When Rudyard Kipling described San Francisco as ‘a mad city inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people’, he meant every word of it. This peninsula in the US, in spite of all the earthquakes and daydreamers, is a much sought after tourist destination these days. With 43 hills and a population that includes anything and everything that you had in your mind, the first impression that the place draws out of you is one of shock. For not even in your wildest dreams did you expect it to be so small – a seven-by-seven-mile peninsula, the place does have a lot to offer once you get over the initial offering. Frequented by earthquakes, the city has forced its architects to think and bring out what they call small-scale museums and Victorian-style mansions. Its willingness to come back when pushed to its limits has made San Francisco the world capital for technology, cuisine, poetry, biotechnology and a lot more.
Is there a right time?
If you are wondering when it’s best to be in San Francisco, there is plenty to look forward to at every time of the year. It’s little known that the Summer of Love started here in January of 1967, and you will know why once you have spent a chilly summer’s day in this region. With the weather being accommodative throughout the year, annual street fairs in March, partying skeletons in November, dance-along Nutcracker Suites, marching in the Lunar New Year parades, there is something for everyone throughout the year.
Shopping, Eating, Drinking & Nightlife:
Be it the overpriced Levis Strauss jeans (which was founded here), catchy playlists, or local makes, you have it all here to shop at San Francisco. With a restaurant for every 28 people it is no surprise that many move to this place just for its food. The coastal pastures where anything grows, stiff competition between rivals and the packed flavours makes San Francisco the best place for any foodie. As for drinking, any establishment that serves a drink is named a bar. And as for the cafes, they are the most thriving places in the city everyday as almost all the work gets done there. If it’s nightlife that you are looking for, make sure that you look beyond the obvious, that you walk your way through those unmarked doors, warehouse basements and garden patios.
Sports & Activities:
The 43 hills gives ample scope for hiking, be it just the individual hike to the hill top or going together to identify the ideal picnic spot. Being a peninsula, it lends itself to sailing the grey waters, and walking along the beaches. And on weekends, the Golden Gate Park is the place for outdoor fun. If the Giants make it to the World Series, then even spectator sports become fun.
During the Gold Rush (a period in history when every man on earth headed to this part of the world to find some gold – population exploded from 800 to 25000 in one year), prospectors would get to San Francisco by the quickest means in which they could manage it. The rush then slowly died down. These days the people prefer to walk, bike or take a Muni instead of a cab, which seems the best way to take in the beauty of the city while cutting down on the emissions as well.
Well, what about the money?
The cost of living in San Francisco is quite high. You at least get what you pay for – cuisine, events, art or drinks – which does bring some respite. But many of the best things, which include the natural beauty, street festivals, gallery openings and park strolls, are all free; and if you are resourceful you can well live beyond your means.
There is not much left for me to tell you. Just get out there, explore the city and enjoy it for yourself!
Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevcole/4440576981/sizes/z/]