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Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: This spring relatives from Italy will be visiting us. San Francisco is one of the city's they wish to visit. It'll be my first trip there. Where can I get more info?

A: First off, don't be surprised if your relatives break into the old song, "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" because this coastal city with its famous trolley cars somehow leaves visitors with a soft spot and dare I say a bit of nostalgia.

On my last count, $1-dollar American cost $1.55 Canadian. Just be mindful of the currency exchange. A traveller I know recently commented on the city's high prices.

Since you'll be in San Francisco soon, be sure to drop by the city's newly renovated information centre located at 900 Market Street, on the lower level of Hallidie Plaza. The hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on weekends.

You're also in luck as far as the Italian language because the staff is multilingual and can provide assistance in 13 languages. So, if your cousin wants to visit the infamous Alcatraz prison where tours are conducted daily, they can ask away.

A plethora of free publications is also available here. One magazine called "Chaperon," includes maps, tourist information and travellers' tips.

According to an official at the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB), the San Francisco CityPass, a booklet of prepaid admission tickets, is "selling like crazy." Included here are tickets to six attractions plus seven days unlimited use of the Muni public transportation for $33.75 (US).

If you wish to visit Alcatraz, you must purchase your CityPass in advance through the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise. Their phone number is (415)705-5555. There is a $2.25 convenience fee for this service.

For more tourism-related information, the SFCVB has a toll-free phone number available across North America. Contact: 1-888-782-9673.

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