's as unconventional as San Francisco itself!
Packed with nostalgia and forgotten childhood dreams. The Musée Mécanique is home to almost 300 slot machines and jukeboxes from all four corners of the world. Some of the machines on display are over 100 years old. The highlight here is that the machines are not just for admiring – they can be played with, too. All it takes is a few cents to bring these little gems back to life. And what's more, entrance is free!