255 Columbus Ave., corner Jack Kerouac Alley, tel. (415) 362-3370
The Vesuvio Café is one of the city's few still-standing former beatnik hangouts. It's well worth a visit, if only to raise a glass in memory of Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg.
between Hyde St. and Leavenworth St.
Located on the slope of Russian Hill, Lombard Street is the world's most winding one-way street and features no less than eight hairpin turns to help vehicles tackle the steep 27% slope.
Immortalized in several movies, Alcatraz is the famous San Francisco Bay island that owes its notoriety to the maximum security prison that once held the worst criminals in the United States. Visitors can now take part in interesting guided or self-guided tours of the premises.
Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St.
Designed by architect Bernard Maybeck, the Palace of Fine Arts is the only pavilion of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exhibition that was not destroyed after the event.
3601 Lyon St., tel. (415) 397-5673
The Exploratorium is located next to the Palace of Fine Arts and is one of the United States' best science museums.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge was once considered impossible to build. Others maintained it would ruin the scenery. Before its construction began, no one, aside from a few silent visionaries, thought the Golden Gate Bridge would ever be realized-much less that it would become the city's most recognized emblem.
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin St., tel. (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org
This museum is home to the largest American collection of Asian art.
Golden Gate Park Attractions
Designed in 1894 for the California Midwinter International Exposition, the Japanese Tea Garden is decorated with bonsai trees, ponds and a pagoda where visitors are served tea by Japanese women draped in brightly coloured kimonos.
The Golden Gate Park also boasts two major museums: the California Academy of Science and the de Young Museum.
Lincoln Park is a lush golf club that offers superb views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It includes a magnificent museum, the Legion of Honor (tel. 415-750-3600, www.famsf.org).
Yerba Buena Gardens
Finally inaugurated in 1993, the superb Yerba Buena Gardens were the result of many years of hard work that began around 1955.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third St., tel. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org
Founded in 1871, inaugurated in 1935 and finally moved to a new venue designed by architect Mario Botta in 1995, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has revitalized the SoMa district.