This is my entry for the Independent’s latest travel writing competition…
Walking around the nauseously steep hills of San Francisco you could be mistaken for thinking you had travelled back in time. The streets are paved with history, from bright art displays, notorious book shops, characteristically strange people, and delectable cafes and bars. Several very diverse neighbourhoods give it a distinctive community aura.
From Union Square’s regally, fine hotels and giant deluxe shops, walk towards the Mission’s bars and restaurants and prepare to taste the finest burritos this side of the Mexican border. A 10 minute antique tram ride will plunge you into the beautifully unique gay capital of the world, the Castro.
A trolley up Haight Street and you can almost hear the music of the 1960s, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix have lived on this infamous street. Although its hippie roots have almost been forgotten you can still enjoy the endless vintage stores and health food cafes that now inhabit these streets.
Golden Gate Park is a forest of secrets stretching out towards the Pacific Ocean, from gardens, lakes, memorials and animal parks the park provides a variety of environmental treats and surprises with every visit. In the middle of the deathly cold, shark infested waters of San Francisco Bay lies the iconic prison of Alcatraz. While waiting for the ferry try locally sourced and delicious clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl – another one of the great eating pleasures of this city.
Above the water the Golden Gate Bridge, with its regal red paint, joins the city to the wine vineyards of Marin County. The bridge withstood the last major earthquake and is a symbol of the boldness and resilience of San Franciscans to endure anything thrown at them. Let your inner Kerouac out and enjoy this city of many historical treasures.