7 reasons why San Francisco's a winner

By Brandon Griggs and Melonyce McAfee, CNNPublished 17th October 2014
Oh, San Francisco. It's almost not fair.
It's not enough that you have spectacular views, rich culture, delicious food, a legacy of great music, cable cars and one really cool bridge.
Now your Giants are back in the World Series for the third time in the last five seasons. Really? Come on. This embarrassment of riches is just one more reason for the rest of us to envy you.
And maybe plan a visit. Because -- who are we kidding? -- if we could afford it, many of us would love to live in San Francisco, or at least swing by more often. Some of us even left our hearts there.
As the Giants prepare to face the upstart Kansas City Royals on baseball's big stage next week, here are just a handful of reasons why San Francisco is already a winner.
Giants in their field
For all their recent success, it's hard to dislike the Giants. They've got Buster Posey, the aw-shucks MVP catcher who may be the West Coast's answer to Derek Jeter. They've got a chubby player whose nickname is Kung Fu Panda. They've got another called The Freak.
They also play in one of the most scenic ballparks in the majors, with its bay views and fleets of kayakers beyond right field, hoping for a waterlogged home run.
The Giants won it all in 2010, and again in 2012. If this even-numbered pattern keeps up, the Royals are in trouble.
City by the Bay
Fisherman's Wharf. Ghirardelli Square. Coit Tower. Golden Gate Park. The Haight. Nob Hill. San Francisco's landmark attractions, and neighborhoods, are almost too numerous to name. But the jewel in the city's glittering crown has got to be its singular location on a hilly peninsula surrounded by dramatic water views.
Where else can you take a boat ride past arguably the nation's most magnificent bridge (the Golden Gate) and most infamous prison (Alcatraz), set against a glittering city skyline and a backdrop of mountains?
Hollywood north
Yes, the movie industry is headquartered eight hours' south in Los Angeles, but a trip to San Francisco will satisfy even the most passionate film buff.
Fans of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" can view the Dante Building at 1606 Stockton Street, where the rifle-toting "Scorpio killer" staked out a rooftop. Visit Fort Point, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, to see where Kim Novak jumps into the bay in Hitchcock's "Vertigo," or retrace Steve McQueen's classic car chase down the city's streets in "Bullitt."
Younger moviegoers may want to follow in Robin Williams' heeled footsteps by strolling past the ornate Victorian home, at 2640 Steiner Street in Pacific Heights, where parts of "Mrs. Doubtfire" were shot.
San Francisco treats
Once you get past the Rice-A-Roni jokes, and the sourdough bread and the Ghirardelli chocolate (go ahead, we'll wait), you'll find a vibrant food scene highlighted by fresh seafood, Pacific Rim accents and the still-pervasive influence of Bay Area farm-to-table pioneer Alice Waters.
For a smorgasbord of fresh flavors visit the Ferry Building, where you'll find purveyors of artisanal ice cream and olive oil and a bustling farmers market on weekends. Or splurge in one of the city's finer restaurants, from State Bird Provisions (contemporary American) to Flour + Water (Italian) to Traci des Jardins' new Commissary (Spanish-Californian) at the Presidio.
Welcome, one and all
From the Summer of Love to the gay-rights movement and beyond, San Francisco has long been a bastion of tolerance. The city encourages people to be themselves, and eccentricity is welcome.
Look no further than the Bay to Breakers, an annual 7-mile footrace/carnival/street happening where runners cross the city wear wacky costumes or sometimes even nothing at all. One race-day tradition has runners tossing tortillas at each other while waiting to cross the starting line.
Music
The city's hippie culture that flourished during the 1960s gave birth to some of the most recognizable music the world has ever known. From Jefferson Airplane to the Grateful Dead, the city nurtured many beloved folk, rock and psychedelic bands and supported other acts that passed through to play at the legendary Fillmore.
Back in the day, that iconic concert hall, with promoter Bill Graham, hosted such world-class artists as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
And from "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by crooner Tony Bennett to Journey's "Lights (When the Lights Go Down in the City)," San Francisco's beauty has inspired many a love song.
Lombard Street
You've probably seen it in pictures or movies: the serpentine block of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth that's sometimes called the "crookedest street in the world."
Hop in a car, pop some Dramamine and then zig-zag through eight sharp downhill turns for an iconic San Francisco experience. As long as you drive under 5 mph, you shouldn't be too concerned about the 27-degree slope.
Those who would rather keep their brakes intact can walk down the street -- or up, if you're feeling energetic -- on a railed staircase. Or for a lower-stress experience, just climb on the Powell-Hyde cable car line and enjoy the views with your hands free to take photos.
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