The Stairways of San Francisco

San Francisco is built on 49 hills – not just ordinary slopes, but tall steep inclines. Yet the city’s early planners and developers chose to lay out the roads in a grid pattern, paying no heed to contours. This resulted in some very steep streets, causing problems...

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The Historic Houses of Alamo Square, San Francisco

One of the pleasures of San Francisco is its historic architecture. Of course, the city is full of the impressive modern buildings that you’d expect in any American city. However there are also rows of well preserved Victorian houses. They seem to be everywhere, on...

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Going Japanese in San Francisco

The links between San Francisco and Japan stretch back to the end of the 19th century, when the first emigrants arrived in the city. Today San Francisco has the largest remaining Japantown area in the US. And in 1957 it strengthened its relationship with Japan by...

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Sculpture and Art on New York’s High Line

Even on a cold winter’s day New York’s High Line is a popular place. It is somewhere to escape from the noise and the traffic, a peaceful spot where you can enjoy the fresh air and the plants. With the added bonus of outdoor art and sculpture as you walk through the...

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Unicorns and Abbeys at the New York Cloisters Museum

I’d heard about the Cloisters Museum long before I ever went to New York. This is the home of a series of medieval unicorn tapestries; unicorns have been a mild obession of mine ever since I discovered the Cluny tapestries in Paris. But I soon found that there is far...

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History and Margaritas at El Pueblo de Los Angeles

One of the things I love about California is the profusion of different cultures: Chinese, Japanese and, of course, Mexican. I also take a perverse delight in ferreting out historical sites among the glass and concrete of the gleaming modern cities. So it’s no...

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A Walk up San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill

San Francisco is good for developing the leg muscles. We had already walked up Powell Street (long and steep) and back down the hill past Chinatown and towards Levi’s Square. Now we were at the bottom of Telegraph Hill, looking up at an endless flight of wooden...

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Exploring San Francisco’s Chinatown

I always like to wander through the Chinatown area of large cities, enjoying the vibrancy, the bright colours and, of course, the food. So the Chinatown in San Francisco was not to be missed; this is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in the US....

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