The most famous image of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge, no doubt, but you will discover a special kind of spirit and a rich history. In this unique city the modern San Francisco was born in what is currently its Chinatown when the British sailor William Richardson acquired his first piece of land there. The biggest Chinese district outside of China, is a must destination for every visitor. Seek its most authentic corners, as it is common knowledge that “one part belongs to the locals and another to the tourists”. Right next to Chinatown stands the most historical hill of the town, Nob Hill, where you can see some of the buildings designed by the first woman graduate of the Fine Arts School in Paris, the famous American architect Julia Morgan. On the foot of the hill in Tenderloin neighborhood, some of the illegal bars of the prohibition era, known as “speakeasies” are still located.
Visit them and taste the drinks that were concocted to keep guests satisfied. In the same neighborhood the historic Great American Music Hall can be found, a brilliant example of the old architecture of the city, as well as Luggage Store, one of the most interesting multiplexes of modern art. For a cult tour of Nob Hill, follow in the vampire tour, guided by the “Dracula” heroine Mina Hacker.
An especially interesting visit will be that on Russian Hill, where you can find the San Francisco Art Institute with Diego Rivera’s famous mural, titled “making a fresco”. Change settings with a visit to the once industrial, warehouse filled, SoMa (South of Market), which once hosted the prospective gold miners of the Gold Rush while today it hosts the equally hectic activity of the city. The area is dotted with upscale dining options and high-energy nightclubs. Move to the South for the most exciting art scene in town, Clarion Alley of Mission where the most ambitious street artists get the baptism of fire in their art. Gallery Ratio 3 is another meeting point for gifted artists in Mission, while, if you want to get a feel of the most authentic aspects of the city, go up the neighborhood of Bernal Heights, on its southern end. In the center you might want to visit the Haight-Ashbury junction in Janis Joplin’s neighborhood, wander in Dolores park – if you’re not afraid of dogs off the lease – and roam the liberal and colorful Castro. Enjoy the Mediterranean feel of Twin Peaks and the panoramic view from the hill, the second highest of San Francisco’s 41 hills. If you find yourself on the westside, unwind on a walk to Lake Yosemite, Merced and visit the monument of the last duel in San Francisco, dating back to 1859.
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