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San Francisco is located on the west coast of America in California. This incredibly hilly' city is positioned on the tip of a peninsula, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and San Francisco Bay to the east. San Francisco is linked to the Marin Headlands to the north via the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

The most infamous prison in the US sits on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Derelict since 1962 it's a magnet for tourists, 'The Rock', housed America's most wanted, including Al Capone. It closed for business in 1962, but with so many stories and mysteries it's worth the boat trip. The city covers an area of approximately 127 sq km and has a population of 775,000 people.

Dates for Your Diary

The San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show takes place in early February at the Fort Mason Centre.

The Chinese New Year Festival (late January of February). The festivities include a Chinese New Year Flower Fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair.

In Mid March, the Across the Bay 12K Race takes place going from Sausalito to Fisherman's Wharf over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The North Beach Festival is held in mid June in Washington Square Park. This event is San Francisco's oldest street fair with juried arts and crafts, with live entertainment including rock, blues, salsa, swing and classical music.

The ANA Cable Car Chase is held in late August and starts at the Aquatic Park. The race involves chasing a cable car up and down the streets of San Francisco. The San Francisco Fringe Festival takes place in early to mid September and is similar to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Numerous performances take place over 12 days with low price tickets and a wide variety of alternative, classical, comedy, cabaret and new theatre.

The New Year's Eve Celebrations on December 31st takes place on the San Francisco waterfront. Events include music and fireworks.

Must See in San Francisco

With a population of some 100,000 people, Chinatown is definitely a must see destination. The town is most exciting during the Chinese New Year in late January or early February, with a parade and fireworks.

First founded in the late 19th century, Fisherman's Warf is definitely worth a visit. Although it is now more of a tourist attraction than a fishing district, fishing trips do set sail from the Warf on a daily basis. Check out Pier 39 to see numerous sea lions basking in the sun.

Alcatraz Island, located 3 miles east of the Golden Gate bridge, needs little introduction. Originally established in 1859 as a fort by the US army, the island became a military prison in 1907. The Island is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Tickets can be bought from the Pier 41 on Fisherman's Warf.

The Golden Gate Bridge was opened in 1937, took just over 4 years to build and cost approximately $35 million. The bridge has six road traffic lanes and a free pedestrian walkway that is open between 5 am and 9 pm daily. The views of the Bay area are fantastic from the bridge.

North Beach is sandwiched between Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. It is a lively area containing numerous bars, cafes, delis, bakeries and restaurants. Sometimes known as Little Italy', it is home to many Chinese and Italian people. Telegraph Hill can be found on the east side of this area, from which the views are breathtaking.