Your gateway to chilling out
- 16 March 2017
Forever associated with the Beats, the Hippies and the 1967 Summer of Love, San Francisco has grown into a sophisticated mecca for shoppers and foodies, while locals have maintained a friendly and fabulous attitude. If there’s something dramatic and mysterious about the city’s steep hills and intermittent fog, it’s not reflected in the city’s culture, which includes events like the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, the St. Stupid’s Day Parade or the historic Castro Street Fair. Prepare to be charmed.
Virgin Atlantic flies to San Francisco International Aiport (SFO)
The must sees
Getting there is half the fun, and this certainly rings true in San Francisco, whether you’re clinging onto the side of a cable car or twisting through Lombard Street, the world’s most winding avenue. A ferry to fascinating Alcatraz is a must, to explore not just the history of an island that was a prison from 1934 to 1963. It’s also been a harbour fort and the site of an American Indian occupation in 1969. But for a more off-beat experience ascend the top of Coit Tower, the gift of 19th century socialite and fire-fighting enthusiast Lillie Coit. There’s no better place to see the fog roll in.
For your starter, take a cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf and try a bowl full of clam chowder. Be sure to remember to eat the bowl – they’re served in bread that offers a tantalisingly mushy conclusion to the meal. Then for your main course take some breath mints to The Stinking Rose, a local institution and garlic restaurant that offers treats such as the Forty Clove Garlic Chicken and the Garlic Braised Boneless Short Rib. For dessert, grab a pastry from Caffee Trieste, the one-time haunt of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and enjoy the Saturday afternoon opera sessions. And if you get the chance to explore the nearby Napa Valley, try The French Laundry, described by Anthony Bourdain as “the best restaurant in the world, period”. So there.