City center, Hong Kong Flights and Travel Guide

City center, Hong Kong

General Information

City center

114.11747742

22.37035561

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(GMT -1.79769313486232E+308 hrs)

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City center, Hong Kong - Introduction

San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the USA and is the center of the San Francisco Bay Area; it acts as it’s financial, cultural, and transportation hub.

The city boasts an incredible array of diverse neighborhoods reflecting its colorful history. The Fisherman’s Wharf is a magnet for tourists. There visitors can eat, stroll and shop, as well as embark on tours to the infamous Alcatraz Island.

Chinatown is an enclave, a city within a city where Chinese traditions have survived untouched for centuries.

The North Beach, San Francisco’s ‘Little Italy’ is the best place to go for Italian food, as well as visit the famous Beat Generation spots.

The Haight Ashbury District is where the hippie revolution began, and headed the San Francisco Renaissance during the Summer of Love.

San Francisco is also famous for its numerous steep hills, and one of the best ways of exploring them is riding the city’s historic streetcars.

Whether you are into history, hippies, seafood, shopping or art, San Francisco offers a multi-faceted experience, and is a one-of-a-kind US destination. It is also known as the most 'gay-friendly' city in US.

 

Next: City center, Hong Kong Climate »

City center, Hong Kong - Climate

San Francisco has a mild year-round climate with little annual fluctuation. As it is surrounded by water on three sides, its climate is heavily influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean. It has cool, dry summers with average high temperatures from 18 to 22° C between May and October. Summers are often foggy and winters are mild and wet with average high temperatures from 14 to 18° C between November and April. Snow is very rare.

January average temperature 10 deg Celsius 104 mm rainfall
February average temperature 12 deg Celsius, 89 mm rainfall
March average temperature 12 deg Celsius, 74 mm rainfall
April average temperature 13 deg Celsius, 38 mm rainfall
May average temperature 14 deg Celsius, 13 mm rainfall
June average temperature 15 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall
July average temperature 15 deg Celsius, 0 mm rainfall
August average temperature 16 deg Celsius, 0 mm rainfall
September average temperature 17 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall
October average temperature 16 deg Celsius, 28 mm rainfall
November average temperature 14 deg Celsius, 66 mm rainfall
December average temperature 11 deg Celsius, 99 mm rainfall

 

Next: City center, Hong Kong Getting There »

City center, Hong Kong - Getting There

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PLANE

The city is served by San Francisco International (SFO), located 16 km south of the city.
The airport is served by flights from all of North America and is also a major international gateway to Europe, Asia, and Australasia. It is also the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay area.

Transfer:

Train: SFO is connected to Downtown by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The station can be accessed via a short walk or the free airport shuttle bus connection. The BART trains depart every 15 to 20 minutes and costs around $8.
Taxi: taxis are available but much more expensive. A ride to Downtown can add up to $40.
Car rental: take the 101 freeway north to San Francisco.

 

Getting Around

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

San Francisco public transport system is called MUNI. It includes buses, electric trolley buses, the famous San Francisco cable cars and metro streetcars.
Buy the CityPass ticket which covers access to all public transportation for 9 days, including admission to 6 of the city’s top attractions.


 - Muni metro

Muni Metro is a modern light rail and subway system connecting southern SF neighborhoods with the downtown. It operates daily from 4:30 am to 1:30 am.


 - Historic Street Car

Streetcar line F uses historic streetcars, and runs along the waterfront and terminates at the Castro district. The streetcars come from several cities within USA, as well as from Milan, Italy.


 - Cable cars

San Francisco cable cars are famous worldwide. There are three lines that run on steep streets between Market Street and Fisherman's Wharf.


 - BART (metro)

Bart trains are fast and affordable. They are a combination of subway and rail with connections within the city as well as links to the East Bay and the airport.


TAXI

Taxis are available throughout the city, but during peak hours it is sometimes difficult to obtain one. Rates are very steep.


BUS

Tickets can be bought at the front door. Services operate 24 hours a day. Note, however, that buses after midnight are not always safe to use.


WALKING

Walking is a pleasant and a popular way of getting from one neighborhood to another, but it can also be quite an exercise. Many streets are very steep. Some are equipped with stairs.


MOTORCYCLE

San Francisco is a very motorcycle-friendly place. There are many rental places and street parking is abundant and not expensive. The use of a helmet is mandatory. Remember to use a strong lock as motorbike theft is frequent.


CAR

Driving in the city is very difficult due to the very steep streets and lack of parking.
However, car rental is necessary if you are planning trips further out of the city.

Next: City center, Hong Kong Activities »

City center, Hong Kong - Activities

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

San Francisco is blessed with an ideal climate for outdoor activities, and offers numerous opportunities for recreation. There are over 320 km of bicycle paths, lanes and routes in the city. Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park offer tennis facilities. San Francisco Bay is an immensely popular place for boating, sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. The Marina District maintains a yacht harbor.

 

RIDING THE CABLE CARS

Cable cars are one of the city’s top attractions and an enduring San Francisco symbol. They operate daily and still run on the same, century-old routes. The stations are marked by brown and white stop signs.
Take a unique tour of the city and jump on the California Street line, which traverses the Financial District, Chinatown, and runs over to Nob Hill, or catch the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines which both end in the vicinity of the Fisherman's Wharf.

 

Next: City center, Hong Kong Attractions »

City center, Hong Kong - Attractions

The Golden Gate Bridge

Address: Highway 101 North
Web:
http://www.goldengatebridge.org

The Golden Gate Bridge is the most famous symbol of San Francisco and is also the world’s most photographed bridge. It spans the 3 km opening of San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean.

At the time of its completion in 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It was declared one of the modern Wonders of the World. It is truly an engineering accomplishment. It is said that so much wire was used for the bridge; it could be wrapped around the world several times. The bridge can withstand winds of up to 160 km/h and can sway up to 8 meters in each direction.

The best way of experiencing the sights is to walk across the bridge and enjoy the magnificent views of the city and the bay.

 

Alcatraz

Web: http://www.nps.gov/alcatraz

Alcatraz Island, or ‘The Rock’, is best known for the infamous federal penitentiary built there in the early 1900’s.  Escape from The Rock was deemed impossible to due to the island’s sheer cliffs surrounded by icy treacherous sea with strong tides and currents.

The prison held the country’s most dangerous and famous prisoners, for example Al Capone, George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly and Robert Stroud - the ‘birdman of Alcatraz'.

From November 20, 1969 to June 11 1971, Alcatraz Island was occupied for 19 months by the American Indians of All Tribes, reclaiming it as Indian land and demanding fairness and respect for Indian peoples.

The island was for a long time off-limits to the public, but today visitors can explore the prison, as well as the natural assets of the island, its gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views beyond compare.

 

Fisherman’s Wharf

Address: The Embarcadero

Fisherman’s Wharf, awash with stores, museums, historical buildings and delicious seafood restaurants, is among the most popular destinations in San Francisco and attracts around 12 million visitors every year.

It is located at the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and offers scenic vistas over San Francisco Bay.

 

Golden Gate Park

Address: John F Kennedy Drive

Golden Gate Park is San Francisco’s largest green open space and provides a welcome respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. The park covers an area surpassing 1,000 acres and lies to the west of the city.
It includes the Japanese Tea Garden, the Strybing Arboretum, the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, museums, lakes and sports facilities. On Sundays its main thoroughfare is closed to traffic and becomes a perfect place to run, ride a bike, take a stroll or go roller-blading.

 

North Beach

The North Beach is known as San Francisco's Little Italy and is also famous as the home of the famed beat generation. It is a great place to grab a cup of coffee or enjoy a snack at the many coffee shops and delis.

During the 1950s the area was the hub of the rebellious writers of the Beat Generation and today attracts tourists for the ‘Beatnik Tours’. Two of the area’s ‘Beat’ landmarks are the Vesuvio bar, and the City Lights Bookstore, once these writers’ favorite hangout.

Coit Tower, located on the Telegraph Hill, is a 64 meter tower that allows great views of the city and is another North Beach attraction.

The area’s most famous street is Lombard Street; this incredibly steep street has 8 sharp, hairpin turns that has earned it the title of the “Crookedest Street in the World”.

 

San Francisco MOMA

Address: 151 Third Street
Web:
http://www.sfmoma.org/

San Francisco’s MOMA is one of the best modern art centers in the country and has become a much loved site for those who appreciate 20th century art.

The museum features works by such iconic artists as Diego Rivera, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Henry Matisse, Paul Klee, and Jeff Koons. The photography of Ansel Adams is also housed here.

It is on par with such renowned institutions as the New York’s MOMA and the London’s Tate Modern.

 

Union Square

Address: intersection of Geary, Powell, Post, and Stockton Streets

Union Square is the modern heart of San Francisco comprising of shopping, hotels, and theaters.As the city’s premier shopping district, Union Square abounds in department stores, upscale boutiques, tourist souvenir shops, art galleries, and salons.
The plaza is surrounded by several historical buildings and grand hotels.
Off-Broadway shows and single-act theatre contribute to the all-round vibrancy of the area.

 

Chinatown

Address: Intersection of Bush and Grant Streets

San Francisco’s Chinatown, established in the 1840s, is the oldest in North America. It is also the largest Chinese community outside Asia and has retained Chinese customs and traditions throughout the centuries and is a popular tourist landmark.
The entrance into this enclave is marked by a typical archway leading to streets full of stalls selling food and herbs, traditional temples, and many eateries and museums.

Next: City center, Hong Kong Events »

City center, Hong Kong - Events

Monterey Jazz Festival

Location: Monterey Fairgrounds, Monterey
Date: third week in September
Web:
http://www.montereyjazzfestival.org

The Monterey Jazz festival is one of the oldest and most esteemed jazz festivals in the world and has been running consecutively since its debut in 1958 and was founded by Jimmy Lyons, a San Francisco jazz radio broadcaster.
The festival has hosted some of the biggest names from the world of jazz music including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, McCoy Tyner and Oscar Peterson. Concerts, weekend workshops and impromptu performances are just some things to expect.

 

Haight Ashbury Street Fair

Location: Haight Street, Haight-Ashbury District
Date: second week in June
Web:
www.haightashburystreetfair.org

The colorful and vibrant Haight Ashbury Street Fair celebrates the cultural roots of this iconic neighborhood that was once the bourgeoning center of the hippie movement. The annual street festival has been running since 1977, and creates a stage for artisans, musicians, and artists.
The streets are filled with food and drinks vendors, art and craft stalls and street performers.

 

North Beach Festival

Web: http://www.sfnorthbeach.org
Location: North Beach District
Date: 18 - 19 June
Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

The North Beach annual festival takes place on several quaint streets, with the main stage located at the beautiful Washington Square Park right in the heart of the district. The festival includes arts and crafts, funny competitions, such as pizza-tossing, mouth-watering food stalls and numerous live music acts. The festival starts with the Animal Blessing at the national Shrine of St Francis.

 

Carnaval

Location: Mission District
Date: end of May
Web:
http://www.carnavalsf.com

This is San Francisco’s version of Mardi Gras, held every Memorial Day weekend at the Mission District.
The celebrations include street performances and a street parade that include lavish floats, marching bands, and costumes representing various cultures and traditions.
Count on finding street stalls for food and various crafts and the ever present contests.

 

Bay to Breakers

Web: http://admin.baytobreakers.com/
Date: May 16

Boston has its Marathon... Pamplona has the bulls... New Orleans has Mardi Gras... San Francisco has the historic Bay to Breakers 12k. The 100-year old Bay to Breakers 12k is a much loved footrace, held annually in San Francisco. Its name reflects the race course which takes tens of thousands of participants from the "bay" side of the city to the west part of the city and the "breakers" of Ocean Beach. The 12 kilometer race features world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners and folks just out for a bit of fun and a great day of running and walking through San Francisco.

 

San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration

Location: Market Street, from Embarcadero to the Civic Center
Date: 25 - 26 June
Web:
http://www.sfpride.org

San Francisco is a very gay-friendly city and the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration has been running since 1960.
The festival features a lively procession with hundreds of floats and thousands of people, numerous music stages and many street stalls selling everything from food to souvenirs.

Next: City center, Hong Kong Etiquette »

City center, Hong Kong - Etiquette

Tipping: tipping is widely used and expected everywhere in the United States and is an important social convention in the USA.

An appropriate tip is between 15 & 20% for good service, more for exceptional service or less for poor service. Leaving no tip means that you found the service horrible.

As a general rule, tips are as follows:
Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
Food delivery: $2-5, 15-20% for larger orders
Taxis: a tip of 10-20% is expected in both yellow cabs and livery cabs
Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (some restaurants already include service charge, especially for larger groups, so check your bill)

Smoking: Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is banned in the indoor sections of restaurants and bars, as well as train and subway stations, outdoor stadiums, and many other places. The outside areas of sidewalk cafes and restaurants are usually exempt from this rule.

Next: City center, Hong Kong Safety »

City center, Hong Kong - Safety

Travel within USA is generally safe but visitors are nevertheless advised to practice general precautions. Leave your valuables in a hotel safe. Keep expensive jewelry and watches out of sight. To avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers, women are advised to carry their purse across the shoulder, and men are advised to keep their wallets in front pockets. Any car left unattended should never have anything left visible on the seats. Valuables should be kept in the trunk or, preferably, not in the car at all.

As any other big city, San Francisco has some areas where extra caution should be practiced. These include Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Sunnydale, Ingleside, and Potrero Hill in Southeast San Francisco. In addition also Tenderloin, parts of Western Addition (including the Fillmore District), and parts of the Mission.
The area near Golden Gate Park should be avoided at night.

Petty crime such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching is common. Be alert on crowded public transportation facilities and other crowded and touristy areas such as Fisherman’s Wharf.

Violent crimes do occur, mostly in poorer southeastern neighborhoods. Gang violence also occurs in several areas but is usually personal, and does not usually target people at random.

San Francisco has a large homeless population, who mostly inhabit the area around 6th and Market, and areas in the direction of the Civic Center, and in the Tenderloin. Their focus is mostly nothing other than to ask for change.

Due to the threat of terrorism, security checks at airports have been greatly increased. Allow enough time for connecting flights.
Medical facilities are excellent but very expensive. It is essential to secure good travel insurance before travel. Note that only emergencies are treated without prior payment. Treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds.


Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency: 911 (includes fire, acute medical emergencies, accidents, crime, violence, etc)
SF Dispatch number: 415-553-8090 (covering San Francisco police, fire, ambulance and rescue)


Non-emergency: 311 (reporting non-emergency crime, requests for city services, witnessing a crime)
SFPD Non-Emergency Situations: 415-553-0123

Next: City center, Hong Kong When To Go »

City center, Hong Kong - When To Go

San Francisco is a year-round destination as it has mild climate most of the time. Summers are often foggy and winters are wet.

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