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San Francisco

A few years ago San Francisco was riding high on the wealth of the dot com explosion. And it showed in outrageously high priced hotels, restaurants and real estate. When the bubble burst, the city was forced to adjust. In fact, now is a great time to visit the somewhat humbler, but just as fabulous, cultural mecca of the Left Coast. Hotels and restaurants have lowered their prices, making it easier to enjoy a weekend here. One of the best things about San Francisco is that you can be in a museum in the morning and on a mountain in the afternoon. Mind-expanding cultural attractions exist alongside invigorating outdoor activities. Gaze at the work of Jackson Pollock at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the morning and then head to Muir Woods to peer up at gigantic redwoods in the afternoon. From the hippie haunts of Haight-Ashbury to the colorful Victorian architecture of the predominantly gay Castro District, and from Japantown to Chinatown, San Francisco is all about neighborhoods. Each has a distinct look and vibe. You could easily spend a day in each or hop on a streetcar to sample a few.

The ‘City by the Bay’ is arguably the most beautiful city in America – it is a place of unrivalled natural and manmade wonders. Visitors cannot fail to be impressed by iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the fantastic shopping around Union Square. The streets of downtown rise at impossible gradients up to exclusive Nob Hill and then tumble down the other side to the harbour and tourist attractions around Fisherman’s Wharf with its resident sea lions. Make time to explore the city’s funky neighbourhoods too, from the Italian restaurants of North Beach to the hippy culture of Haight-Ashbury.

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