San Francisco the city of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city of the Golden Gate Park, the city home to fascinating museums, the city with enthusiastic festivals and concerts, the city that goes way beyond your imagination, the most liberal city of U.S.A and the city where your next holiday should be enjoyed. The misty city with flamboyant attractions is also a commercial, cultural, and financial hub of Northern California, and a sole consolidated city-county of California. The tourist heavy destination has plenty to explore at minimal cost. Most of them also come for free. On a visit to this glorious corner of the world, that’s encompassed with water and steep hills on three sides, here’s what all you can see and do to enhance your holiday.
The Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park
Photo Credit: goodwp
Of course we’ve seen the bridge in the movies. This time witness its true beauty by standing right on it. The bridge flaunts the marvelous architecture of 1937 and is by default photogenic in appearance. You could hike or bike this bridge yourself and witness the unmatched beauty of San Francisco on both sides. A foggy afternoon dresses the structure in silvery white cotton-like wraps giving it an angelic makeover. What better than exploring the mesmerizing city from a narrow path about 80 stories above water? The Golden Gate Park on the other hand is home to a couple of interesting museums, lakes, ponds, bridges and the popular Japanese tea garden. This park is all about sand dunes, windmills, and a lot more.
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Chinatown and North Beach
Photo Credit: saggywagontrail wordpress You’ll find a Chinatown in almost every city today, but the Chinatown in San Francisco is a level above. This city is home to the largest Chinatown in entire North America which is also the largest outside the continent of Asia. On a visit here do take a look at the spectacular temples workshops and go on a shopping spree at the antique and souvenir stores here. Visit north beach to explore the city's Italian quarter with cafes, restaurants, romantic sidewalks, Washington Square along Columbus and Grant avenues shops in its neighborhood. The big surprise is that North beach is not actually a beach. You’ll only find the aforementioned in the name of the beach, here
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Transamerica Pyramid and Lombard Street
Photo Credit: anotherangle This is an elegant 85 feet tall structure in the city. The Transamerica Pyramid is San Francisco’s tallest skyscraper that showers the streets below with a beam of extra light and a whiff of extra air. The building is remarkable and iconic.Lombard Streeton the other hand is the most crooked street in the world with 8 hairpin turns that were constructed in a manner to minimize the steepness of the hill. The mesmerizing street is a must visit when in the city of San Francisco.
Photo Credit: whenonearth
Cable Cars and Fisherman’s Wharf
Photo Credit: commons Wikimedia Who isn’t familiar with this term? These cars are famous across the globe as a trend and a style statement and therefore should obviously not be missed when in San Francisco. The cable cars take you from the market street to the Fisherman's wharf. Do explore the ride and try standing on the running board to get the best of it. The Fisherman’s Wharf on the other hand is a top tourist attractions in San Francisco.
Photo Credit: westkueste-usa.de
Photo Credit: today1foundout This is an alluring island that once served as a lighthouse, military fortification, and a prison. Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone were kept as prisoners here. The island has freezing cold water encompassing it and was believed to be inescapable once upon a time. The island is also locally known as a rock.The Alcatraztoday, is a historic attraction in the city of San Francisco that sees a lot of tourists each year.
Photo Credit: electru de
Photo Credit: 7-themes The Alamo Square is beautifully dressed with lavish Victorian houses dressed in high-contrast color palettes and decorated with stained-glass windows, gilded stucco garlands, fish-scale shingles, and peaked roofs with carved wood. The park alongside offers spectacular views of these houses and features a tennis court, playground and more. On a visit here you’d also encounter picnic groups, local persons, pet owners and other people. This square is a tourist hotspot in the city.
Photo Credit: twofeet.weebly
San Francisco has umpteen numbers of joys to explore. The city follows a ‘First Free Tuesday’ wherein almost all the events, concerts, museums, and attractions come for free on the first Tuesday of every month. The interesting places, shopping spots like Chinatown, malls and plenty of restaurants with variable cuisines give you enough reason to visit here.
Thousands of kilometres and almost 8 million people, it’s hard to know where to start exploring a metropolis like London. If we look at it as a whole, the city seems noisy, loud and unfathomable. But when we break it down borough to borough, the real character shines through. So how do you see all the incredible landmarks that London has to offer, and get a taste of the culture of the cities burrows, and experience uniquely London things all in 24 hours? My first suggestion is to extend your stay and make your stay in London longer than just a day. Barring that change, here is a sample itinerary that will give you a good start on seeing the magic London has to offer in 24 hours.
Where to Stay in London:
Assuming you are arriving at Heathrow I'd try somewhere in South Kensington or Bloomsbury as both are on the direct Tube line from Heathrow. If you are arriving at Gatwick then somewhere in Victoria or the London Bridge area would be suitable. I personally prefer South Kensington because of its connectivity.
BREAKFAST: Here, you can choose from 2 options. Either start your day with the famed traditional English breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, mushrooms, baked beans and coffee or do just as well grabbing pre-packaged fruit from a convenience store in a tube station or at a local grocery store and eating it on the way to your first site.
There’s nothing better than exploring London on foot. But since we are short on time, why not take the Original London Sightseeing Tour for a whistle-stop visit to all of London’s most famous landmarks? See double the sights in half the time. You can hop on and off wherever you like, at destinations including Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Royal Albert Hall, Piccadilly Circus and the British Museum. The double-decker buses feature live tour guides and multi-language audio commentary while tickets also include a free 24 hour cruise on the River Thames and three complimentary guided walking tours.
The South Bank is my favourite walk in London. This route along the Thames river will take you past some of the city’s best sights: the Houses of Parliament, the afore-mentioned London Eye, the South Bank Centre, the Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Shard to mention but a few. It is best to start early as it gets very crowded later. The route will take somewhere between one to two hours. Unless you stop by The London Eye which is the most popular tourist attraction in London and with good reason if you’re only in London for a day, make sure you stop by. Please note one round takes approx 30 minutes.
It’s just a half-mile walk from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, the official residence of British royalty. Admire Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens and Vermeer paintings as you wander through the state room. Or, pretend you’ve been invited to one of the queen’s famous garden parties out on the luxurious grounds. Stick around until 11:15 to watch the Changing of the Guard.
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Take a 15 to 20 minute stroll from the palace through the St. James Park to Trafalgar Square. Here you can grab a sandwich at any number of cafes located on the roads shining out from Nelson’s Column or tucked into nearby alleys and bring it back to the square for a good round of people watching. Or, duck into the cafeteria at the National Gallery and observe the impressive and stately architecture while you dine. If you have time, you can also duck inside for a quick view of the paintings.
SHOPPING IN LONDON:
London is one of the best places in the world to shop. Head over to the heart of London shopping, bustling Oxford Street, which has more than 300 shops, designer outlets and landmark stores. Home to the legendary Selfridges, it also boasts a range of famous department stores such as John Lewis and Debenhams scattered among every well-known high street chain imaginable. Else, explore Covent Garden if you want hip fashion, unique gifts, rare sweets or one-off handmade jewellery. You can stock up on the latest urban street wear, funky cosmetics and shoes.
Catch the Underground to South Kensington. Yes, this is firmly on the well-trodden tourist path, but these attractions deserve all of the admire they get. Apart from being one of London’s prettiest neighbourhoods, South Kensington is also home to some of London’s and the world’s, in my opinion very best museums. Depending on where your interests lie, pick from the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum. All three are located on Exhibition Road, and all three are absolutely free to enter. Note these places shut at 6:00 pm except Albert museum which is open till 10:00pm.
Also, stop by your hotel room to freshen up and get ready for a night to remember!
It’s best to head straight up to the top of Exhibition Road to one of London’s most famous green spaces Hyde Park. The park was originally used as a space to house the Great Exhibition of 1851; the structure was later moved to Crystal Palace Park in South London. The modern-day park is full of flowers and fountains, with the Serpentine Lake right in the middle of the action. Grab something to drink from one of the park kiosks, and take a seat on the grass to do a bit of people-watching. They have an amazing restaurant in the middle of the park make sure you grab a drink; they have ciders to die for.
DINNER: Chances are you have already marked a number of striking dining spots along the adventures so far. If not, head back to the tube and take the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus or the Northern Line to Covent Garden, where you’ll find a diversity of restaurants to fit every budget. Note that the restaurants here are little pricey while if you skip to the smaller streets you’ll find less expensive and more authentic fare from just about every region of the world. Also, if Indian food is what you are looking for, look no further than Bricklane.
Leicester Square and Covent Garden are both a haven for partiers, but if you want something more of authentic British culture head to Shoreditch area. There’s a wide variety of clubs and bars in the area, so take your pick. Else hang around the theatres to catch actors heading to the real pubs after the shows. The nearby Soho neighbourhood is also lively both during after the pub rush, with afterhours eateries and dance clubs tucked away behind buildings with stylish facades. Pubs are generally open till 11 pm.
CLUBBING: Gulp down an energy drink!
London's vibrant club scene puts the city on the map as the capital of cool. Super clubs like Ministry of Sound, Fabric and Heaven are among the biggest and best known places to party. Finding the right club for your big night out is not very hard as long as you know what you’re looking for, whether it is drum-n-bass, techno, hip hop, house, or jazz. Every neighbourhood has a slightly different vibe but this should help get you started. Clubs in London range from the very VIP to the jeans-and-sweatshirt kinds of places. While some clubs are strictly all about one kind of music, at others you’ll find that every night of the week will be devoted to a different theme, so again, check with the local bible, Time Out, before hitting the clubs.
If celeb spotting is your main goal, then get dressed in your best and try to get into Project or Cirque Du Soir in Soho or, one of London’s most exclusive clubs. Soho is also where you will find many of London’s top gay clubs. If you are looking for a venue where you with a choice of a cocktail bar and lounge as well as an exclusive night club Amika located on South Molton Street Mayfair is very much recommended. You never know you might spot Justin Bieber, Rihanna, JLo, Rita Ora, Naomi Campbell, Prince Harry etc, so many who have come to this venue.
GETTING BACK IN NIGHT:
When travelling back to your hotel in London at night remember to check that your minicab is licensed - they should have a sticker on their back window with their PCO number.
Never get into a cab if you are not sure if it is licensed. only black cabs can be 'called' in the street. Black cabs can be hard to come by late at night but the night buses run mainly from Trafalgar square for the same price as during the day. They run all night usually at half hour intervals but some are more frequent.
Check with Transport for London before you travel for details of night buses.