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As with many of our favourite cities, San Francisco is a collection of distinct and distinctive neighbourhoods inhabited by tribes ranging from hippies to hipsters, but also containing some of the most iconic landmarks of any city in the US. The prison of Alcatraz, the sea lions at Pier 39, the Swan Oyster Depot restaurant and all the other classic 'Frisco sites are well worth exploration, and with a little bit of help from us, you can avoid the tourist hordes as well.
Why we think you’ll love it
'Frisco is a city that has always welcomed immigrants, and their gastronomic contributions make it fabulous for foodies.
From the gallery
Our guide to holidays in San Francisco
So where to start? For a sense of context, visit the original hippy commune of Haight-Ashbury (now, ironically, full of chic boutiques that would have produced mutters of 'commercialism, man' back in the 60s). Next stop might be The Mission, a neighbourhood that's become home to hipsters, and consequently craft beer breweries and achingly cool restaurants.
You can work off the over-eating by walking up the extremely steep (and winding) Lombard Street in the Russian Hill district made famous by Steve McQueen's epic car chase in Bullitt before hitting the waterfront to meet those iconic sea lions or browse the stalls at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. Finally, there's a strong chance of bumping into a twentysomething tech billionaire in Mid-Market, home to Instagram and Twitter and now a major rival to Silicon Valley as the city reinvents itself once again.