Magazine article The World and I

San Francisco for Mind and Heart

Magazine article The World and I

San Francisco for Mind and Heart

Article excerpt

There's little doubt that San Francisco ranks among the most popular American cities as a vacation destination. With justification, it's famous for fine dining, luxury hotels and its life styles, ranging from elegant to downright bizarre.

Add to those elements is a variety of outstanding attractions, many of which are currently undergoing major changes to make them even more special to the out of town visitor.

Take the legendary Pier 39, as an example. It has been a feature along San Francisco Bay for generations, but continues to be a favorite. It where those dozens of sea lions swim about barking or sliding in and out of the water to bask on floats provided. These animals, some weighing up to 850 pounds, live off food they catch in the Bay; they are not to be fed. It's against the law. The Pier itself is the base for a fleet of 19 vessels that take visitors on sightseeing cruises. Then there are two levels of shopping and 14 full service restaurants.

Add to all that activity now is the just opened "7D Experience" Located in a 20-seat theater, it provides participants to engage in all sorts of laser-based games, all in the latest 3D technology. In all, what began as a simple pier is now a 45-acre waterfront complex.

While San Francisco isn't necessarily a large city, its many attractions are spread out. Getting to them and gaining admission is made easy through the use of what's called a City Pass. This is a coupon book that costs $96. or $69 for children but gives users up to $174. in value, along with convenience.

Among its features: unlimited rides on the city's famous cable cars plus Muni trolleys for seven consecutive days, a one hour Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, and entrance to four museums.

Exhibitions at the various San Francisco museums are anything but dull. Each features many hands-on or interactive displays and experiences found in few, if any, such institutions around the country.

One of these is on display now at the Asian Art Museum. It's called the "Emperors' Treasures" and is rated as the "best of the best." It consists of a "rare treasure trove" of prized possessions--paintings, ceramics, jades--from the National Palace Museum of Teipei, Taiwan. It presents more than 150 artworks from the celebrated Taiwan collection, more than half of which will be on view in the U.S. for the first time. The exhibition opens June 17 and continues until Sept. 18.

While spectacular, that Chinese exhibition isn't the only one sure to fascinate lovers of Asian art. From April 29-Oct. 23 will be 25 objects on display in the U. …

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