San Fran Yes You Can - Top Tips For Top Tourists

San Francisco, northern California, sits on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.  Known for its year-round fog, which encases the tops of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, its cable cars as well as the picturesque Victorian houses and of course Alcatraz Island, site of the notorious former prison.

Instead of simply signing up to visit the prison and grab a tram, there are things you can do while visiting the home of the Summer of Love that will set you apart from all of the other tourists

Weather With You
One of the first things you will need to understand is just how cold San Francisco can feel in the summertime. The abundance of sweatshirt shops making a fine living from this ignorance says it all.  The average low in June and July is in the mid-50s, but it can tend to be sunnier in October than it is in May. Check the weather before you go to make some informed wardrobe choices.

Cable Car Cheat
Alighting at the stop on Hyde just below Ghirardelli Square will result in endless queues of disgruntled tourists all looking to get on board. There is a better way. Head over to Mason and Bay Streets, where the queue lines will be much shorter. Either of these cable routes will take you to Union Square so travel smart. If you are looking to ride for the fun of it, join the car on the California line where California Street crosses Market, next to the Ferry Building and jump off at the top of the hill in Chinatown. The steep slope on this route is an absolute thrill, yet the crowds and queues are much smaller.

The Bridge Takes Its Toll
Merely admiring the Golden Gate Bridge from afar and not walking could be compared to buying a sports car and looking at it instead of getting behind the wheel. A waste! To truly understand the magnificence of this incredible landmark, stroll along the sidewalk.  This gives you a sense of its size and presence and an almost mystic air as you walk across.

Prepare for Prison
Considered one of the tours you must do, if you are looking to visit Alcatraz Island, be sure to book tickets online at least two weeks before you intend to go.  These tours are popular and fill up fast. If your trip has been more spur of the moment, use your hotel's concierge service, or get to the Alcatraz ticket office on the first day of your visit, as soon as the doors open, to avoid disappointment. Many tours are alluding to include Alcatraz yet only take you sailing past so be sure to check out precisely what you are buying before handing over your hard-earned cash.

Car? No Ta!
More than merely being better for the environment, you just don't need a car while exploring the city.  San Francisco is relatively small, and with many of the most popular tourist sights being packed together, the justification of having your own wheels is negated. For the sake of having a car for convenience, some hotels charge more for parking than they would a decent lunch. Choose a hotel in a central area such as Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf and then use public transport to get around. Uber or taxis are widely available but if you feel the need to go further out of the city and simply MUST have a car, consider hiring for one day only.

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