San Francisco

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the United States. It’s also the 2nd most blown up city in disaster movies. But when Hollywood isn’t blowing it to bits by natural disasters or aliens, San Francisco is actually a great vacation destination. Like previous Destination Spotlights, we at Americaware have a few tips to help you make the most of your vacation.

I’m sure you are already aware of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s wharf, and other iconic San Francisco tourist spots, so we won’t go over those here as they are already probably in your itinerary. But the following are a few non-touristy spots you may want to consider:

  • 16th Avenue Tiled Steps – The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project was a neighborhood collaboration to create a sea to stars themed mosaic flowing up a 163 step stairway located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood.  For more information visit their website below:

Photo: Maggie C

Photo: Steve N.

  • Stow Lake – This charming lake, which is located in Golden Gate Park (behind the Japanese Tea Garden), is man-made with an island in the middle. Visitors can enjoy a walk around the lake or rent a paddleboat to explore the lake’s wildlife and historic stone bridge, Chinese Pavilion, and Huntington Falls. For more details click link below:

Photo: John G.

  • Balmy Alley Is a one-block-long alley that is home to the most concentrated collection of murals in the city of San Francisco. It is located in the south central portion of the Inner Mission District between 24th Street and Garfield Square. Since 1973, most buildings on the street have been decorated with a mural. For more details click link below:

Balmy Street Murals

Photo: Ed Bierman

Here’s a list of a few more suggestions to consider before your trip:

  1. Pack layers. Crazy right? California is known to be always sunny and warm and just the absolute best most perfect weather you can find right? Well not really northern California is often rather cold and San Francisco is no exception. With an average temperature of only 67 degrees even in summer time, you’ll want to bring a coat and a light sweater.
  2. This is kind of a part 2 to the first point, but pack good shoes. When you go to San Francisco you want to walk around, and it’s a great hike just walking the infamous hilly streets of San Fran, but in order to do this without hurting yourself…well, you need good shoes don’t you?
  3. And do walk around. I know I say this in every spotlight but some of the magic of traveling is lost when you over plan for everything. San Francisco is a great city, with tons to see and do, but travel is about exploration. So Explore. Hike the hills, ask the locals where the best blocks to walk and shop are, let the trolleys take you places.
  4. Now this is kind of a counter point to #3, but the restaurants can get crazy, so if you are determined to eat at a specific restaurant, do yourself a favor and make a reservation. The crowds in San Fran can get crazy especially on weekends.

For more tips please visit the following:


And while you are in S.F. don’t forget to be on the look out for one of our San Francisco Americaware Mugs! Or order them online, that works too.