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Dreaming on the San Francisco Bay

The informal vibe of San Francisco makes it one of the most loved cities of the world.

United States

The informal vibe of San Francisco makes it one of the most loved cities of the world. Often called an air conditioned city, it has a charming culture, people, places and moments in history. With an active social and cultural calendar, you can always catch a festival, book reading, flower show, stand-up comedy or play. The city has a fairy tale appeal with its quaint cable car, many gardens, boulevards, curvaceous streets, hidden alleyways and hills.

For a first time visitor, heading to Pier 39 is usually the first stop. It has great views of the city and bay. Take in iconic sights of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the famous city skyline. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, it is from here that you set sail to visit the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The latter has a dark and eventful history. It was the first lighthouse in the Western United States but became a federal penitentiary from 1934-1963, housing famous convicts such as Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. This infamous prison island is part of the Bay Area’s 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The Golden Gate Park is a fascinating piece of green paradise and is ranked as one of the largest urban parks in the world. With two museums, gardens and facilities with over 20 sports, it also has a Conservatory of Flowers and Botanical Gardens. Another must visit garden is Yerba Buena Gardens in the downtown cultural district. Children’s garden, public art, museums, historic carousel, ice-skating and bowling centres make it a huge family draw. Then there is the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens with 1,000 endangered and rescued animals of 250 species over 100 acres nestled against the Pacific Ocean.

History comes alive in the intricately designed museums which archive a rich storehouse of information. The de Young Museum showcases American art from 17th to 21st centuries, modern and contemporary art, photography, international textiles and costumes, and art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The ninth-floor Observation Level offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city. The Asian Art Museum has an impressive collection spanning cultures from Turkey and India to China and Philippines through 6,000 years. The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents dynamic exhibitions and educational programmes, exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture and history.

For the musically inclined, the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall will not disappoint with something playing at almost all times of the year. As you get around this charming city with multiple modes transport, from buses, trains, cable cars, F-line heritage streetcar and now Uber and Lyft car services, make sure not to leave the city without taking a dizzy ride on Lombard Street, the “crookedest” street in the world. Its twists and turns are world famous and so are the pleasurable views of the bay, Alcatraz and Coit Tower.

Starting 23rd October 2016, Singapore Airlines will have a daily non-stop flight to San Francisco using Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The new United Airlines service has a daily 16-hour ultra long-haul flight to San Francisco with the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

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