San Francisco: Introduction
San Francisco is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the US - with good reason. It offers a diverse mix of cultures, from Chinatown and the Hispanic Mission district to the Italian North Beach. San Francisco is well known as a progressive city and was home to the hippy movement of the 1960s.
Today, it remains a tolerant city as demonstrated by its large gay community. San Francisco has been an important financial centre for the west coast since the gold rush in the mid 1800s. Its financial prominence grew even further with the dot.com boom in the 1990s. Nearby San Jose continues to be the information technology centre of the US.
As a city, San Francisco is simply stunning, with a wonderful mix of modern architecture and picture postcard painted Victorian homes. The Golden Gate Bridge, which spans the water between San Francisco and Marin to the north, is a striking icon for the city. San Francisco is a vibrant city with a wide range of cultural activities, fashionable shops, interesting sights and friendly neighbourhoods. It is fairly easy to navigate around San Francisco without a car. However, you may want one if you decide to explore the wineries of the nearby Napa and Sonoma Valleys or the Californian coastline.