San Francisco: What's always hot and what is hot - but you may not know it
There are many reasons why San Francisco is consistently listed as one of America's favourite cities - the laidback lifestyle of a city famed for the blossoming of counter culture, food diversity, scenic postcard-worthiness.
Does the city live up to the hype? Some San Francisco classics do. The Golden Gate Bridge emerging from the fog is always a sight to behold no matter how many times you've seen it. Similarly with Alcatraz and its ominous aura.
Magnificent landmarks such as these easily overwhelm other attractions that are capable of adding that extra something to a San Francisco visit.
Here is a sampling:
What's always hot:
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic structures ever. Who hasn't seen it at least in the movies? From The Graduate (1968) to Interview With The Vampire (1994) to The X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), the stunning bridge - which actually isn't golden at all, more like rusty - the 2.7km-long engineering masterpiece makes for one of the most beautiful walks in the country.
Two things to remember when visiting The Alcatraz, which housed America's most hardened and incorrigible criminals: Get hold of the superbly put-together audio guide for the walking tour and always have a jacket with you for the ferry ride to the tourist spot as the Bay Area waters tend to be very cold regardless of what time of the year it is.
The legendary prison's mystique has been enhanced by books and the big screen but still, the experience of visiting it firsthand is an unforgettable one.
Some say the Coit Tower looks like a fire hose nozzle, but aesthetic merits aside, the landmark offers magnificent views of the city.
Once you've ooh-ed and ah-ed for a respectable amount of time at the breathtaking sight, suss out the murals which were commissioned by the federal Works Progress Administration. Painted in 1933, each piece by 30 local artists depicts an aspect of the Great Depression.
What is hot but you may not know it:
Forget Haight Street. Sure, it is famous and all the rage back in the 1960s - but hey, it's no longer the 1960s, in case you haven't realised.
For a taste of present San Francisco, the Mission District is the place. Part of the experimental vibe can be attributed to the eclectic mix of Latinos, whites and Asians.
In San Francisco's oldest neighbourhood, it is not surprising to find sleek bars, vegan cafes, edgy boutiques and dusty thrift shops clustered together.
Hayes Valley is not where you'll find Neiman Marcus or Juicy Couture. Instead, you are more likely to encounter screen-printed tees and vintage items that reflect the inventive indie-designer scene that Hayes Valley is known for.
The world's largest independent record store is located in the Haight. Amoeba Music is an excellent place to find anything music related, boasting one of the largest CD collections in the world.
Golden Gate Park
Step aside, Singapore Botanic Gardens. And New York City's Central Park (amazing as it is).
The Golden Gate Park has one million trees, and its the San Francisco Botanical Garden is 55 acres of land, bragging of more than 7,500 varieties of flora.
Not to be missed also is the Conservatory of Flowers. Step into the Victorian greenhouse and enter a different world where sights will challenge your mind and sensibilities, while enhancing sensations and senses.
Yes, Golden Gate Park will definitely drive nature lovers and fairies wild.
Travelling by plane can be a treat or a disaster, depending on comfort, service and overall cabin ambience. There is a reason why Singapore Airlines is an award-winning airline, it not only ensures the highest standards in these aspects, it also understands that food is essential for a pleasurable flight.
At Singapore Airlines, chefs of global repute are selected to make up the International Culinary Panel, which then painstakingly creates exclusive menu selections for all classes.
The newest member of the Panel, Italian star chef Carlo Cracco, is known as a leader in the new generation of progressive Italian cuisine. He is also the restaurateur of the two Michelin-starred Ristorante Cracco in Milan.
Chef Cracco joins other internationally celebrated chefs on the panel, including Alfred Portale and Suzanne Goin of the United States, Georges Blanc of France, Matthew Moran of Australia, Sam Leong of Singapore, Sanjeev Kapoor of India, Yoshihiro Murata of Japan and Zhu Jun of China.
From Seared Lamb Loin with Salsa Verde to Japanese Style Chargrilled Soya-Flavoured Yakiniku Beef, the variety and skill found in the pages of its menus is a testimony to Singapore Airline's commitment to remain at the forefront of premium airline food and beverage offerings and delighting passengers.