The Gold Rush left San Francisco with seedy docks and muddy streets -- but just across the bay, 1860s Oakland offered an orderly, elegant alternative. Alongside a snug harbor, tidy streets were soon flanked with Victorian mansions for the nouveau riche. Today downtown skyscrapers abruptly stop just south of Oakland Convention Center, bowing to the stately Victorians and historic brick storefronts of Old Oakland. The city's best happy-hour spots keep a low profile in well-preserved buildings west of Broadway, and the Pardee Home Museum offers tea and tours of an 1869 mansion with all the Victorian trimmings, from billiards to corsetry. By the 1870s, Chinatown had put down roots east of Broadway, where ramshackle Victorians hunker behind modern storefronts selling authentic Cantonese dim sum, Vietnamese pho, and Cambodian spicy papaya salad.
Getting Around San Francisco
The best way to get around San Francisco is by walking, taxi and public transit. Parking can be expensive ($20-$40 depending on location). Street parking can be difficult to find and is often limited to two hours or less. San Francisco's MUNI operates trolleys, cable cars, and buses throughout the city. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) serves as a major artery of San Francisco as well as several surrounding cities.
Nearby Airports
  • San Francisco International Airport-SFO
  • Oakland International Airport-OAK
  • Mineta San Jose International Airport-SJC
Airport Taxis
  • From SFO-$37
  • From OAK-$50
  • From SJC-$145
Things to Do and See Near Chinatown