Spent 5 days there after about 10-15 yrs. since last visit, so hardly an expert. Quick impressions:
-Beautiful as ever, especially in sunny May. Vistas EVERYwhere. Architectural surprises everywhere.
-New stuff all the time -- don't miss the DeYoung in Golden Gate Park, esp. view from the tower
-Old stuff is still lovely -- be it Golden Gate Park or the Presidio
-Mass transit is a model for any city. Use the visitor's center near the Powell @ Market crossroads for excellent directions, purchase of passes.
- a great restaurant city, from quick crepes and miso soup to Fisherman's wharf crabs to multi-starred classics
- a great boutique hotel city
- boutique hotels aren't cheap, even if they're plentiful. Look for discounts.
- signage in underground transit is not great, almost impossible to tell from inside a traincar what station you've stopped at.
- maintenance of some things is iffy (although they're working on some of the transit lines). For example, they seem to be arguing about whether to maintain Coit Tower. At the least, they need to cut back the overgrown view-obscuring shrubs and improve the quality of the now-trashy gift shop.
-other than City Lights, a poor bookstore city. A few indies and no Barnes and Noble -- surprising, esp. in Union Sq. area. Go out to Berkeley for books.
No earthquakes while I was there. Sometimes they don't have earthquakes (tongue-in-check icon here).
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