It’s come a long way from the 1960s city of flowers and free love, but the San Fran of today still has the air of a cultural bellwether. Explore the Californian coastline’s most colourful jewel on a holiday to San Francisco from Glasgow Airport.
Music and mayhem
Birthplace of Rolling Stone magazine and home to many of the greatest figures in 20th-century pop culture, San Francisco has always had a thriving progressive music scene. Today, big venues such as The Independent (628 Divisadero Street), the Great American Music Hall (859 O’Farrell Street) and The Chapel (777 Valencia Street) host a combination of new bands and old favourites. The city’s world-famous nightlife scene also revolves around live acts – see the best upcoming talent at atmospheric bars such as the Tonga Room (950 Mason Street) and Rickhouse (246 Kearney Street).
Perched on a sweeping Pacific peninsula, San Francisco is the gateway to the Californian coast. Get a bird’s-eye view of those scenic surroundings without leaving the city from Coit Tower (1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard), or hike the wild and windswept sea cliff trail to Land’s End. The best way to see famous sites such as the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate and the formidable prison of Alcatraz is by kayak – the Bay Area Sea Kayakers club (229 Courtright Road) can point you in the direction of a suitable guide.
Hippy culture lives on in the Frisco foodie scene, which revolves around fresh, organic and locally grown produce. This could be the only city in the world with an organic hot dog joint – Underdog (1634 Irving Street) – which serves sausages as scrumptious as they are sustainable. The Bay Area is also known for its cosmopolitan cuisine. Discover a rainbow of new flavours at experimental Korean eatery Namu Gaji (499 Dolores Street), or chow down on the cheesiest tacos at Mexican joint Nopalito (306 Broderick Street).