A mere 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island boasts a fascinating history that extends far beyond its stint as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963; it is also the site of the West Coast's oldest operating lighthouse, the remains of a historic military fortress, and a bird sanctuary. Although within sight of the city, Alcatraz is isolated from the outside world, surrounded by the frigid waters of the bay, the perilous currents making escape virtually impossible. This very fact made Alcatraz an apt choice for a prison meant to house some of the country's most notorious criminals, including the likes of Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud and Alvin Karpis. The year 1969 marked the beginning of another intriguing chapter in the history of Alcatraz when a group of Native American activists occupied the island for 19 months, signs of which are still visible to this day. Amid this turbulent narrative thrives a vibrant habitat for native flora and fauna, creating a miniature world of startling contrasts where the haunting remains of the prison stand amid a striking landscape of rock pools, rugged coasts and lush flora. The isle is now a tourist attraction, one of San Francisco's most popular, with self-guided and guided tours that delve into the past of the island as a whole and the prison in particular.
A finales de 1800, un escocés llamado John McLaren transformó más de 400 hectáreas de dunas de arena en un maravilloso refugio en medio de la ajetreada vida de la ciudad. Este exuberante paisaje se extiende por 50 cuadras desde Stanyan Street hasta el Océano Pacífico, y ofrece siempre arreglos nuevos. Hay senderos para caminar, trotar, andar en bicicleta y montar a caballo, así como también un campo de golf, pistas de bolos sobre césped, un lago con botes a pedal, campos de fútbol y un diamante de béisbol. Para aquellos que buscan una diversión menos extenuante, pueden echar un vistazo a la California Academy of Sciences (Academia de Ciencias de California) y un auténtico jardín de té japonés. Para las familias con niños, hay parques infantiles, una reserva de búfalos y un carrusel. También puede encontrar el Shakespeare Garden yendo por un camino escondido del parque.
El Asian Art Museum (Museo de Arte Asiático) es uno de los museos más grandes del mundo occidental dedicado exclusivamente al arte asiático. Su colección incluye cerca de 15000 tesoros de 6000 años de historia, que representan las culturas de Asia. El renombrado arquitecto Gae Aulenti supervisó la espectacular transformación del edificio: ahora cuenta con más de 3700 metros cuadrados de espacio en la galería, lo que permite al museo cumplir mejor su misión de liderar una amplia audiencia mundial con intenciones de ver material único y logros estéticos e intelectuales del arte y la cultura asiáticos. Visitar el sitio web para información sobre eventos especiales y mucho más. La entrada es gratuita el primer domingo de cada mes.
Named one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Golden Gate Bridge spans the eponymous strait that links the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Designed by Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow, and Charles Ellis, the bridge opened in 1937 as the world's longest suspension bridge, its main span measuring at an impressive 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) in length. The bridge is not quite golden, but is instead a bright orange, its Art Deco towers looming through the dense fog that often mires the bay; a sight that has come to be emblematic of the city of San Francisco. The bridge ferries vehicular and pedestrian traffic between San Francisco and Marin City, the vista points on either side boasting awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate, while the bridge itself promises unmatched views of the bay.
Located at the western end of Golden Gate Park is San Francisco's biggest beach. It extends from Fort Funston in the south, to the Cliff House in the north. Typically, the cold winds, fog and low San Francisco temperatures deter any regular beach activities (unless you're lucky enough to be there on a hot day) but visitors fly kites or just walk along and admire the views of Seal Rocks and Point Lobos. Adventure seekers love surfing here. There are also bonfire pits provided on the beach for the general public; to claim one, go early in the evening.
Esta impresionante estructura de Nob Hill fue construida en el sitio de la mansión Crocker después del terremoto e incendio de 1906. Uno de los principales atractivos de la catedral son las ventanas, que muestran más de 1000 figuras, algunas de las cuales datan de la década de 1930. Los relieves dorados que adornan las puertas de la entrada principal están hechos en base a los moldes originales de la Puerta del Paraíso de Ghiberti, que adorna el Baptisterio de Florencia. La catedral también cuenta con dos laberintos. El exterior es de terrazo y el interior es de piedra caliza.
Market Street is a famous destination for many. With the Ferry Building on its eastern terminus and Twin Peaks at its west end, the wide boulevard has cut through the heart of San Francisco since the city's inception. Flanked by specialty shops and several restaurants on its sides, the street is busy throughout the day. However, it is during the city's parades that the street comes to life. Citizens from every nook and corner assemble at Market Street and become a part of the year-long awaited parade and festivities that take place thereafter.
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.
San Francisco Arts Commission Main Gallery is one of the finest places to visit to observe intricate contemporary art forms from all over the world. They either showcase the already existing art forms in the gallery, or are even open to accepting new forms if you want to showcase your talent and works. Founded in 1932, the gallery has been showcasing world renowned artists and their pristine artworks. Catering to more than 4000 local/international artists, there has been more than 480 exhibitions that have taken place over the years. They try to procure art forms that coincide with a social message to inculcate the habit of getting into arts.
The New Main Library was opened on 18th April 1996 after extensive renovation on the Main library building amounting to a staggering 109 million dollars. The New Main Library is fully equipped with 300 computer terminals, a room equipped with 1100 laptops and a special children's wing. The management has acted upon the feedback they have received from the general public and improved facilities like adding more computers for public access, meeting and study rooms for students and local groups, comfortable and roomy seating areas and also better wheelchair access. Take a peek at the sleek top floor terrace.
The City Guides are sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library. Over 25 tours focus on different aspects of San Francisco culture, including the city's history and architecture. Recent tours have included a walking tour of the Mission District's murals and an Art Deco tour of the Marina. All tours are free, though donations to benefit the library are requested. Departure locations and times vary. Call or write the main library branch for information.
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.