The city that invented cool and created hippies - and has managed to retain much of its kicked back vibe and alternative style. The Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, even its old prison and its transport system have glamour and a certain cache. There was a hit Bee Gees song, way back in the sixties, that advised visitors to San Francisco to ‘be sure to wear some flowers in your hair’. It must have been something to do with hippies because, in those days, the city was the hippest place on planet Earth.
And in some ways, it still is. Not many places in the world have a public transport system that is tourist destination in its own right. But, once you’ve ridden one of the famous San Francisco trams up and down the switchbacks, hanging onto the sides and grinning inadvertently at the passers-by walking along the broad, tree-lined boulevards…you will understand. It is just one of the things you have to do when you’re in this most exhilarating of California’s cities.
Similarly, there is no way you cannot go to jail. Alcatraz, in this instance, standing on a grim island in the middle of the bay. Your luxury, tailor-made vacation to the USA also has to include cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. Not to mention a trip to Fishermen’s Wharf, or the ultra-cool Haight area and a browse through the alternative bookstores on Haight and Ashbury.