Consider permission permanently granted to be outlandish: other towns may surprise you, but in San Francisco you will surprise yourself. Good times and social revolutions tend to start here, from manic gold rushes to blissful hippie be-ins.
Sydney, spectacularly draped around its glorious harbour and beaches, has visual wow factor like few other cities. Scratch the surface and it only gets better. National parks ring the city and penetrate right into its heart. Large chunks of harbour are still bush-fringed, while parks cut their way through skyscrapers and suburbs.