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Ingrid Taylar/Flickr

Cliff House

Cliff House
A San Francisco landmark since 1863

Sitting within the boundaries of the one of the world’s largest urban national parks—the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)—the Cliff House boasts one of the most spectacular restaurant locations in California. Look to the south, and there are lines of waves rolling onto Ocean Beach, defining the western boundary of San Francisco. To the north, the vista takes in rugged headlands and the ruins of the historic Sutro Baths. And west, it’s nothing but water—a vantage point so “out there” that you can actually whale watch while you dine. It’s no wonder this place has drawn locals and visitors for more than 150 years.

Cliff House has two dining choices. In a renovated 1909 building, the casual Bistro Restaurant serves classic San Francisco cuisine, including a cioppino brimming with Dungeness crab. More formal (though still relaxed), Sutro’s offers seasonal specialities prepared with organic produce.  Try ravioli filled with a decidedly Northern Californian combination: Dungeness crab and artichokes. For handcrafted cocktails, stop in at Zinc Bar, which has an 1889-vintage back bar that was carved in Paris. Or watch sunset from the Balcony Lounge overlooking Sutro’s.

Insider’s tip: Take a little extra time to visit the excellent visitor centre at nearby Lands End Lookout, with details on natural and cultural history, and a nice gift shop.

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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12
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
26°
High
7°
Low
Dec - Feb
16°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
23°
High
8°
Low
June - Aug
27°
High
14°
Low

A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine.

"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me."  –singer Tony Bennett

The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation. 

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San Francisco's cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Golden Gate Bridge

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Northern California

Explore the best of Northern California's Great Outdoors
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It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
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Trip 3-5 days 10 stops

San Francisco Bay Loop

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End your road trip by exploring one of the world’s great cities. Famous for grand-dame Victorians, classic cable cars, dynamic diversity, a beautiful waterfront, and a soaring crimson bridge, the “City by the Bay” truly has it all. Trend-defining cuisine ranging from Michelin-starred dining to...

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