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Folsom Street in the city is one busy street. This entertainment hub of the city is in close proximity to major attractions and landmarks and is always buzzing with events. A part of this lively street, plays host to the risque annual Folsom Street Fair. Located in the heart of the city, it is frequented by locals and tourist alike.
Hayes Valley is San Francisco's scene for small, trendy boutiques, cafes with endless outdoor seating and green parks. A product of the 1989 earthquake when the destruction required a portion of the freeway be demolished and rebuilt elsewhere, the Hayes Valley has blossomed with the construction of a beautiful park where the freeway once was. There are shops and restaurants selling everything from furniture to messenger bags. Try Absinthe for a bite to eat or a cocktail. This is truly an easy place to get lost on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
A vibrant and buzzing neighborhood located right in the heart of the city, South of Market (known by locals as "SoMa") is a cultural delight. With a huge number of tech companies headquartered here, this stretch of the city is filled with hip 20 and 30-somethings. Visit art galleries, museums and cultural spaces, or simply go party in one of the many premier nightclubs. The Museum of Modern Art, Moscone Convention Center, Yerba Buena Center, and AT&T Park are all located here, as well as a number of upscale boutique hotels. The rough boundaries of the neighborhood are east of Market Street between The Embarcadero to the north and 10th Street to the south.
San Francisco Japantown Center is a major attraction that reflects Japanese regalia and arts and crafts through a number of showrooms, galleries and bookstores. Its almost like a mini-Japan in the heart of San Francisco. Also known as Nihonmachi, the area serves as a rich treasure of Japanese culture and tradition in the form of clothes, literature and the like, perennially stacked in the several stores tucked inside the center. Japantown also has movie theaters and hotels.
Dolores Park is one of the main hot spots in San Francisco and is the major meet-up place for many citizens. Though it is not very large, it attracts crowds of people and the beautiful views make it worth the visit. Recreational resources include a few tennis courts, basketball courts, two soccer fields and a children's playground, but most of all Dolores Park is often used as a venue for special events such as movies in the park. Its surrounding area is known for some of San Francisco's major culinary attractions: Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina and the Tartine Bakery. It is also a great place to chill with some ice cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery. Saturday hang-outs in the park are often events themselves and it's always packed on weekends. Given its location, it's almost always sunny; the famous fog knows better than to ruin the oasis that is Dolores Park. Whether you choose to sit in Dog Beach, Hipster Beach, Speedo Ridge or partake in actual activity at the playground or tennis courts you are sure to have an unforgettable time.
Often known as the "first neighborhood" of San Francisco, the Mission District is one of the favorite places of the people of the city. The district has its own share of fun places, restaurants, theaters and bookstores and is a hugely popular destination for avid foodies. Spend a day at Dolores Park or admire the colorful murals on the buildings throughout the district.
This impressive structure crowning Nob Hill was built on the site of the Crocker Mansion after the 1906 earthquake and fire. One of the main attractions of the cathedral are the stained glass windows. These windows showcase over 1000 figures, with some of them dating back as far as the 1930s. The gilded bas-reliefs that adorn the doors of the main entrance are cast from Ghiberti's original molds for the Gates of Paradise that adorn the Baptistery in Florence. The cathedral also boasts two labyrinths. The outdoor one is made of Terrazzo stone and the indoor one from limestone.
Most commonly known as the gay mecca of San Francisco, the Castro is a vibrant neighborhood located along Castro Street stretching from Market to 19th Street. The area, made famous after the summer of love and most notably after Harvey Milk's rise to political power in San Francisco in the 1970s, has become a hot spot for the arts, nightlife, restaurants and shopping. The crowded streets, colorful store-fronts and gorgeous Victorians make this a picturesque and funky neighborhood to visit. Stop into the famed Castro Theater for an art-house flick or learn about the history of San Francisco's gay culture at the GLBT History Museum. Don't be alarmed if you are subjected to nudity, sex shops or S&M; it's just another day in the neighborhood.
Chinatown, one of the busiest areas in the city, is a hodgepodge of shops, restaurants and businesses of every kind. The vibrant and close-knit community that lives within this neighborhood has also made it one of San Francisco's top tourist destinations. Thankfully, there are many side streets, quiet shops and traditional restaurants that provide some relief from the bustle outside. Try your luck at one of the hundreds of dining options in the area, especially those serving Dim Sum, as they can be some of the best in the city. Also make sure to stop in some of the small herbal shops for some unusual trinkets and art.
Haight-Ashbury is a district in San Francisco named after the intersections of Haight and Ashbury Streets, known to many as The Haight. It encompasses the area from Golden Gate Park and Oak Street to Baker Street and the Buena Vista Park. This district is famous for its role in the 1960s hippie movement, and remains a popular tourist attraction for its bohemian vibe. Many restored Victorian houses can still be found gracing the streets in the neighborhood.
A walk through the alleys of what is known to be San Francisco's pioneering neighborhood, the Mission District, is where the graffiti movement all began. The Latino community that called this place home back in the 1970s brought along the unique tradition to The City by the Bay. The artistic expressions began as an outrage against human rights violations in Central America and the murals depicted today continue to be inspired by social and political occurrences the world over. Balmy Alley keeps the city's heritage rich and diverse with paintings on building walls, garage doors, fences and facades. Clarion Alley followed suit, thus contributing to the district's epicenter status of the San Franciscan custom.
Feel like taking a quick stroll along verdant pathways? Or want to relax on a patch of green as you indulge in people-watching? Visit Washington Square Park and have a relaxing time out with family and friends. Walk your dog, meet friends, hold small picnics or simply get drenched in the lively aura of this place. The whole park comes alive with music during the North Beach Jazz festival. An ideal hang out on a lazy day.