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Inspire Magazine - 48-hours in San Francisco

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Inspire Magazine - 48-hours in San Francisco

story by: Inspire Magazine

Unmistakable cityscapes, eclectic cuisine, a unique beat that's never let up since the 60s, San Francisco was seemingly created for a holiday itinerary that's bursting at the seams. So what should be included in a 48-hour stopover?

Watching the ferries coming in across the crystal clear Bay is a great way to start a San Francisco morning, and if you're at Ferry Plaza on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday you get the added attraction of an organic farmer's market.

Haight Ashbury, the highpoint of the 1960s flower power movement, is also worth seeing. There's a pretty cool vibe about the neighbourhood and you could lose a whole day wandering around. Stick to Haight Street though, where a few blocks feature everything from designer boutiques, to vintage clothing and the huge Amoeba music store.

Haight eventually leads to Golden Gate Park where you’ll find the Western Hemisphere's oldest glass and wood Victorian greenhouse and the ultra modern California Academy of Sciences. Put aside any thoughts of dry scientific lectures, the Renzo Piano designed Academy of Sciences is an eco wonder with a 4-story rain forest, aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum all under a 2.5 acre living roof. But get a move on, because you've made a booking at a prohibition-era inspired speakeasy. Bourbon and Branch sits behind a nondescript door at 501 Jones Street, but you won't get in without a password previously gained by booking online. Yes it's all a bit theatrical, but the 1920's atmosphere and amazing cocktails are worth it.

Day two and you're up early to grab breakfast on-the-go at Fisherman's Wharf. Kill some time waiting for the ferry to Alcatraz by munching on fresh Sourdough or steaming hot Dungeness crab; take your breakfast over to Pier 39 where the seals will be lounging on the docks. Over on the 'Rock' there's more to see than the prison made famous by inmates like Al Capone and Robert 'The Birdman' Stroud. The island is an important wildlife sanctuary with thousands of sea birds, and Civil War-era buildings that point to a much earlier 19th Century history. The trip out and back affords lovely views of the Golden Gate Bridge and if you're feeling up to it a bike tour across is a memorable excursion.

In the afternoon check out Alamo Square to see the iconic 'Painted Ladies', Victorian terraces that miraculously survived a raging fire sparked off by the devastating 1906 earthquake. With the day drawing to a close head to Union Square, which is a mecca for fashion, theatre and dining. Then after a show climb aboard one of the city's treasured cable cars for a rambling, atmospheric farewell to a memorable stopover.

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