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Planning Your Trip

With its Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Victorian houses, there may not be a more picturesque city in the world than San Francisco. Here’s what to pack for a trip to the City by the Bay.

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Exploring the City

San Francisco is only 47 square miles, but it’s brimming with first-class museums, upscale shopping, world-renowned restaurants — even a baseball stadium.
 

  • San Francisco is famous for its hilly terrain. For a day of sightseeing, sneakers or flat comfortable shoes are highly recommended.      
  • It never gets too hot or too cold, so dressing in layers and carrying a light jacket or sweater will keep you comfortable year-round.    
  • If visiting in September or October — the city’s warmest months — pack a summery outfit or two.
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Business Travel

A meeting at a financial company requires different attire than one at
a tech startup. Research the company’s culture before packing.

 

 

  • A gray, black or navy suit is always a safe bet. You can dress it down by leaving the tie behind or taking the jacket off.
  • San Francisco is a walking city, so women should
    bring a pair of flats to change into if heels are an outfit must-have. 
  • A classic trench coat is the ideal protection against early morning fog and the coastal evening breeze.  
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Evening Chic

From the ballet to the opera to Michelin-starred restaurants, San
Francisco nightlife offers a little something for everyone.

 

 

  • The city is a foodie paradise. When visiting a fine dining restaurant, switch out jeans for an elegant dress and a jacket and tie.
  • Headed to the ballet or the opera? Bring along formalwear for the occasion.
  • To stay warm in the Bay Area weather, don’t forget an outer layer that will pair well with your eveningwear.

Don't Forget:

San Francisco is famous for its outdoorsy lifestyle. Whether you’re hiking through Muir Woods, jogging down the Embarcadero, doing yoga in Golden Gate Park or kayaking in the Bay, make sure you pack appropriate activewear.


San Francisco’s diverse offerings mean there’s a lot to explore — from towering redwoods to wine tasting. Play it safe (and smart) by booking these activities before you arrive.

Tours

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One of the most uniquely San Franciscan experiences is a trip to Alcatraz Island. A mile and a half from Fisherman’s Wharf, this infamous prison once held notorious criminals like Al Capone. Today it’s part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, maybe the most popular. Book your spot through Alcatraz Cruises early (the night tour is less crowded). Tickets can be purchased 90 days in advance, and some tours frequently sell out.

Nightlife

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If you’re in the mood for culture, you’ve come to the right city. The San Francisco Ballet is one of the most prestigious and oldest professional ballet companies in the U.S. The season runs January through May, with tickets usually going on sale a couple of months beforehand. The city is also home to the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Opera, well-known for its classical performances (“La Traviata” and “Turandot”) and for productions of new operas from current composers. Whether you opt for the ballet or the opera, you’ll want to secure your tickets well in advance.

Day Trips

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One of the best things about San Francisco is its close proximity to Napa Valley. Just 55 miles north, this beautiful stretch of land is home to small towns surrounded by vineyards. Once you get there, leave the car behind and hop  aboard the historical Napa Valley Wine Train. Book one of the train’s dinners or winery tours online in advance — dates and times vary. An even shorter distance away is Muir Woods National Monument. Here you can walk among the mighty coastal redwood trees — but not without reservations, which are required for all vehicles and shuttle riders starting in early 2018.

Dining Reservations

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With access to wine country, lush produce and fresh seafood, San Francisco’s food scene is top-notch. For delicious farm-to-table dining, book a table at Parallel 37 at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, where Chef Michael Rotondo serves up globally inspired California cuisine made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. For a unique dining experience, head to Lazy Bear in the Mission District. Here, the idea of sharing a meal with others is just as important as the food itself. Serving up modern American food in a communal setting, Chef David Barzelay creates the imaginative dishes that have earned the restaurant two Michelin stars. Lazy Bear releases each month’s reservations all at once, typically on a Wednesday a couple of weeks into the previous month.

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Culinary Tours

It’s not just San Francisco’s close proximity to the Napa Valley and the Northern California farmland that makes it such an incomparable destination for dedicated foodies. With the tech boom, an entire new culture of dining has emerged: fine dining with the rarest and highest-quality ingredients. Airy bistros that you could lounge in all day. And, thanks to a diverse immigrant population, a large variety of international cuisine. Come very hungry.

 

 

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CULTURAL TREASURES

One of the most eclectic cities in America, San Francisco is filled with neighborhoods that have diverse and rich histories, with much of those histories well-preserved. (Where else can you find cable cars still roaring through streets?) Trace the path of the beatniks, who called North Beach their home, or visit the ruins of the city’s old bathhouse on the water. And don’t miss the many museums that can stand up to those of New York, London and Paris.

 

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