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Hello Downtown

Downtown San Francisco is noisy, hectic and brimming with energy. No big surprises there, then. While that might not sound like everyone's cup of tea, the buzz of being slap-bang in the middle of the city might be exactly what you're looking for.

Union Square is a paradise for aspiring fashionistas and window shoppers, overflowing with high-end boutiques and upscale fashion stores. But stop for a minute to take in the history of the square, too. Rallies held here for the Union cause in the American Civil War gave the square its name, in the middle of which stands the impressive Dewey Monument. Paying tribute to Admiral Dewey's victory at the Battle of Manila in 1898, the monument also remembers President McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901.

You'll find plenty of restaurants and classy bars for some evening entertainment, or hop over from Downtown to the ever-bustling Chinatown – the largest in the world outside of Asia – or the quintessential San Francisco neighborhood of Nob Hill. The perfect combination of old, new, and new masquerading as old, Nob Hill oozes retro cool and laid-back living.

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Stories about San Francisco

The Pioneering spirit that never died

The Pioneering spirit that never died

What can you say about San Francisco, a city that shaped and continues to shape the world as we know it? The history of San Francisco is the promise of gold that brought settlers West, until they could go no further; the pioneering spirit has never died. The Flower Power generation, which originated here in the 1960s, shaped modern beliefs; a new generation is defining our virtual world through companies like as Apple and Facebook. In the history of San Francisco is our present: in its past, our future.