is one of the world's most universally treasured cities is San Francisco; renowned for its natural beauty, cultural diversity and the variety of enjoyable experiences that are available within its 49 square miles of urban paradise.
Fisherman's Wharf, the most visited attraction
within San Francisco, provides a unique setting spotlighting the beauty of the Bay Area. From frolicking sea lions at Pier 39, to the panoramic views of Alcatraz and The Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf is an up-close study of the natural beauty of San Francisco.
Fisherman from Genua and Sicily first arrived in the Fisherman's wharf area in the late 19th century, and there they founded the San Francisco fishing industry. The district has slowly given way to tourism since the 1950s.
Dungeness Crab Fisherman's Wharf, which has been the home of San Francisco's colorful fishing fleet for nearly a century and a quarter, is world famous for its wide variety of ocean fish. Much of this fame is due to the annual harvest of that most delectable of all crustaceans, the Dungeness crab of San Francisco.
Traditionally, the opening of the crab season is preceded with a religious procession and a priestly blessing of the fleet. The boat decks are piled high with crab traps. The first day\'s harvest is anxiously awaited as an indication of what the season will bring the \"crabbers\" as a reward for their work.
The Cannery is one of San Francisco\'s most treasured places. Located near Fisherman\'s Wharf, and originally built in 1907, The Cannery was once the largest peach cannery in the world. Today, The Cannery is a vibrant waterfront marketplace featuring one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, live entertainment, and San Francisco\'s official history museum. The brick warehouse was converted into three levels of winding walkways, balconies and bridges surrounding an inviting courtyard with 100 year-old olive trees and several outdoors cafes. The Cannery\'s European charm, unique shops and restaurants, and award-winning architecture make it one of the finest shopping and dining experiences in the world.
An other very famous sight is Ghiradelly Square, which was once a chocolate factory. This is one of San Francisco's many refurbished factories. It is a blend of old red-blick buildings with new elegant shops and restaurants. The shopping center retains the famous Ghiradelly trademark clock tower and the original bright electric roof sign.
Fisherman's Wharf's most famous attraction is Pier 39, one of the premier marinas in the San Francisco bay. It offers 309 berths, modern facilities and a spectacular few of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge. There is also a great shopping at 110 specialty stores, dining at 10 full service restaurants and various forms of entertainment like the Underwater World Aquarium, Turbo Ride Simulation and the Cinemax Theater. You can also see the California Sea Lions on K dock.
At USS Pampanito visitors experience what life was like for the submariners during World War II. A self-guided audio tour, narrated by submarine Captain Edward Beach is included with admission and offers visitors the ability to explore Pampanito\'s torpedo room, crew\'s quarters, control room and the fully-operational galley.
The Wax Museum is one of the world's largest and most absorbing collection of life-size wax figures. In the Hall of Living Art you can also see portraits such as Mona Lisa rendered in wax. You can also see historical luminaries, including the 14 US presidents, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Al Capone. A gruesome assortment of terrifying ghouls, mythical monsters and infamous murderers occupies the compelling Chamber of Horrors.
Also worth seeing is the Maritime Museum which is housed in an historic art deco streamline modern building that resembles a cruise ship. This Museum features ship models, figureheads, maritime paintings, photos and artifacts.
At Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum you can watch a cable car built of matchsticks, a two headed calf, tombstones bearing wry epithets, and a life- size imagine of the man who had two pupils in each eyeball. There are also samples of Ripley's famous cartoon strips.
Also situated in Fisherman's Wharf is Alcatraz island, lying 3 miles east of the Golden Gate, its location is both strategic and exposed to harsh ocean winds. In 1859, the US military established a ford here that guarded San Francisco Bay until 1907, when it became a military prison.
The maximum-security prison on Alcatraz, dubbed "The Rock" by prisoners, housed an average of 264 of the country's most incorrigible criminals, who were transferred here for disobedience while serving time in prisons elsewhere in the US. The strict discipline in Alcatraz was enforced by the threat of a stint in the isolation cells and by loss of privileges, including the change at special jobs, time for recreation, use of the prison library and visitation nights. Famous Inmates were Al Capone, Robert Stroud, Carners, Tompson Shockley, the Anglin Brothers and George Kelly.
An other very well known part of Fisherman's Wharf is Lombard Street. In the 1960 the section of Lombard Street close to the summit of Russian Hill was revamped, and the severity of its gradient lessened by the addition of eight curves. Today it is known as "the crookedest street in the world".
Telegraph Hill was named after the semaphore installed on its crest in 1850 to alert merchants of the arrival of ships. In the past the hill has been home to immigrants and to artists who appreciated the panoramic views. These days the quaint pastel clapboard homes are much sought after and this is one of the city's prime residential areas.
As I have already mentioned, on top of the Telegraph Hill, there was built the Coit Tower in 1933, with funds left to the city by Lilly Hitchcock Coit, an eccentric San Franciscan pioneer and philanthropist. When floodlight is an eerie white and can be seen from most parts of the eastern half of the city.
Other Sights are San Francisco Art Institute, Vallejo Street stairway, Club FugazI; North Beach Museum, Washington Square, Filbert Street, Greenwich steps, Upper Montgomery Street and Levi's Plaza.