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  • Pamela Froman

Explore San Francisco

San Francisco is the crown jewel of Northern California. There's so much to see and do with restaurants, tours and attractions.

Start your stay at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. This upscale property is uniquely positioned at the center of San Francisco’s three most distinctive neighborhoods: Union Square, SOMA and The Tenderloin. The hotel offers 1,919 guest rooms and 151 suites, five food and beverage establishments, including three restaurants, Cityscape Lounge and a lobby bar, Herb ‘N Kitchen, the lobby grab and go outlet, with room delivery for both breakfast and dinner, and one of the city’s only year-round heated, outdoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis. 333 O'Farrell St., San Francisco. (415) 771-1400. www.hilton.com

The city’s most popular attractions include theaters, shopping, restaurants, cable cars, jazz clubs, museums and speakeasies. Located a short walk or streetcar ride away are Chinatown, North Beach’s Little Italy, Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Take a sail on Cat Sailing Charters and experience the beauty of San Francisco right from the water. Your sail on Adventure Cat is sure to be memorable. See some of the Bay’s most popular attractions up close and personal – such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the city’s famed skyline. www.adventurecat.com

Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary Alcatraz operated from 1934 to 1963. Infamous inmates, like Al “Scarface” Capone and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud, established the island’s notoriety. Alcatraz Cruises offers an array of tours sure to reveal the truth behind the legends. Join them for a thematic, guided walking experience. www.alcatrazcruises.com

Visitors who come to Chinatown will find dim sum teahouses, small cafes, and restaurants frequented by locals. Experience Chinatown by wandering through back alleys, peek into herbal shops and Chinese temples of this historic neighborhood. The Wok Wiz Chinatown tour is offered on a daily basis. Hear about the first Chinese immigrants to arrive in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. You may visit a local herbalist, an art gallery, tea purveyor, Chinese temple, and farmers market. Learn about the beautiful and ornate architecture, and the best places to shop for souvenirs, jewelry, and linens. www.wokwiz.com

Local Tastes of the City Tours offers three-hour, small group culinary/cultural walking tours of North Beach (Little Italy). Guides explore the neighborhood through the food. From local coffee shops to chocolatiers, to families who have making pastries and salami for over a hundred years, as well as pizza makers, you’ll come away enamored by the food in San Francisco.

Ghirardelli Square is a bayside landmark since 1862. This specialty retail and dining complex, housing shops and restaurants, was originally a chocolate factory established by Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli. Check out shops like ElizabethW, which handcrafts goods for bath, body, and home, Gigi+Rose, the perfect spot to buy some bling, and Lola, with treats like a cable car replica gift set.

Cioppino's is a destination seafood and Italian restaurant located in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf. Try the world-famous Cioppino, a bountiful seafood extravaganza of dungeness crab legs, clams, mussels, snapper, calamari, and shrimp stewed in a savory tomato broth. Drink a glass of the house-made Sangria, or sample delicious clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. http://cioppinos.letseat.at Inside Golden Gate Park, the opportunities are endless on a Bay City Bike Tour. You’ll see the beautiful Conservatory of Flowers, Arboretum/Botanical Gardens, Shakespeare Garden and Japanese Tea Gardens. Take a view of Strawberry Hill and dive into some of the area’s haunted ghost history! Pedal past the park to Ocean Beach, and on the way back, you'll pass Bison paddock, Spreckels Lake and more. Complete the day by visiting the California Academy of Sciences and the DeYoung – two world class museums. https://baycitybike.com/tours/

San Francisco's CityPass hand-picks the city’s best attractions, including the world-famous cable cars, and packs them into a perfect pocket-sized ticket book for your visit. CityPass is valid for 9 days starting with the first day of use, giving you plenty of time to see the best of San Francisco, and take the best memories home with you. CityPass includes a 3-Day Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport, admission to California Academy of Sciences, the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, admission to Aquarium of the Bay, and the Exploratorium Museum or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Adults are $89, kids are $69. www.citypass.com/san-francisco

Enjoy your stay at the city by the Bay!

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