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Seven reasons to visit San Francisco!

Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report
A cable car during Christmas day on the Powell and Mason Street line.
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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – In my humble opinion, San Francisco, California is one of the most amazing cities in the United States. As a result, I have included a list f the top seven reasons to consider planning a trip to city of the Golden Gate!

1/A traditional tune from Paris

French culture’s legacy can be seen in every district of the city. While even if the French community has been present since the beginning, today French people represent less than one percent of San Francisco population.

French restaurants, bakeries and cheeses shop are numerous. One of the best is La Boulangerie de San Francisco on the heights of Noe Valley district. Croissant, pain au chocolat, jambon-beurre sandwich and even the famous galette des Rois (king cake) are available. It is good to feel at home!

Besides French food, the architecture of the city seems like Paris such as the small size of the buildings, the toilet public and the advertising column (Morris column). The Palace of the Legion of Honor financed by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels in 1921 and the Grace Cathedral built between 1928 and 1964 are two remarkable examples of the influence of French architecture in San Francisco.

2/Cable Cars

Cable cars are perhaps the most amazing kind of transportation one will have the pleasure to try in the USA. The system was invented especially for San Francisco, using the technology of wire- rope to tract the car, after its creator witnessed a horse-car accident in 1869.

Thanks to Friedel Klussmann who saved the cable car from being replaced by buses, today three lines remain, Powell/Masson, Powell/Hyde and California lines. It is still enough to enjoy the ride stand up and wind in the hair with a nice view on the city. It will still cost five dollars for one way, bring cash!


San Francisco’s Chinatown is considered the largest outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Well, that's not surprising as residents of Chinese ethnicity constitute over 21 percent of San Francisco population. Chinatown is centered on Grant Avenue and Stockton Street.

Numerous small grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries are proposing delicious food for cheap price. Try the egg custard tart at the Golden Gate Bakery, a pleasure! And don’t forget to stop at Vital Tea Leaf to test for free and learn all the secrets of the numerous varieties of tea.

4/Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest public Japanese garden (opened in 1894) in the United States. Even though the Japanese community represents roughly 1 percent of San Francisco population their presence date back from the beginning of the city.

One will enjoy unique landscape and architecture including among other arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping-stone paths and native Japanese plants. The experience can be completed by eating Japanese food on the premises such as a green tea cheesecake.

To add a touch of history Makoto Hagiwara, the landscape designer responsible for the maintenance and expansion of the Japanese Tea Garden his credited to have invented and popularized the modern fortune cookie in the USA.

Admission is free on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before 10 a.m.

5/Nice lookouts

San Francisco is comprised of several hills with wonderful views on the city, Golden Gate Bridge, the ocean, Alcatraz and the Bay area, sunset and sunrise are also well enjoyed. The Twin Peaks, in the south of San Francisco, provides a large view of the city with the skyscrapers in background, open day and night for free.

But the most impressive is perhaps from the top of the Coit Tower observation deck providing an impressive 360° view of the city and the bay. The tower is located in the northwestern part of the city. Not free, it will cost up to $8 to go on the top.

The Coit Memorial Tower was built in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood by the fund and for the memory of Lillie Hitchcock Coit in 1933. The Tower was a prominent landscape feature for the movie Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock in 1958.

6/Abundant nature

One of the best surprise of San Francisco! Glen Canyon Park, Bernal Hill, Dolores Park, Grand View Park, Alamo Square and Tank Hill, to name just a few, are some examples of the green space available in San Francisco.

But the first rank goes to the Golden Gate Park that cut the city horizontally up to the ocean. Its rectangular shape makes it look like Central Park in New York. However, the Golden Gate Park is 20 percent bigger than its counterpart. It is over three miles long and more than a half mile large.

The Golden Gate Park feature such as among other de Young Museum, the Academy of Science and the Japanese Tea Garden (see N°4). Large varieties of plants representing different climate can be seen. There are also animals such as buffalo and even two functioning Dutch style windmills.

7/Mission District, the place to be!

Don’t you know where to go out for the night? Mission District is definitively the place where to make parties, bars and nightclub are numerous. The neighborhood includes also a large and visible LGBTQ community since the 1970’s. Artist-friendly the district is famous for its murals art consisting of hundreds of walls and fences painted by local artists. It first started in Balmy Alley in the mid-1980s by the huge Central American community fleeing oppression in their countries.

Perhaps the most impressive visible street art is the Women’s Building MaestraPeace Mural located at 3543 18th Street, to honor women around the world.

For more information about San Francisco go to SanFranciscoTravel’s website.

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About the Author

Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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