While spring brings rain showers to the DC area, this is a great time to visit splendid San Francisco. Virgin America airlines has flights from DC to San Francisco for $149 each way (taxes not included) for travel between April 4 and June 8, but book now, because this offer expires March 24.
Budget Aware: Since the economic bust in 2008, San Francisco’s hotels and restaurants have lowered their prices to keep its tourism industry booming. Still, San Francisco can be considered pricey for thrifty travelers. For $70-$80/night, you can get a clean room at the centrally located Park Hotel or Astoria Hotel. Both hotels are situated near San Francisco’s famous Chinatown – the largest outside of Asia – where you can find multiple authentic eateries and hundreds of shops. If you choose to stay outside the city limits, using San Francisco’s public transportation system – the BART – will help you save money.
Budget Don’t Care: Stay at fabulous Clift, located at Union Square, where old-world sophistication meets contemporary design. On-site restaurant Asia de Cuba is a good choice for dinner. The Omni San Francisco Hotel offers guests a distinctly San Franciscan stay, with its view of cable cars and the 1920s decor. It has all the amenities luxury travelers enjoy. San Francisco is known for its fine dining, and these culinary hot spots are two of the best: The Cliff House (seafood, American cuisine), with magnificent views enjoyed with live jazz every Friday night; and the renowned John’s Grill (Italian cuisine), a classic restaurant featured in The Maltese Falcon.
Activities for All: See where famous inmates such as Al Capone were locked up at Alcatraz Island, a must-see for any San Francisco visitor. You’ll get the best bang for your buck by signing up for the early morning tour, allowing you to spend the entire day at Alcatraz. There are several other activities to keep visitors busy:
- Walk over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Get there early in the morning, before the mist has cleared. You may see the towers suspended above low-hanging clouds, a truly incredible sight.
- Take a ride on a cable car, truly a San Franciscan experience. “Hang” off the side and enjoy the view as you wind up and down the city’s many hills. Walk – don’t drive! – the famously twisted Lombard Street, starting at the top and finishing at the bottom.
- Spend time at tourist attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. There’s a reason they are so popular! For lunch, grab some clam chowder and sourdough bread, and spend time enjoying the magnificant view of the bay.