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San Francisco an unsurpassed California gem

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The city of San Francisco never fails to impress. But she’s even prettier at Christmas, with decorations galore and plenty of holiday spirit. The “bridge to bridge view” rooms at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco have stunning vistas, with guests able to take in both the Golden Gate Bridge (in the background here) and the Bay Bridge, with its fantastic lights.

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Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental, located in the financial district, also offer lovely designs and supremely comfortable beds. You’ll also find huge, well-appointed bathrooms and a renowned spa.

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Some of San Francisco’s famous cable cars get gussied up for the holidays.

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Gitane is a fantastic restaurant on Claude Lane, a quiet street with European-style patios in the financial district. Try the black cod or (in season) the persimmon salad with arugula, pomegranate and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

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Office buildings in downtown San Francisco get in the Christmas spirit, too. Check out the towers at the foot of California Street, for sure.

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The Palace of Legion of Honor is a masterful piece of architecture on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate.

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You’ll find gorgeous art work at the Palace of Legion of Honor, including Rodin statues and paintings by the likes of El Greco, Monet and Van Gogh. There’s also ancient Greek and Egyptian works.

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The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco has a walk-in gingerbread house and an enormous Christmas tree in the lobby. The outside is equally colourful.

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You can’t visit San Francisco without taking in the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the architectural marvels of the world. It celebrated its 75th anniversary a couple years ago.

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The views of the Bay Bridge are sensational from behind the Ferry Building on San Francisco’s waterfront. Inside you’ll find delicious local cheese, wine and lots more.

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Tommy’s Joynt is a San Francisco classic, with cheap and filling sandwiches in a fun setting. Try the corned beef on sourdough bread with (naturally) lots of mustard.

1-IMG_0282The Washington Square Inn is a delightful hotel in the North Beach area of San Francisco. They have wine and cheese before dinner and a nice breakfast available. It’s also only a few steps to some of the city’s best dining spots and coffee shops.

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