Flights to San Francisco
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Flights to San Francisco
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Why visit San Francisco?
It’s always been among the most beautiful cities in the world. Now the tech boom has turned this charming looker into a top global destination for investment as well as travel.
Dolores Park has become the city’s cultural epicenter, bringing together disparate populations (hipster, LGBT, Marina “bros”) to take advantage of the Mission’s particularly sunny microclimate.
You probably didn’t know
There’s no evidence that Mark Twain actually uttered the famous quote: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” That doesn’t make it any less true, though. Dress in layers or be prepared to buy an overpriced fleece.
Suggested reading about San Francisco
Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco (Gary Kamiya, 2013)
Things to do in San Francisco
Hip new restaurants are a dime a dozen these days in San Francisco. Zuni Cafe, however, is timeless. More than 35 years old, this eatery remains a gold standard when it comes to produce-driven California cuisine. The wood oven-roasted whole chicken for two with bread salad is justifiably famous. Or just stand at the gorgeous copper-topped bar, have a cocktail, and admire the view out onto Market Street.
San Francisco is undergoing a renaissance of artisan bakeries. Tartine and Craftsman & Wolves have helped lead the charge, but b. patisserie may be the best of the bunch. Owner Belinda Leong churns out impeccably crafted French-style pastries, including a buttery, light-as-air “kouign-amann” – a Breton puff-pastry that will melt your heart. Look for her new B. on the Go, serving sandwiches and snacks, across the street.
Burma Superstar, Spices and Good Luck Dim Sum
Locals know that the best Asian eats aren’t found in Chinatown, but rather out in the Avenues of San Francisco. Clement Street in the Inner Richmond between 2nd and 12th avenues offers the densest concentration. Among the many options: Burma Superstar serves authentic Burmese (get the tea leaf salad); Spices (I and II) dishes fiery Sichuan-style Chinese; and Good Luck Dim Sum is the best of several good take-out dim sum joints.
The Ferry Building Marketplace
No foodie’s trip to San Francisco is complete without paying homage to the Ferry Building Marketplace. It’s the undisputed centre of the Bay Area’s culinary universe. Which puts it in the running for centre of the culinary world. A cappuccino at Blue Bottle Coffee, grilled cheese sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery, and Secret Breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocombe should get you started. When you visit San Francisco, go to farmers markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays which offer even more tasting options.
The historic bars in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood don’t need to wow with fancy cocktails and craft-beer menus: they’ve got character. One of the classics is Specs, tucked down an alley off Columbus Avenue. Specs is some 50 years old and the cheap drinks, no-nonsense bartenders, and cosy, ramshackle interior offer a hint of what it was like in wilder days when strippers, poets and longshoremen propped up the bar.
SFJAZZ Center and The Chapel
San Francisco has a wonderfully diverse range of live music venues. The new SFJAZZ Center is a sparklingly modern mecca for jazz. While The Chapel hosts alt-rock bands in a beautifully renovated former mortuary (vaulted ceilings lend impressive acoustics).
Swedish American Music Hall and The Fillmore
Staying in San Francisco, do not miss Swedish American Music Hall for acoustic singer-songwriters in a renovated century-old ballroom. And the hundreds of concert posters covering the walls at The Fillmore tell the history of a revered music hall, in which everyone from James Brown and the Grateful Dead to Smashing Pumpkins and The Cure has tuned up and rocked out.
Fillmore Street and Japan Center Malls
Mark by Mark Jacobs, Rag & Bone, and Rebecca Minkoff are a few of the hip heavyweights sprinkled in with the independent shops along the charming lower Pacific Heights section of Fillmore Street in San Francisco. This stretch offers a more relaxed name-brand retail alternative to the madness that is Union Square. It’s also a quick walk to the Japantown’s kitschy-fun Japan Center Malls, where you can get everything from homemade udon to manga comics to any type of Hello Kitty paraphernalia under the sun.
If you fly to San Francisco, go to Aether which sells fashionable, high-end men’s and women’s outerwear from one of the coolest stores you’ll ever see: three shipping containers stacked on top of each other like Tetris pieces. It also provides the perfect launching point for exploring the booming Hayes Valley neighborhood, home to many boutiques.
The California Academy of Sciences
Between the planetarium, aquarium, four-storey rainforest, living roof and Claude the albino alligator, there’s enough to keep even the most distracted kids captivated at the California Academy of Sciences.
The deYoung Museum
But just in case boredom does creep in, this gleaming beacon to science education is just across the way from the deYoung Museum, host to buzz-worthy exhibits in the fine arts world. (There’s no charge to check out the 360-degree views at the top of the deYoung’s twisting observation tower). It’s also an easy walk to popular Golden Gate Park attractions such as the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and Stow Lake.
San Francisco Giants
Traveling to San Francisco, don’t think twice if the Giants baseball team is in town: just go. AT&T Park, the waterfront home of the winner of three World Series titles in the last half-dozen years, is unquestionably one of the top stadiums in the country to watch baseball. It also has hardcore fans (tempered by the freezing-cold winds at the team’s previous home, the now-demolished Candlestick Park). Bay Area-quality food offerings add to the experience (Dungeness crab sandwich, anyone?)
Between its cutting-edge restaurants and hopping bar scene, the Mission has become known as something of a playground for adults. It’s still very much that, but now there’s a family-friendly option too. Started by tech publishing veteran Steve Fox, Urban Putt is a 14-hole high-tech indoor mini golf course inside a renovated Victorian that’s great for kids. It also serves upscale pub grub, plus beer, wine, and cocktails, for parents.
Lands End coastal trail
The recently revamped Lands End coastal trail at San Francisco’s northwestern corner offers spectacular vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city’s ruggedly handsome coastline. It’s an easy 5.6km round-trip hike, which should leave plenty of energy to walk down to the Roman-esque ruins of the old Sutro Baths and then hit the iconic Cliff House restaurant for a bite overlooking the ocean (plus free popovers).
Events to look out for when you fly to San Francisco:
- San Francisco Film Noir Festival (January)
- San Francisco Beer Week (February)
- Chinese New Year Parade (February)
- Cherry Blossom Festival (April)
- Bay to Breakers (May)
- North Beach Festival (June)
- San Francisco LGBT Pride (June)
- Fillmore Jazz Festival (July)
- San Francisco Street Food Festival (August)
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival (September)
- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (October)
- Fleet Week San Francisco (October)
- The Great Dickens Christmas Fair (November–December)
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Eat and drink on board
You can buy a variety of snacks, sandwiches, other light meals and beverages during your flight. On our international long haul flights we also serve a three-course meal. See more about food and drink on board our flights.
You can make changes to your ticket up until 30 minutes before take-off.
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