San Francisco and the Bay Area is at the top of many traveler's list and for good reason. The beauty of the area is outstanding. With the Pacific ocean to west, the San Francisco bay to the north and east, surrounded by green hills, redwoods and blue skies,
Fort Point beneath the Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay
you couldn't wish for a more beautiful metropolitan area.

A profusion of parks, restaurants, attractions, theater, opera, museums, galleries, festivals, hiking, biking, boating and countless other activities are enough to keep a person busy for a lifetime. We will help you to plan your visit to San Francisco and to narrow the choices with some of our top recommendations.

San Francisco sits atop a 30 mile long peninsula, at the base of which is Silicon Valley and San Jose. Across the bay to the north is the charming community of Sausalito in swank Marin County. Across the bay to the east is Berkeley and Oakland. Sixty minutes northeast, some of the best wineries in the world are found in the Napa Valley. If the 200 or so Napa wineries aren't enough for you, try the equally impressive selection in nearby Sonoma or Mendocino counties.

A seal pup on the beach

San Francisco is a place of diverse cultures. It tends to be laid back, friendly and eccentric. Bars close at 2:00 am, some clubs stay open later. San Francisco is a non-smoking city; you will have to do your smoking outdoors and at least 20 feet from a doorway. When booking a room, and sometimes even a rental car, be sure to specify if you prefer smoking or non-smoking.

You don't need a car in San Francisco. It is an easy city to walk and the public transportation is above average for an American city. Use the cable cars, light rail and bus system to get anywhere in the city and to SFO airport. You really only need a car if you will be venturing outside of the city.

Muir Woods

Top destinations to visit in San Francisco include Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, North Beach, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Castro District, the Haight and Alcatraz.

Outside downtown, visit Muir Woods, the San Francisco Zoo, Napa Valley, Stanford Shopping Center and the Skyline Open Spaces for nature walks. Two to four hours away include destinations like Monterey, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.