San Francisco

San Francisco - Cable Car

San Francisco is a lively, multicultural and extremely welcoming city.  Located on the pacific coast in central California, it has a pleasant climate with its ocean breezes and mild temperatures.  San Francisco is a city of diversity, not only in its people but in its sights.  With so many things to see and do in San Francisco a great way to efficiently see the city is by Hop On/Hop Off Tour Buses.  Some companies tickets are good for two days which is added value.

Things you MUST see/do:

 Golden Gate Bridge – The majestic architectural feat at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.  It is an early example of a suspension bridge.  With its two towers and orange colour, it is a beacon in the San Francisco skyline.  As one of the most famous bridges around the world, no visit to San Francisco is complete without a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate Park – The beautiful Golden Gate Park in the heart of San Francisco is actually larger in size than Central Park in New York City.  Visitors and locals alike can be found enjoying the park’s many activities throughout the year.  You can easily spend a whole day exploring the walking paths, bike trails, or relaxing around the small lake in the center of the park.  Other attractions in the park if you are willing to pay for entrance include the Japanese tea gardens, the Carousel, the De Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences.

Alcatraz Island –The island made famous by its prison in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  Sometimes referred to as “The Rock“, it housed criminals from 1933 to 1963.  Boat tours to the island and tours of the island are available.

Fisherman’s Wharf /Pier 39/Ghirardelli Square – A great place to spend the afternoon making sure to grab some chocolate or ice cream from Ghirardelli Square.  Make sure to have some fresh seafood at the local food stands right at Fisherman’s Wharf for  a delicious and budget friendly meal.  Pier 39 is a location for the some great souvenir shopping.  If you enjoy seeing wildlife, take a stroll to the end of Pier 39 to catch a glimpse of the local sea lions sunning themselves on the floating docks.

Haight-Ashbury –A district of San Francisco made up of eclectic shops and buildings located just outside the city center.  It was a gathering place of many hippies during the 1960’s.  Many famous people, such as Janis Joplin, called Haight-Ashbury home during this time.

The Seven Sisters at Alamo Park –For those who grew up watching “Full House” on television, this is a sight not to be missed.  These homes were featured in the opening credits of the tv show.  They are a series of seven row houses that are built in the same architectural design located on a hill with downtown San Francisco as a backdrop.  The park across the street is a nice place to shoot a few pictures and spend some time.

Cable Car Museum –After riding a cable car, this museum, located on Nob Hill, is incredibly interesting as you can see the giant machines actually operating the current cable system.  Take a look upstairs to see the history of the cable cars.  Admission is free.

Lombard Street – Don’t miss the one block section that is one of the steepest streets in the world.  At a 27% grade, it has 8 switchbacks so that cars can navigate down Russian Hill.  We suggest taking a cable car to the top of Russian Hill and then walking down Lombard Street.  There are great photo opportunities of the switchbacks at the bottom of the hill.  From here, you can walk into the North Beach area.

Chinatown A great way to take a stroll and check out the elaborate arch ways marking the entrance to Chinatown.

Travels4Couples highly recommended EXPERIENCES:

Hop on a Cable Car –With its steep and narrow streets right in the downtown core, San Francisco was faced with a challenge when it came to transportation early on in its history.  With great ingenuity, the cable car was developed to deal with these challenges.  There are miles and miles of cable running beneath the city pulling these cars along.  Try to catch one of the cable cars at an end point to observe the manual rotation of the cable car before it sets out on its return route to your destination.

Go see a theatrical show – San Francisco is a city that is rich in the arts, though maybe not as well known as New York or London.  If you have an opportunity to see a performance we highly recommend it as we were dazzled by the musical “Wicked” while visiting the city.

Gay Pride Parade – Although this parade only occur s once a year, if you have the opportunity to attend the event it is a worthwhile experience.  As the largest pride parade in North America, there are many other events associated with the weekend celebration.

Breakfast at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe – A well known cafe, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, serving up hearty breakfasts and famous for their pancakes.  Reasonably priced but get there early to avoid the line-up.

Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe – Located in San Francisco’s North Beach area is a quaint cafe serving up delicious Italy inspired sandwiches.  Have a glass of their Italian soda to complement your meal.  The architecture of the building is also interesting as the shop is located between two angled streets giving the cafe a triangular shape.  Seating is limited but you can always get take-out if seats are unavailable and eat in the park across the street.  There is also a great gelato store just up the street.

Travels4Couples #1 ROMANTIC thing to do in San Francisco:

Take a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge – The bridge is in a great romantic setting with views in one direction towards the San Francisco Bay and in the opposite direction the Pacific Ocean.  Across the bridge you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the San Francisco skyline.  From viewpoint to viewpoint you will walk about 2.7 km (1.7 miles).  It can be windy around the Golden Gate Bridge so you may want to bring warmer clothes to layer up.