Some of my favorite cities of the world — Paris, Budapest, and Charleston, South Carolina — have the most incredible architecture. While Southern California didn’t impress me much on my recent visit, I know San Francisco is a city that I would appreciate. How can you not love the architecture here?
Unlike New York City and its skyscrapers or Charleston with its single houses, San Francisco isn’t known for only one architectural style. Instead, San Francisco is known for its eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture nestled into its steep hills and foggy seaside cliffs. From the room of your San Francisco hotel, you can witness some of this architecture.
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1937, is San Francisco’s most recognized feature. Up until 1964, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge at 4,200 feet. To most people, the Golden Gate Bridge is a red suspension bridge, but to those who know a little art history, they will see its true beauty. The bridge features Art Deco elements. Next time you’re in San Francisco, take a look at the bridge towers, street lights, and railings.
The Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is another place within the city to see great architecture. Located in the Marina District, the Palace was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Constructed around an artificial lagoon, the Palace houses art exhibitions today. The historic Palace of Fine Arts Theatre hosts ballet and many other shows throughout the year.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is both the largest and oldest community in North America. If you’re looking for delicious Chinese food, then a visit to Chinatown is a must-visit stop. Covering more than 24 blocks in downtown San Francisco, you can’t miss the famous Dragon Gate on Grant Avenue and Stockton Street with its authentic Chinese look and feel.
The Painted Ladies
No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to Alamo Square with views of the Painted Ladies. While you probably won’t see the Tanners at home, you will see stunning views of the city below. Grab a bottle of wine and cheese, and enjoy an afternoon in the park.
Finally, don’t forget to take a stroll down Lombard Street. Supposedly, Lombard Street between Hyde and Broderick Street is the steepest in the world at 27 percent grade. From the bottom of Russian Hill, you can spot the eight hairpin turns and wonder why anyone would drive down that road. If you’re feeling up to a challenge, give the old legs a good workout and walk to the top.
San Francisco is a city filled with incredible architecture, history, art, and food. It’s a city that I can’t wait to visit someday.
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