Arriving in San Francisco, you notice the traffic first. It's jarring, backed up, very hard to navigate, and completely frustrating.
But don't let the heinous rush hour fool you. There's a reason why so many people try to get in the city, work in the city, and live in the city. It's a beautiful place that combines the best of its California weather with the multicultural tastes of its thriving population.
It's the hub of many tech companies, and includes a sizable Arab, South Asian and Asian population that thrive. There are so many sections of the city that not only integrate hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurants with top-notch Italian eateries, but whole parts of the city dedicated to just one ethnic group.
The tourist spots are also endless. From taking a rickety but reliable cable car along the city's edge, to visiting funky Fisherman's Wharf, there are so many opportunities for couples, families and singles alike to enjoy themselves and take in the sights. There are a few things that are must-see and do in the city, and here are just a few of them:
1) Drive (or walk) across the Golden Gate: The majestic bridge, especially when blanketed in fog is amazing. Venturing across and seeing the glittering lights on either end of the bridge leave a lasting impression on any tourist.
2) Take a tour of the islands: Don't just visit Alcatraz Island, the holding ground for America's most notorious prison, but pay a little extra and visit the beautiful Angel Island. This island contains some of the most naturally breathtaking scenery in the San Francisco Bay, and has a lot of history scratched into its tiny barracks.
3) Touring Ghirardelli Square: It's located right near Fisherman's Wharf and is the original red-brick home of the fine chocolate maker, Ghirardelli chocolates. There are 8 buildings all together and there is a chocolate making-demonstration, tour, and even a sundae parlor, which whips us dizzyingly sweet concoctions. Make sure to stop here for a sweet little break.
4) Fisherman's Wharf: The wharf is a great place for families. There's a first-class aquarium, tons of funky shops, great stalls to get some tacky souvenirs, and of course, San Francisco's famous piping hot clam chowder served up in delicious sourdough bread bowls. Slurping down the chowder while walking the wharf is a tradition you've got to take part in.
5) Going down (and up) twisted Lombard Street: This street is known as the curviest in the world, and is a lot of fun in a car, but torturous if you're walking up it. It's a great workout, and one of the premier tourist spots in the whole city. During the spring and summer times, it gets really congested around this area, but venture a little south of this street, where some great restaurants keep shop.
6) Taste EVERYTHING: San Francisco has some of the best restaurants and finest cuisine in the world. You can find food from every nation, and a niche market for all tastes. Chinatown is a great place to get started, with some authentic and fabulous Chinese food, and work your way around the beautiful city.
There's something here for everyone—Muslims can find enough halal food and restaurants to keep their taste buds happy, as well as lots of vegetarian and vegan options for the herbivores and the fancy restaurants for the discerning palate. Tour the city and feats on not only the food, but the sights.