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.