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San Francisco  VC_Hero_Manley -1280x642
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

San Francisco

San Francisco
Sparkling Bay, Magic City

Start your trip with one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to explore 'the City by the Bay' park your car and explore by foot, bike and unique public transport. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then explore the lush Presidio, a former military base that is now a park, or head into Golden Gate Park to visit museums and row across a secret gem, Stow Lake. Continue along the flat Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Exploratorium science and learning museum. 

Return your bikes and hop on a cable car to ride over the hill to the high end shops and enormous Macy’s, NikeTown, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus around bustling Union Square, with a stop for Italian pastries and cappuccino at Emporio Rulli right in the square. Nearby, stroll along boutique-lined Maiden Lane, a pedestrian only thoroughfare during the day, when cafés set up tables and chairs right in the street. Nearby Westfield Mall, a dazzling complex on once scruffy but now cleaned up Market Street, glitters with even more shops, including a deluxe food area on the lower level. At night, catch a show in the theatre district, or head to North Beach to see Beach Blanket Babylon, a raucous and irreverent San Francisco institution. For more nightlife and dining, wander alongValencia Street and adjacent streets in the Mission, a trendy and eclectic hotbed of restaurants and bars, and try some great late night scoops at Bi Rite Ice Cream.

Next stop, drive north across the Golden Gate Bridge to unforgettable Point Reyes National Seashore.

Next Stop
Point Reyes National Seashore (45 miles; 1hr26min)