Why San Francisco Is The Capital Of California Cool
And why it always will…
Chinatown, Alcatraz, Hipsters, Tech-giants and Californian Napa Valley wine - oh and ridiculously good food. San Francisco oozes cool wherever you look and offers both the classic iconic landmarks to tick off your list and secret local haunts you never knew existed. This is our rundown of the coolest things to do in San Francisco, and if you’re preparing for a visit - be sure to wear flowers in your hair!
Bike The Golden Gate Bridge
What better way to see this San Francisco icon than hiring bikes for a self-guided tour over this iconic structure. From Pier 39, hire bikes from Blazing Saddles and casually ride along the bike-friendly bay stopping at several spots for opportune Instagram moments.
And if you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can continue your journey across the bridge ending up in the picturesque seaside towns of Sausalito & Tiburon. The best bit, you can return by ferry which is included in the price of the bike rental for another amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Stay at Music City Hotel & Hostel
Staying at the Music City Hotel & Hostel gives you access to the most genuine local music culture no standard upmarket hotel could ever dream of offering.
This accommodation option is located in one of San Francisco’s prime locations Polk Gulch, with San Francisco’s top attractions right at your doorstep. The Music City Hotel & Hostel exists as the beating heart of San Fran’s local music scene, elevating new talent showcased at their own free live music nights (just check the upcoming events) and paying homage to the Bay Area musical greats in their curated photo gallery that line the Hotel walls.
Add to the fact that guests and locals alike can jam together in their fully equipped rehearsal studios, and maybe even get something together for the open mic night, it's no mistake that this place is popping!
Guests can choose from several dormitory options or upgrade to affordable private rooms. There are even big plans to open up a museum and community centre on the property to further nurture future talent and act as a tribute to the rich musical history of the Bay Area. Pretty cool we’d say.
Watch the Giants
Even if Baseball isn’t your thing, seeing the San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park is a must! The retro stadium boasts incredible views across the bay with yachts and boats moored up next door to see if they can swag a game ball. It also serves some of the best game-day food in any stadium with Dungeness crab sandwiches made on buttery grilled sourdough, the famous garlic fries as well as your classic corn dogs on offer. Oh and the fact they're three-time world champions this decade, not bad at all!
Pick Up Some Awesome Souvenirs
And if you're in need of the latest Giant's Shirt or looking for something a bit more elegant and swanky, drive over to San Francisco Premium Outlets with over 180 iconic brands in the state's largest outdoor outlet shopping mall. Nestled in California's oldest wine region; the Livermore Valley with stores including Burberry, Prada, Gucci and plenty of food options too. You may as well stock up while you are there!
Zeitgeist is a tad grimy, dark and dingy but it all adds to the genuine atmosphere. Equal parts dive bar and outdoor beer garden, with locals and tourists mingling over a variety of local beer and burgers on offer.
Bob’s Donuts has a truly OG vibe to it. That’s because this family-owned restaurant opened in 1960 and continues to preserve the art of making truly delicious donuts in house from scratch.
With usual donuts suspects on the menu like the classic glazed, chocolate sprinkles and apple fritters, the menu’s culminates in Bob’s Donut Challenge where contestants have to eat one giant donut in under 3 minutes. It’s as simple as that... until you see the size of the donut!
Visit the Sea Lions
Any holiday to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without a walk around Pier 39, but the real star of the show in this popular entertainment district are the Sea Lions. On a typical day, you can find them lounging out on Pier 39’s west marina, chilling out in the sun piled on top of each other. Lovely!
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
In the heart of Chinatown, is the unique but equally legendary Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory that has been making custom fortune cookies since 1962. Step inside these hallowed grounds for a factory tour and find out how they produce 10,000 cookies per day using all-natural ingredients. And of course, snap your cookie to find your fortune, feeling lucky?
Explore An Icon
When a city’s most popular tourist attraction is a decommissioned prison in the middle of a bay only accessible by boat, then that really does score some cool points in anyone’s book. The classic Alcatraz tour explores the prison walls revealing stories of American history, justice and incarceration.
A humbling experience for anyone lucky enough to enter its walls but be sure to plan your journey in advance! Boat tickets sell out quickly so it’s advised to book well in advance.
By James Fenn
MTV Travelled with… Norwegian Airlines. Norwegian operates direct from London Gatwick to San Francisco. All flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with two cabins – Premium and economy. Fares start from £170 one-way and £295 return in LowFare economy and £520 one-way and £960 return in Premium including all taxes and charges and subject to availability. To book visit www.norwegian.com/uk or call 0330 828 0854. MTV Travelled With... San Francisco Travel Association. For more information please visit: https://www.sftravel.com/