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33 Awesome Things to do in San Francisco for First-Time Visitors

33 Awesome Things to do in San Francisco for First-Time Visitors

San Fransico has many points to do, from strolling throughout the Golden Gate Bridge to riding its famous cord cars and trucks. Dive right into Alcatraz Island’s abundant background, really feel the Mission Murals’ creative pulse, and delight in the epic Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe.

Whether you’re patronizing Union Square or marveling at the creative work of arts in the SFMOMA, the city supplies something for every single vacationer. Join us as we lead you via the leading points to do in San Francisco.

Best Things to Do in San Francisco

Best Things to do in San Francisco Today

There is no question that seeing San Francisco will certainly be an American getaway you’ll bear in mind for several years to find. I understand we did!

San Francisco is among the very best cities in California otherwise among the very best cities in the United States, and intending a journey there is so amazing. Whether you stray via San Francisco’s Chinatown or wish to discover the very best place to check out the famous sky line at sundown, this overview has all the very best points to do in San Francisco.

Getting Around SF

Things to do in San Francisco Getting around

When we initially saw San Francisco, we purchased a hop-on hop-off bus ticket, and it was an excellent method to see all the significant San Francisco tourist attractions quickly.

Book personal your airport terminal transfer to make touchdown at the airport terminal simpler. Enjoy an exclusive transfer straight to your midtown SF Hotel. The city is simple to browse, specifically if you remain someplace main. For a far better concept of where to remain, look into our overview on where to remain in San Francisco.

1. Ride the Cable Cars

best things to do in san francisco ride the cable car

San Francisco’s cord cars and trucks are epic, and no journey would certainly be total without getting on one and doing a city excursion. This excursion is an excellent method to see the city’s leading highlights, consisting of Union Square, Chinatown, Nob Hill, The Italian Quarter, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Details right here.

Cable cars and truck trips are taken into consideration a symbol of the city, and you need to take a trip simply for the experience while seeing. Plus, riding its cord cars and trucks is the very best method to deal with San Francisco’s high hillsides. You’ll discover most tourist attractions in the center of San Francisco.

You don’t require to take a scenic tour to ride the cord cars and trucks; they become part of the city’s transport. The ideal method to navigate San Francisco gets on foot or public transportation. The city’s public transportation system is called Muni. You can pay per specific trip or acquire a Muni Passport, which additionally provides you endless trips on all public transport for a one-three or seven-day duration.

2. Cable Car Museum

best things to do in san francisco cable car museum

Visiting the Cable Car Museum supplies an understanding right into the city’s unique transport system. Location is vital, and the gallery takes the ‘location, location, location’ adage seriously. The gallery neglects the wheel system, and site visitors can stray outside onto the deck to observe the behind the curtain activity of its well-known cord cars and trucks.

The show covers whatever from old classic car from the 1870s to mechanical screens and historic artefacts like black-and-white pictures

3. Walk Lombard Street

best things to do in san francisco lombard street

Lombard Street is called the “crookedest street in the world” and includes 8 barrette transforms. It was developed in the 1920s when the cars and trucks of that time did not have the power to make it up the steepest of hillsides.

To browse through Lombard Street on your own, you can stroll or drive. If you are strolling, think about strolling down Lombard Street instead of up – trust us, your legs will certainly thanks. The road weaves via the area of Russian Hill, which contains high hillsides. Read much more: 16 Great Hikes in San Francisco, California

4. Walk The Golden Gate Bridge

best things to do in sf iconic San Francisco Landmarks The golden gate bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is among one of the most famous sites in the whole globe. Whether remaining for 1 day, 72 hours, or 2 weeks, the Golden Gate Bridge will certainly go to the top of your plan.

The Golden Gate Bridge was developed to attach the city to Marin County throughout the Golden Gate Strait, and today, strolling across is among one of the most preferred points to do. The stroll begins at Vista Point. The ideal method to cross the Golden Gate Bridge gets on a led excursion. This led bike excursion is a 3-hour excursion taking you throughout the bridge and to various other leading San Francisco tourist attractions.

The famous bridge is a huge component of the city sky line. The Bay location around the bridge is so preferred that it is currently taken into consideration a national forest. The location is called Golden Gate National Recreation Area and contains various perspectives and treking routes.

To experience the Golden Gate Bridge stroll throughout it on the pedestrian walkway and head to perspectives for a scenic sight. Marin Headlands is the very best location to see the sundown, while Fort Point is the very best shot for dawn and daybreak.

5. Baker Beach

best things to do in sf bakers beach
Baker’s Beach

Baker Beach is a peaceful, one-mile-long coastline that is peaceful and fantastic for a coastline stroll or a dip in the sea. It additionally has among the city’s ideal sights of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, which covers the bay vertical to the coastline. Even in the extreme noontime light, you’ll be surprised by the sight. Prepare to be wowed completely at sundown and remain enough time to see the bridge and city illuminate.

The coastline obtains crowded (you can’t maintain good ideas a key for lengthy), however don’t allow that quit you from seeing. If anything, the groups make Baker Beach a little bit much safer to go to – specifically at sundown in low-level lights. To arrive, take the 29 Sunset bus or taxi, uber or Lyft. Parking is restricted.

6. Alcatraz Island

best things to do in sf alcatraz

Alcatraz Island is a nationwide historical site and mores than a century old. The infamous island was when among the globe’s most high-security prisons. Alcatraz housed well-known prisoners such as Al Capone and Billy Cook – the Killer.

You can go to the island and excursion the jail, consisting of the cell block.

The jail enclosed 1963, and ever since, it has actually turned into one of the United States’s ideal historic and social tourist attractions. If you enjoy dark background, it is among the very best areas to go to in San Francisco.

There are independent exhibitions to uncover, audio scenic tours, and a led strolling excursion on particular days. The jail is still in exceptional problem, and roaming the cell passages is a spooky glance right into the island’s pre-1960s life. This highly-rated excursion consists of a self-guided sound excursion of Alcatraz Island. Details right here.

7. Fisherman’s Wharf

things to do in sf sea lions

What would certainly a journey to San Francisco lack finding the well-known California sea lions? If you head to Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll discover Pier 39, the preferred place of a huge nest of sea lions. They initially showed up in 1989 and haven’t left considering that.

This is possibly one of the most touristy location of the city, however it is additionally the ideal location to go to if it’s your very first time in the city. Here, you’ll additionally discover the well-known San Francisco clam chowder, tickets for Alcatraz, and visitor experiences like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and The San Francisco Dungeon.

8. Visit San Francisco’s Chinatown

places to visit is san francisco chinatown

San Francisco’s Chinatown is North America’s Oldest Chinatown and is a must-visit. The entry is very easy to discover and is noted by a striking Dragon Gate at Grant Avenue and Bush Street.

This area of task and flurry covers 30 square obstructs where you can involve in Asian society, consume dark amount, do some buying, and absorb its busy environment.

Take a cooking excursion for an immersive experience via the area tasting genuine Chinese food as you walk the slim roads enjoying dark amount, tea, ton of money cookies, and much more.

9. See the Painted Ladies

things to do in san francisco painted ladies

Ready to satisfy some flick celebrities? The Painted Ladies are a row of Victorian homes often utilized as movie collections in flicks and tv collection – Most Notably Full House. But Full House isn’t the only name you’ll acknowledge. Mrs. Doubtifre was additionally the setup of these stunning women.

You can reserve this San Francisco Movie excursion that will certainly take you to famous areas that have actually been seen on the cinema. More than 50 well-known flicks have actually been recorded in San Francisco, and this 3-hour experience includes the Painted women and even more!

The pastel-colored homes lie in the area of Alamo Square Park. And while you cannot get in the Painted Ladies considering that they are personal homes, you can break a lot of pictures from the exterior.

Alamo Square Park lies nearby from the Painted Ladies and has stunning sights of your homes, city and bay. The park is simply off the Hayes Street and Scott Street converge, quickly available by bus from the town hall. The Hop on Hop off Bus additionally drops in this location.

10. Golden Gate Park – De Young Museum

things to do in sf de young fine arts museum

Golden Gate Park covers 1000 acres with galleries, polished yards, and visitor destinations. It necessitates a complete day to see every one of its tourist attractions. From horseback riding to bike leasings, it’s very easy to invest a day taking pleasure in whatever the park needs to provide.

A prize of Golden Gate Park is the De Young Museum, an art gallery. If you desire your art gallery repair, this gallery is among the very best points to do.

The gallery is loaded with modern-day art and historic prizes. You might check out a 13th-century timber sculpture one min and The Obama Portraits Tour the following. De Young Museum is hectic and motivates fast reasoning, incorporating American art and art from Africa and Oceania.

11. Spot the bison at Golden Gate Park

things to do in sf bison

Another amazing point to see in Golden Gate Park is its bison herd at Bison Paddock. The pets are looked after by the San Francisco Zoo, and the paddock is open for participants of the general public to detect the bison over the fencing line. If you are seeing Golden Gate Park, why not make a detour?

The very first bison was given Golden Gate Park in 1891 to recreate the Wild West and help preservation efforts. Thanks to preservation initiatives, bison are no more under hazard of termination.

12. Japanese Tea Garden – Golden Gate Park

things to do in sf japanese tea garden

Fancy a stress-free stroll? Walking via the Japanese Garden is among one of the most peaceful outside tasks in San Francisco. It is additionally the earliest public Japanese yard in the United States. Make certain to quit at the tea home.

Located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, it is a gorgeous location to go to in main San Francisco to take pleasure in the tranquility of a Japanese yard. It is fashionable in the spring when the cherry blooms remain in flower. But also in winter season, the yard has a soothing appeal.

13. Take a San Francisco Bay watercraft excursion

things to do in sf boat tour

On a watercraft excursion, you’ll pass numerous tourist attractions, consisting of the SF Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island. You might select a sundown catamaran excursion with supper or a daytime sightseeing and tour cruise ship with helpful discourse. This Golden Gate Bay Cruise additionally consists of the hippy territory of Sausalito. Make certain to watch out for dolphins and whales.

A terrific method to check out the top San Francisco tourist attractions is to acquire a San Francisco Explorer Pass. Choose 2, 3, 4, or 5 tourist attractions and scenic tours. More information right here.

14. California Academy of Sciences

things to do in sf california academy of sciences

Think scientific research gallery, and after that multiply it by a hundred. The California Academy of Sciences is an unbelievable gallery having a fish tank, planetarium, jungle, and nature gallery worthwhile of investing an entire day (otherwise 2). You can reserve tickets in advance, consisting of entrance to done in eventually at the California Academy of Sciences.

15. Palace of Fine Arts

best things to do in sf palace of fine arts

Don’t miss out on mosting likely to the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco – We caught this appeal at sundown. The Palace is the only continuing to be framework from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

With its Greek-design pillars and skyrocketing main rotunda, the Palace of Fine Arts is spectacular and has actually been included in numerous flicks. The design’s majesty and range make is a picturesque location to unwind and have a barbecue.

16. Have morning meal at North Beach

things to do in sf north beach

North Beach is San Francisco’s ‘Little Italy,’ and the friendliness is unrivaled. You’ll seem like you’ve entered Europe with the outside retro eating. The location has a lot of Italian dining establishments, and it is among the very best areas in San Francisco for night life. The neighborhood faves for morning meal are Nob Hill Café, Caffe Macaroni, and Tosca Café.

Or you can take a walk as you take pleasure in genuine Italian Gelato while purchasing publications at City Lights Bookstore and Publishing or seeing the Beat Museum.

17. Wander the Mission District

mission murals in san francisco

The Mission District is renowned for its magnificent Mission Murals. The ideal areas to see the Mission murals are along Clarion Alley, Caledonia Alley, Balmy Alley, and Horace Alley

As you stray via the area, you’ll experience wall surfaces and streets changed right into vibrant canvases, showcasing spectacular murals that inform tales of heritage, battle, and area.

The major roads of the Mission District are Mission Street and Valencia Street, recognized for its varied variety of dining establishments and stores. Visitors will certainly discover classic garments shops pre-owned documents and book shops most especially Quarius Records, Dog Eared Books, and Borderlands Books.

Plus, the Mission District is identified as an arising hotspot for buying, eating, and night life.

This strolling excursion is an immersive social trip that supplies a unique glance right into the body and soul of the city. The location is additionally recognized for its pre-owned documents and book shops it is a bonanza of fond memories with shops like A

18. City Lights Bookstore

Speaking of Bookstores, City Lights Bookstore is a San Francisco Institution concentrating on globe literary works, the arts, and modern national politics. It was started in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, that left 2 years later on.

The shop obtained popularity complying with the profanity test of Ferlinghetti for posting Allen Ginsberg’s prominent collection “Howl and Other Poels. In 2001, City Lights was assigned a main historical site.

things to do in San Fran Shopping at TreasureFest

TreasureFeast, previously called Treasure Island Flea Market, is hung on the last complete weekend break of monthly. This dynamic occasion changes Treasure Island right into a diverse center of indie crafts, vintages, and live songs.

Launched in 2011 by San Franciscans Angie and Charles Ansanelli, the event was developed to cultivate area participation and emphasize neighborhood ability.

With over 400 neighborhood suppliers, buyers will certainly discover classic products, hand-crafted crafts, and distinct vintages, ready versus the breathtaking background of the San Francisco Bay.

Visitors can additionally take pleasure in a selection of food vehicles, interactive do it yourself workshops, and live songs, developing an immersive experience that envelops the spirit of San Francisco. The occasion’s pet-friendly environment, themed markets, and range of cooking choices make it a wonderful location for all kinds of vacationers.

20. Hayes Valley

Nestled in the heart of San Francisco, Hayes Valley is a dynamic area recognized for its fashionable shops, charming eating, and vibrant art scene. Stroll along Hayes Street to uncover a varied option of fashion-forward stores and specialized shops, ideal for distinct finds.

Food fanatics can relish different cooking thrills, from relaxing cafés to high end dining establishments offering worldwide foods. The location is additionally a social center, home to the San Francisco Jazz Center and a rock’s toss from the prominent SF Symphony and Opera.

Don’t miss out on the Proxy, an exterior room organizing movie testings and food vehicles, providing a preference of the neighborhood area spirit.

21. Shop at Haight Ashbury

haight ashbury sign

Haight-Ashbury arrived mostly because of its function as a main center of the hippie counterculture in the 1950s and 1960s. By the mid-1960s, it had actually ended up being a facility for the hippie motion.

Today, Haight Ashbury is recognized for its distinct shops, unique dining establishments, vintage and retro-themed stores, like the well-known Amoeba Records and Booksmith. The location is additionally recognized for its focus of Victorian homes, vibrant murals, galleries, and art rooms.

22. See the Parrotts Coit Tower

things to do in sf coit tower

Coit Tower is a 210-foot structure offering scenic sights over the San Francisco sky line, plus a home for an approximated group of 400-plus parrots. The parrots don’t simply stay in the tower; they are around the Telegraph Hill area.

You can reach the top of the tower for an affordable entry rate and see the entire city on a clear day. You’ll have the ability to place Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, plus all the high-rises and sky line sites.

The tower was integrated in the 1930s yet stays among the very best perspectives in SF. You might additionally wish to check out: The Ultimate San Francisco Photography Guide

23. Ferry Building Marketplace

ferry building market

Ferry Building is an interior craftsmen grocery store. If you wish to get morning meal or lunch on the move, you actually can’t discover anywhere much better. Once a substantial public transportation structure, it is currently a location for neighborhood suppliers and farmers to offer their natural and hand-crafted fruit and vegetables.

The market supporters for local and standard manufacturing – developing a solid feeling of area while maintaining neighborhood background and way of livings. Grab a mug of Joe at Blue Bottle Coffee and take pleasure in reading the stores. The Saturday Farmers Market is the very best time to go to.

24. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

things to do in San Fran MOMA

Step right into the World of Wonder at SFMOMA: A San Francisco Must-See for Art Aficionados. As among the city’s premier locations, SFMOMA is home to an incredible variety of over 33,000 art work, incorporating a varied variety of modern-day and modern items.

From stunning setups to provocative paints and sculptures, the gallery provides jobs by renowned musicians like Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol.

25. Asian Art Museum

places to visit in sf asaian art museum

For those that enjoy the arts, the Asian Art Museum consists of over 18,000 Asian art work and is among the globe’s biggest collections. The exhibits are vibrant and amazing, utilizing a selection of tools, consisting of video clip, timeless canvases, and gems.

26. San Francisco Botanical Garden

Things to do in San Francisco Botanical Garden

Visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden is a beautiful method to get away the city. The 55-acre yard has 8,000 blossom selections, consisting of indigenous and global plants. Visitors can check out from a delicious yard to a towering Redwood grove, going by African calla lilies.

You’ll discover the Great Meadow & Fountain Plaza and Redwood Grove in the yards. The arboretum’s Redwood Grove supplies a peek of these impressive trees for those that can’t go to the Redwood National Forest or John Muir Woods.

Plus, the yard has the biggest collection of Magnolia trees beyond China, with the very best watching time from mid-December via March.

27. Lands End Lookout

things to do in sf lands end

This location is called Lands End due to the fact that it lies actually at the end of all land to the west, as its high cliffs finish at the base of the Pacific Ocean. Here, you’ll discover Ocean Beach, where sophisticated internet users display their abilities.

Its waves are infamously big and improper for swimmers because of harmful currents however sunbathers can securely see the activity from the coast. On a clear day, the walkers can see much right into the midsts of the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Marin Headlands to the north, and the Golden Gate Bridge to the eastern.

The historical Sutro Baths and Park at the Lands End Main Parking Lot will certainly additionally be located. The Sutro Baths are just one of the very best areas for digital photography, where you’ll discover San Francisco’s Heart. A rock development in the form of a heart.

Besides the Sutro Baths, various other perspectives consist of the Eastern Coastal Trail Lookout, Lands End Labyrinth, and Dead Man’s Point.

28. Angel Island

best things to do in sf angel island

Angel Island is among our preferred San Francisco points to do. The island was when a migration terminal (like Ellis Island in New York), and an army base. Visiting right here supplies a gorgeous 360-degree sight of the city and the Bay Area.

The island is currently a state park rupturing with routes, plant, and San Francisco’s background. It is the 2nd biggest island in SF Bay and is comfortably situated, making it a superb field trip.

It has a lot of all-natural appeal along with historic structures to check out. The island is a best alternative if you desire a tour from the CBD.

To browse through, capture a ferryboat from Fisherman’s Wharf. You can after that select to check out individually or acquire a led strolling excursion.

29. Mission Dolores Park

what to do in sf misson dolores park

This 16-acre park is among one of the most preferred parks in San Francisco. It has whatever: a football area, tennis courts, a basketball court, and constant social occasions.

It has fantastic sights of the bay, and the park has rather of a social and historic stamp. Mission Dolores Park has several monoliths, such as the Mexico Liberty Bell and Miguel Hidalgo Statue.

And, with all the social occasions like celebrations and songs efficiencies, it deserves examining to see if anything of rate of interest accompanies your browse through. Who recognizes? Maybe you’ll strike fortunate. Plus, the environment will certainly be unrivaled, also if you don’t understand any kind of entertainers.

30. Watch a Giants video game at Oracle Park

Things to do in San Francisco Watching a Giants game at Oracle Field

What is much more American than baseball? The San Francisco Giants are a leading baseball group in the Major League with an intense complying with throughout the United States.

Whether or otherwise you are a sporting activities follower, seeing a baseball video game at Oracle Park is among one of the most amazing and climatic points to do in SF.

A baseball video game is a superb method to value the American (and San Franciscan) spirit.

The big league baseball period usually ranges from April to October, much longer if they make the playoffs. It deserves examining to see if a video game accompanies your browse through or considering it when reserving your journey.

31. Hike Up Twin Peaks

things to do in sf twin peaks

Twin Peaks is among the very best walking routes in the city for magnificent city sights of the bay. It is a greatly trafficked loophole path, and you can drive or cycle as much as the hunt.

It is the second-highest height in San Francisco (922-foot high ) that neglects the whole Bay Area and the city’s sites.

The trek really feels far from the city, with woodland routes, eucalyptus trees, rough outcrops, wood sidewalks and dust courses taking you as much as Eureka Peak and Noe Peak.

32. Visit the Buena Vista Cafe

Visiting the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco

As the birth place of the American variation of Irish Coffee, the Buena Vista Cafe supplies a wonderful mix of abundant coffee, smooth Irish scotch, and luscious covering, developing an extraordinary preference experience.

Savoring this famous drink isn’t nearly taking pleasure in a beverage; it’s about belonging to an ageless San Francisco custom. The coffee shop’s relaxing, inviting environment and scenic city sights create the ideal background to appreciate this timeless mixture.

33. Attend the Stern Grove Festival

Attending the Stern Grove 
Festival in San Francisco

The Stern Grove Festival is a collection of cost-free carrying out arts occasions held each summertime. Established in 1938, it happens in the picturesque Sigmund Stern Grove, a eucalyptus-wooded all-natural amphitheater regarding 2 miles southern of Golden Gate Park. The event covers a 33-acre website from 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard to 34th Avenue.

Since its inaugural performance on July 10, 1938, carried out by the Bay Region Symphony of the Federal Music Project, the event has actually included different efficiencies. In 1943, the San Francisco Ballet carried out at the event for the very first time, coming to be a normal in its summertime schedule.

The event went through improvements in 2004, resuming its 68th period in June 2005.

How to Get to San Francisco

things to do in sf alamo park

San Francisco beings in Northern California, regarding a six-hour drive north of Los Angeles. The city is convenient using air, rail, roadway, and sea. We seen San Francisco on a trip and located driving an excellent method to navigate. You can contrast cars and truck rental costs right here.

The major airport terminal is the San Francisco International Airport, which lies 13 miles from midtown. To obtain midtown, you can take the airport terminal shuttle, taxis, Uber, and Lyft.

Best Time to Visit San Francisco

things to do in sf when to visit

Spring and autumn are San Francisco’s 2 shoulder periods. However, autumn (September to November) has several of the hottest temperature levels and least groups – a win-win.

September is San Francisco’s hottest month and is ideal for walking the city and discovering the very best neighboring treking routes.

San Francisco is a city that matches all periods, however if you desire the very best experience we recommend seeing in the autumn.

At the start of fall, you’ll additionally discover one of the most road fairs and markets in San Francisco. This period contains life and task and has the weather condition to match.

Questions People Also Ask About San Francisco

Questions about San Francisco

Is 2 Days Enough for San Francisco?

Two days in San Francisco can be enough to see several of its highlights, however it won’t enable a detailed expedition of the city. With a tactical plan, you can go to well-known sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz Island.

What is the Number One Attraction in San Francisco?

The Golden Gate Bridge is commonly taken into consideration the primary destination in San Francisco. This famous suspension bridge is a wonder of modern-day design and supplies awesome sights of the San Francisco Bay and the city sky line.

How Can I Spend a Few Days in San Francisco?

A couple of days in San Francisco can be invested discovering a mix of its well-known tourist attractions and neighborhood experiences:

Day 1: Visit the Golden Gate Bridge, check out the neighboring Golden Gate Park, and see the Painted Ladies. Spend the night in the lively areas of the Haight-Ashbury or the Mission District. Day 2: Take a ferryboat to Alcatraz Island in the early morning. In the mid-day, browse through Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. You might additionally check out Chinatown and Union Square.

San Francisco is preferred for its varied society, famous sites, and stunning all-natural landscapes. It’s recognized for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, cord cars and trucks, and lively areas like Chinatown and Castro.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

We have a whole write-up damaging down the very best areas and resorts for every single budget plan and site visitor. You can review it right here. Where to Stay in San Francisco – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods

San Francisco is an unbelievable United States vacation location. The city is among America’s most preferred visitor locations and has a mythological, epic attraction. With its first-rate galleries, amazing buying, and eating at whatever from a lasting fish and shellfish dining establishment to taking pleasure in among the city’s well-known celebrations, San Francisco quickly measures up to its big track record.

Plan your journey to California with these traveling overviews.

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