In 1776, colonists from Spain arrived in the city of San Francisco. By 1849, the California Gold Rush led to a population boom in the hills of San Francisco, and the city has remained one of the most populated in the country. Three-quarters of San Francisco was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, but this resilient city was rebuilt quickly enough to host the Panama-Pacific International Exposition just nine years later. Today, with a wealth of attractions and activities to enjoy, San Francisco remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

What to Do

San Francisco has plenty to see and do no matter what your interests are. The iconic hills of the city are home to classic architecture that can be viewed in any direction. Ride a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoy a hearty bowl of clam chowder or other fresh seafood dishes. After your meal, take a short boat ride out to Alcatraz Prison, or “The Rock,” where criminals like Al Capone once served their sentences. Enjoy some dim sum at one of the largest Chinatowns in the country, and don’t forget to snap a few photos at Golden Gate Park. Shoppers should check out Union Square and Westfield San Francisco Centre, and the hip boutiques in Hayes Valley are not to be missed.

Where to Stay

San Francisco offers hotels with breathtaking views, backpacker hostels and everything in-between. The northeast quarter of San Francisco, such as the Union Square area, is a good spot to stay in as it’s close to most of the city’s attractions. This central area can be expensive, though, and more affordable accommodations can be found in other districts such as the Marina.

Getting There

San Francisco is located on Northern California’s coastline and can be reached via three nearby airports. San Francisco International is south of the city and Oakland International is just across the bay. San Jose International is about 50 miles south of San Francisco but often has cheaper fares.