Above you tower the russet art deco towers of the Golden Gate, and to your right can be seen the parks, lights, and elegant pastels of the city. You turn, and share an impassioned kiss. This is your honeymoon in San Francisco, and it's only just begun!
In the City
This northern California city is one of the most laid-back and welcoming metropolises on Earth, home to history and beauty without equal along the western coast of the United States. Its bohemian lifestyle and creative sensibilities are world-renowned, and the city has been (and continues to be) home to some of the most prestigious artists and poets in the world.
Since the 1960s, the city┬?s Haight-Ashbury district has been a focus for all things artistic, and this trend continues today, though the area┬?s street poets and musicians have been supplemented by trendy skate shops and extensive used clothing stores. City Lights Bookstore, on Columbus Avenue, was a nexus for the Beat poetry movement, and continues to one of the city's most popular cultural shopping stops. Additionally, be sure to check out Amoeba Music on Haight Street, considered by many to be the country's finest store for recorded music.
Just across the street from Amoeba, you'll find Golden Gate Park, an incredible tapestry of fern dells, arboretums, bike and bridal paths, and an incredible Japanese Tea Garden, all of which are open to the public on a daily basis.
If you're an art lover, be sure to make a stop at the nearby M.H. de Young Museum, which moved to a gorgeous location inside the park in 2005, just to the east of the Tea Garden. From Native American, African, and Pacific Island cultures, and the western traditions of the 17th through 20th centuries, you'll see the work of some of the world's most talented artists, artisans, and photographers - everything from Mayan pictographs to furniture of the American Revolution to Japanese woodblock prints, in addition to an extensive gallery of extraordinary paintings.
For those seeking a more modern approach to art and creativity, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on Third Street offers intriguing exhibits with contemporary flair. A warning, however - if you don't consider yourselves to be avant garde, the MOMA can be frustratingly dull and decidedly unromantic! If your artistic tastes are a bit more carefree, consider a trip to the Cartoon Art Museum on Mission Street, a showcase for all things animated since 1984.
While you're downtown, be sure to take a ride on one of the city's classic trolleys - what could be more romantic than sailing up and down the hills of San Francisco together, smelling the sweetly singed wood from the traditional wooden brakes of the cable cars? San Francisco's Chinatown begins at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Bush Street, marked by an enormous dragon-themed archway and impressive stone lions, and can provide a wild afternoon of sights, smells, and colors.
If shopping tickles your fancy, a trip to the Embarcadero, from Clay and Battery to Drum and Sacramento Streets features over one hundred shops, forty restaurants, and plenty of diversion. The Cannery, at Leavenworth and Beach, is home to great shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and street performers, all housed in a renovated peach packing plant.
Chocolate lovers will find the cure for a sweet tooth at Ghirardelli Square, bounded by North Point, Polk, Beach, and Larkin Streets, a haven for chocoholics since 1864 with free outdoor entertainment playing daily. And, of course, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to world-famous Alcatraz Prison, the island in the east bay renowned for incarcerating gangsters like Al Capone.
Where to Stay, Where to Eat
San Francisco is home to some of the world's finest hotels. From the Ritz-Carlton on Nob Hill to the Mandarin Oriental, which occupies the top floor of the city's tallest building (offering incredible views!), you're sure to find luxurious accommodations in the financial district. For those on a more conservative budget, there are affordable lodgings readily available in most parts of the city.
If you┬?re looking for great food, The City's got it! Postrio, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, features intensely flavorful American cuisine, and Aqua, the city's best seafood house, offers a relaxed and elegant atmosphere and affordable lunch menus.
Even with all of this to see, your trip to San Francisco is only beginning. Beyond the city, you'll find incredible beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore, verdant redwood forests at nearby Muir Woods, the breathtaking coastal scenery of Highway 1 both north and south, and access to the Sonoma and Napa Valley wine lands, just an hour's drive away. San Francisco has an incredible variety of experience to offer for you and your sweetheart. As you take your first steps into married life, why not try this elegant coastal city on for size?