posted by Guest expert - Stephanie Ainza of Hipmunk | 0 Comments
Our latest guest expert is Stephanie Ainza from Hipmunk - a remarkable new travel search site that aims to take the agony out of travel planning. A site where you can book flights and accommodation (like hostels of course!), they want to make your experience a lot better and put the fun back into travel planning. To keep up to date with them you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. In this post Stephanie introduces us to her favourite neighbourhoods in San Francisco.
San Francisco, the city by the bay, is one of California’s greatest cities. If you’re backpacking your way through the eclectic city, here are 5 neighborhoods you should check out!
The Mission district is where you can find just about everything: cheap eats, hip restaurants, trendy coffee shops and fashionable boutiques. The neighborhood gets its name from the Spanish outpost Mission Dolores. On sunny days, Dolores Park is filled with San Francisco’s hippest residents who picnic, dance and people watch in the park. Two of the best ice cream shops in the city are also in the Mission: Bi-Rite Creamery and Humphry Slocombe. For the ultimate foodie (who doesn’t mind long lines), Tartine Bakery and Four Barrel Coffee are worth a visit.
North Beach and Telegraph Hill
Tourists and locals flock here for Italian restaurants and decent cafes, and it has legendary bars where writers and poets of the Beat Generation hung out. City Lights bookstore, at the heart of the neighborhood, remains a counterculture mecca. The highest point is Telegraph Hill, atop which sits Coit Tower, which features amazing views of the bay and New Deal-era murals. Jackson Square, a tiny neighborhood south of North Beach, has some of the best high-end boutiques, antique shops and galleries.
Hayes Valley is populated with shops, cafes, boutiques and urban gardens. If you’re looking for a local experience, try standing in line for some Blue Bottle coffee. Alamo Square is six blocks uphill, home to the “painted lady” Victorians that signify San Francisco in mass media, including the TV show Full House. Grab some food, sit in the park, and enjoy the view.
The Haight is the spiritual home of the Summer of Love. The neighborhood still clings to its roots with plenty of alternative shops. The neighborhood is split into Upper and Lower Haight. Upper Haight to the west is more of a shopping area, though not without some scruffy edges. Lower Haight is grittier, with night spots like Mad Dog in the Fog and Toranado. For music fans, the Grateful Dead house still stands on Ashbury.
The Marina is known for trendy bars, restaurants and shops on Chestnut Street. Marina Green is a haven for kite flyers and affords great views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The Palace of Fine Arts is the also in this neighborhood, which has a great path to walk along. Crissy Field and Fort Mason are former military outposts converted to civilian use as parks and cultural centers.
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