The City of San Francisco is a massive destination for Irish J1 students and every summer they flock to "The City by the Bay" to soak up the cultural and social capital of America. San Fran has cemented its place among the great cities in history with its liberalizing attitudes, the Summer of Love and sparking the gay rights movement. A centre for soaring financial and digital industries, aesthetic architecture, with a rich tapestry of food and culture, San Francisco is a city you simply must see in your lifetime.
Here are the top 14 things you must do in San Francisco this summer!
15. Visit Golden Gate Park.
A vast urban park enclosed withing the city, Golden Gate Park attracts over 13 million visitors a year. The Conservatory of Flowers is especially worth a visit. A historic Victorian greenhouse built with traditional wood and glass pane, it gives you a sense of tranquility away from the hustle and bustle if the city.
14. Take a trip to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz Cruises offer you the best way to visit the Bay's most notorious site! When people think San Francisco, they think Alcatraz, and this award-winning tour is a delight for those history nuts! Aside from the history, Alcatraz Island is also rich in natural gardens, tide pools, bird colonies and glorious bay views that you can't get anywhere else.
13. Snap yourself at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Get a lifelong picture of yourself at the historic Golden Gate Bridge! It's the iconic symbol of San Francisco, stretching 3 miles long and universally recognised as one of the Wonders of the modern world.
12. Get breakfast at Mama's.
Located on North Beach's Washington Square, Mama's is a delightful family restaurant which serves up the best breakfast in town. They serve everything from fluffy omelettes to homemade jam and freshly baked pastries. Get there early in the morning to beat the queues and give yourself time to walk off that breakfast afterwards!
11. Experience NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences.
Every Thursday, NightLife blends together music, cocktails and creatures into one unique evening! This is a must do activity in the city.
10. See a baseball game at AT&T Park.
Sure, every city in the US is proud of their ballparks, but AT&T Park ranks as one of the finest baseball stadiums in the country. It has been the home of the San Francisco Giants since the millennium when it was originally named Pacific Bell Park, but you'd be silly not to sit back and catch a game while enjoying a cold beer and some of the best baseball food around!
9. Try beat the delicious Kitchen Sink Challenge!
Challenge Adam Richman's record time in the Kitchen Sink challenge at the San Francisco Creamery! The Kitchen Sink consists of 3 sliced bananas, up to 8 different selections of homemade ice-cream, 8 servings of toppings, topped off with a whopping pile of whipped cream, almonds and cherries! What's more? If you win the challenge you win free ice-cream for one whole year! Get eating!
8. Take the Trolley to the Castro.
Jump on one of the historic trolley cars on the Embarcadero and you can ride it all the way to the Castro. One of the most scenic journeys in San Francisco, you'll pass by the Wharf, down the Embarcadero and down to Market Street, and all for the $2 price of the trolley.
7. Visit The Exploratorium.
The Exploratorium is San Francisco's epic science museum at Pier 15 - fun for adults and life-changing for children, everybody's guaranteed to have a great time here! Make sure you experience the tactile dome, which is a pitch-black maze you have to navigate purely by touch! Other fun features include blowing the world's largest soap bubble, roughly the size of a beach ball and dissecting a cow's eye.
6. See a 49ers game!
Located in the Bay Area, the San Francisco 49ers are renown for having one of the NFL's greatest dynasties, winning 5 Super Bowl championships in just 14 years, between 1981 and 1994. You may remember them from winning the 2012 Super Bowl in a close game against the Atlanta Falcons! The 49ers are always up there amongst the top teams in American football and you won't be disappointed if you take a trip down to Levi's Stadium to watch them play!
5. Visit Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf.
Fisherman's Wharf is the bustling tourist hotspot in San Francisco with a glorious lookout towards Alcatraz and is packed full of attractions, with a copious chain of delicious seafood restaurants to choose from. Pier 39 is the centrepiece shopping centre, filled with shops, street performers, video arcades and more, with fabulous views of California sea lions sitting on the docks on Pier 39's marina. There's live music and happy hour on daily at Pier 39 so get down there for an afternoon of activities.
4. Eat at Ike's Place.
You won't eat a better sandwich in San Francisco than you will at Ike's! Their motto "Love & Sandwiches" just lures you in the door and you won't be disappointed! Ike's infamous "dirty sauce" is a revelation that you simply must try!
3. Experience the world renown San Francisco Ballet.
The San Francisco Ballet is an unforgettable experience you won't find anywhere else. Those with an interest in the symphony and the arts will be in awe of the magnificent performances from the best artists in their profession. This year's summer tour hosts the Spoleto Festival and Les Etés de la Danse Festival so make sure you catch at least one performance.
2. Napa Valley Wine Country Tour.
Napa Valley and Sonoma offer a potent combination of beautiful countryside and fine wines for all you wine lovers out there. Whether you're into wine or not, or just want to see the magnificent valleys, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours help create the perfect tour geared towards your liking. If you really like your wine and want to come home, boasting to your friends about where you just visited, The Napa Valley Wine Train is an unforgettable fine dining experience unmatched anywhere else!
1. Visit Yosemite National Park.
Definitely one of the top scenic destinations in America, Yosemite National Park allows tourists to experience the great American outdoors and covers a vast area of almost 750,000 acres, with almost 95% of the park being designated as the wilderness. It has everything - mesmerizing waterfalls, spectacular granite cliffs and clear streams. Take a day trip to Yosemite and you'll experience some truly wonderful sights.