Destination: California: San Francisco
There may be no prettier city than San Francisco. Situated at the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, it is surrounded on three sides by bodies of water: the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate strait and San Francisco Bay. It’s well known for its hills (forty-two in the urban area alone), which have been the setting for many Hollywood car chases. Because it’s near the San Andreas and Howard faults, the city experiences periodic earthquakes, yet its strict building controls make its structures among the safest anywhere.
San Francisco is also a city of neighborhoods, each distinct. Union Square is the city’s nucleus—home of the luxury hotels, upscale restaurants and high-end shops. North Beach, known as Little Italy, is full of cafés and other remnants of the beatnik era. Crammed with herb shops, temples and live-fish markets, Chinatown also contains one of the largest populations of Chinese outside Asia. Haight-Ashbury, ground zero of the 1960s hippie culture, remains bohemian even now, with head shops and psychedelic-colored Victorian homes. Neighborhoods often overlap, and by just wandering around, you can sample many in a day.
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