Old buildings are relics of bygone eras -- three-dimensional structures that can evoke the past through an accessible art form. In the character of a building -- an adobe hut, a Roman column, a castle on a hill -- a whole history can be revealed.
A distinct component of the San Francisco skyline, Coit Tower stands out from the crowd. North of the Financial District's highrises, the 210-foot art deco tower juts into the sky from the top of Telegraph Hill. For many, the highlight of visiting the tower is taking an elevator ride to the top for a wonderful panorama of the city, the bay, and its famous islands and bridges.
In May of 1937, San Francisco's most iconic landmark first opened to traffic. A physical gateway to Marin County and a hallmark of technology and ingenuity -- a legacy which remains in force throughout the Bay Area -- the Golden Gate Bridge represents many things to both locals and tourists.
A national parkland and wildlife sanctuary, the Marin Headlands is home to a variety of important species, from the delicate Mission blue butterfly to the wily and adaptable coyote. Encountering these animals in their natural habitat is a highlight of any visit to the Headlands.
From nature-inspired coastal art to Native American artifacts, Northern California's rich ecology, history, and artistic traditions have been well documented by some of the region's lesser-known museums and cultural centers.
If anyone has the inside scoop on what to do with kids near the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel, it's Janice Pratt -- she and her family live there! Janice and her husband, hostel manager Christopher Bauman, run the place (with a little extra "help" here and there from their two daughters, ages 6 and 9).