San Francisco

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Golden Gate Bridge, Visit San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, © Can Stock / upthebanner

Visit San Francisco – Cable Car Ride

When you visit San Francisco, nothing beats the experience of hanging out the side of a moving Cable Car Ride.  Old timers can remember the days when cars didn’t have seat belts and you traveled about unrestricted.  Catch the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from San Francisco International Airport and get off at the Powell Street Station for your cable car ride.  Take the Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Powell Street Cable Car, Visit San Francisco

Powell Street Cable Car

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf – including nearby Pier 39, the Maritime National Historic Park, the Aquarium of the Bay, the Embarcadero waterfront street and the sea lions. If you walk far enough on the Embarcadero you will reach the Ferry Building Marketplace.  The earlier you arrive the fewer tourists there are to compete with for space.  Catch the Alcatraz ferry from Pier 33 to the island known as “the Rock”, where Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly were held in prison.  Today the penitentiary is closed and the site is a tourist attraction.  Also walk up Russian Hill and then back down the twists and turns of one-way Lombard Street.

Fisherman's Wharf, Visit San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf

Golden Gate Bridge

Visit the Presidio at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then cross the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the viewpoint at the north end of the bridge.  Continue on to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with views back to the bridge and the city.

North Beach Area

Enjoy Italian food in North Beach.  See Saints Peter & Paul Church and the Coit Tower with its murals and its city views.  Then descend all 400 steps of the Stairs of Telegraph Hill and watch for wild parrots on the way down.

Saints Peter and Paul Church, Visit San Francisco

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Visit San Francisco – Famous Hills

Make a visit San Francisco’s famous hills – the mansions of Nob Hill, the older downtown area on Russian Hill, the wealthy district of Pacific Heights, the Stairs of Telegraph Hill, the city views from Twin Peaks and the cross on top of Mount Davidson.

Lombard Street, Visit San Francisco

Lombard Street

Visit San Francisco – Hotels

Painted Ladies, Alamo Square, Visit San Francisco

Painted Ladies, © Can Stock / slickspics

Visit San Francisco – More Sights

  • the Transamerica Pyramid – the most photographed building in the city.
  • The Painted Ladies – Victorian housing with a city view backdrop.  Easily viewed from Alamo Square Park.
  • Chinatown – the largest of its kind.
  • the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre – built in 1915, find the Exploratorium here too.
  • Golden Gate Park – in the city, not at the Golden Gate.  It includes the Conservatory of Flowers
  • Ocean Beach – directly on the open Pacific.  Enjoy the patio at the Cliff House and at the same location, visit Camera Obscura.
  • Watch the San Francisco Giants play baseball and see if a home run will make it into the waters of the bay.  Watch the 49ers play football.
Coit Tower, Visit San Francisco

Coit Tower

Museums and Galleries

Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoint, Visit San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoint

Sights near San Francisco:

  • Take a day trip to the Muir Woods for its Redwoods
  • Visit Sausilito, Monterey & the coast at Carmel.
  • Tour the wine country of Sonoma & the Napa Valley.
  • Take a 50 mile circle tour of the bridges – Golden Gate, Richmond – San Rafael Bridge and the Bay Bridge.  Add on the lengthy San Mateo bridge at the south end of the bay for even more miles.
  • Take a multi-day trip to Yosemite.
Alcatraz from Fisherman's Wharf, Visit San Francisco

Alcatraz from Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco Weather

The best time to visit San Francisco for good weather is the summer.  San Francisco weather is a cool Mediterranean climate.  Highs in the summer are around 68 F (20 C) and lows are 55 F (13 C) with very little rainfall.  Winters highs are around 60F (16C) with a rainy season from November to March.  The catch phrase “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” is often attributed to Mark Twain, but he never actually said it.

Pier 39 Sea Lions, Visit San Francisco

Pier 39 Sea Lions

Get to San Francisco

The main way to get to San Francisco is the international airport.  The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) makes access between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and downtown a breeze.  Get off the BART at the Powell Street Station to can catch a famous cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Visit San Francisco – Background

San Francisco is also called San Fran.  It’is best known for the Golden Gate Bridge and the traditional cable cars operating on its steep hillsides.  About 7 million people live in the city.  The Spanish arrived in 1769, but San Francisco experienced a big population boom during the California Gold Rush of 1849.  The 1906 San Francisco earthquake is among the worst natural disasters in US history. The quake and related fires destroyed most of the city. During the 1960s the Haight-Ashbury area was a well known destination for hippies.  Today San Francisco is a very liberal city and LGBT flags are displayed prominently, especially along Castro Street.

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