Best Place to Forget the Other 49 States San Francisco 2003 - Coit Tower
The world seems to grow sweeter step by step as you hike to the top of Telegraph Hill. The noise of the city fades away, and you become more aware of birds, flowers, and sky. At the summit, the panorama of the bay, Alcatraz, and Angel Island is transfixing. It remains the best show in town, with only the gentle rustling of trees to break the spell. When you're finally satiated, be a sport and spring for the elevator ($3.75) to the top of the 70-year-old tower. (Don't miss the gorgeous old WPA murals of city life in the '30s on the first floor.) If the crisp breeze and world-class view don't clear your head, brother, nothing will. Yes, Coit Tower lacks a certain solitude during peak tourist season, but the dour economy has deterred the usual hordes. So grab a mocha in North Beach on the way up and a glass of wine on the way down. And if you can't handle the hike up Telegraph Hill, the 39 Coit will motor you all the way to the top.