Starting with the obvious, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without paying the Golden Gate Bridge a visit in some form or another. How you do this though, is completely up to you. You could simply admire it in passing, from afar, or cover every single inch of it's 1.7 mile stretch of road.
Take a tour of the bridge itself, or simply pick up a few fun facts on a passing city bus tour if your curiosity gets the better of you. Otherwise, walk or cycle (bikes can be hired) along this legendary work of architecture and discover first-hand just why this is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and admire "the bridge that couldn't be built".
Sunbathing Sea Lions will also catch your eye as you wander through the array of seafood stalls, promoting the freshest catches available. Never fear if you're not much of a chef, pop into one of the seafood restaurants there to get the taste of perfectly cooked fish, straight out of the water and on to your plate. If it's a mere sample you're after, follow the enticing smell to the steaming crab cauldrons for the snack that truly defines this part of town.
Alcatraz is another must-see when it comes to visiting this vibrant city. This famous prison, located on its namesake island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, held some of the United State's most notorious criminals and though many of them tried, no inmate ever made a successful escape from "The Rock". The most infamous of those to be incarcerated here was the gangster Al Capone, whose cell you can visit on a tour of the prison, closed in the 1960's.
A visit here is like a step back in time. With the cell house and main prison house still structurally in tact, with thick steel bars breaking up views of freedom on the outside. Recorded cell house tours help you to paint the remaining picture in your mind and teach you about the prison as you explore its grounds. You'll also enjoy a very brief cruise to take you to the island and back with a visit.
The Golden Gate City is home to the oldest (and one of the largest) Chinatown anywhere in the United States, meaning that the upcoming Chinese New Year Celebrations should be extra special here! Enter at "Dragon's Gates" at Grants Avenue and Bush Street, to explore the 24 blocks of vibrant culture, hustle, bustle and fantastic food.
Explore on foot and be treated to a delightful afternoon passing exotic shops, food markets, temples and museums making up a city within a city. Get the authentic local experience with refreshing samples at a tea bar, or have a wholly satisfying dim sum for your lunch.
Speaking of food, there are plenty of places for you to get a taste of San Francisco, or anywhere else for that matter, with a whole host of renowned restaurants and bars fighting for your attention and tempting you inside. One of your first pit stops should be Al's Place, where vegetables are brought to life through a variety techniques, so there's something for everyone.
After a spot of dinner, head to the Tonga Room Tiki Bar to kick-start your night in exotic fashion and to transport you away to a mini, boozy Polynesia. An impressive lagoon commands attention in the rooms centre, where the band play aboard a thatched barge, playing tropical tunes to accompany the cocktails. If that wasn't enough, the bar even rains and thunders periodically throughout the night!
Feeling worse for wear after a night out? No bother, brunch at The Plow will soon have you on the mend again. Sourcing local produce for everything on the menu, this restaurant parades a tantalising brunch menu in front of you, making the decision so hard you may need another cup of coffee before you decide. With contemporary twists on traditional brunches, you'll enjoy the classy changes and appreciate the twist of tastes. Boasting the best crispy potatoes, The Plow should also be what you choose if you're here but once. Start with two eggs, then your choice of house made pork sausage patties, Nueske's bacon, or chicken apple sausage, with lemon ricotta pancakes + plow potatoes - perfect.