San Francisco Attractions
• Lombard Street. The (nearly) twistiest street in America, between Hyde & Leavenworth (a similar street is located along Vermont Street, next to McKinley Square in the Potrero district). You can get a view from it on the Powell & Mason cable car line.
• 22nd St. Between Vicksburg and Church and Filbert St. between Leavenworth and Hyde - At a 31.5% grade, these streets share the honor of steepest streets in San Francisco.
• Alcatraz. Decommissioned island prison in the bay. Take a tour and listen to an audio tape in English, Japanese, Chinese or other languages. The most interesting aspect of the tour is that you can go into the prison and see what it is like to be imprisoned. It might be more interesting if you've watched the movie "Escape from Alcatraz" and seen what happened in Alcatraz when it was operating as a prison. National Park Service webpage . Tickets for the Ferry to Alcatraz are available at Blue And Gold Fleet webpage . Book Alcatraz Ferry Tickets combined with many other popular sightseeing tours and activities. BuyAlcatrazTours.com webpage
• Angel Island . Island in the bay that housed Asian immigration (exclusion) camp, becoming the "Ellis Island of the West". Ferry over and rent a bicycle or walk around this beautiful island that is now a park.
• Golden Gate Park. The biggest park in the city, with windmills, bison, museums, and a carousel hidden among its charms. Muni bus #5 goes along its northern boundary.
• Coit Tower. Built in 1933 on top of Telegraph Hill, a former signaling point for sailing ships, Coit Tower is dedicated to the San Francisco firefighters. Its shape is reminiscent of a fire nozzle. At 250' high, it is a healthy hike from the Embarcadero (steps at Greenwich and Montgomery) or from North Beach. Muni bus #39 goes from Washington Square to the top.
• Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks Boulevard (north of Portola Drive, just east of O'Shaughnessy). The small parking area at the northern tip of Twin Peaks Boulevard (875' above sea level) has the best view of San Francisco and the Bay Area that you can get within the city limits. Not many services, and the tour buses can get backed up here during the day, but it's a great place to really appreciate the City from above. Temperatures up there can be quite a bit lower than in the rest of the city, so bring a jacket. Muni bus #37, a scenic ride from the Haight-Ashbury or Castro and Market streets, gets you close, so you only have to climb about 120' up.
• Treasure Island. A human-made island half-way between San Francisco and Oakland connected to Yerba Buena Island which the Bay Bridge passes through (The widest tunnel in the world). Excellent views of San Francisco & Oakland skylines can be had from driving around this recently deactivated Navy station. Accessible by Muni bus line 108.
• Mission District. Containing one of the oldest structures in the City - the Mission Dolores Church - as well as superb City views from Dolores Park, the Mission is an offbeat tourist destination where Hispanic families mingle with Hipster night-owls, artists, lesbians and just about every one else in this eclectic neighborhood. The walls of many buildings are painted with a fantastic collection of murals about Mexican culture.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County with San Francisco in background
Highway 101 N (from Park-Presidio or Lombard Street entrance), +1 415-921-5858 - Open 24 hours, occasionally closed Sunday morning for events. $5 (toll driving south into San Francisco; free on foot or bike)
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the United States, and has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The bridge spans the Golden Gate, a strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north, and is one of the major road routes into and out of the city.
Vehicular traffic in both directions share a single deck; yellow pylons are used to allot lanes to one direction or the other depending on traffic conditions. Observation areas and parking lots are provided on both the north and south sides of the bridge; the best way to enjoy the bridge is to park and walk across, not least because you don't have to pay a toll. Note that winds are high and it can be cold and foggy; dress appropriately. Bikes can also be difficult to navigate in the high winds and narrow pathway.
The masterwork of architect Joseph B. Strauss, whose statue graces the southern observation deck, the bridge took seven years to build, and was completed on May 27, 1937. Not actually golden in color -- a common misconception -- the bridge is painted a deep red-orange. Erroneous legend has it that the bridge is continuously painted, with crews starting at one end and, on getting to the other end, turning around and starting over again. In fact, the bridge is only painted once every few years, with some touchup done continuously.
At Steiner and Hayes, it has the famous Painted Ladies row of Victorian houses on its east side, but many other pretty Victorians throughout its surroundings. The Hayes street Muni bus #21 goes along its south side. If you enjoy walking and don't mind modest grades you can get there by walking west from Hayes Valley or north from the Lower Haight.
Fisherman's Wharf is both a tourist trap and a place to see amazing street entertainers, eat excellent seafood, watch sea lions, and go to the Marine Museums and exhibits. Working Fishinboats still come into the small harbor at Jones and Jefferson, the endpoint of the Muni Historic F-streetcar. There are also small day and party boats available. The fresh breeze from the bay can provide a bracing setting.
The Civic Center has impressive buildings and the Asian Museum, but the main reason for going there are its music and theater venues. Hayes Valley, with shops selling wares from all countries and many restaurants adjoins the Civic Center at the south west.
The Yerba Buena Gardens, above the Moscone Center, at Mission and Third streets provide a nice urban oasis. There is a carousel, a museum, and play places for kids, movie houses, various exhibit spaces, and the Museum of Modern Art across the street. A big garage at Mission between Fifth and Fourth streets makes it quite accessible for drivers. The Moscone Center itself houses major exhibits and conventions. Half of all Muni lines come with a few blocks of the area.
The original China Town, centered around Grant street from Bush to Columbus is also part tourist trap, part an exhibit of local life. Good eating places remain, and the side streets especially have stores one wouldn't find in a mall. Many local Chinese prefer to eat and shop in the new China Town, in the Inner Richmond neighborhood, on Clement Street between 2nd and 12th Avenues. The Muni #1 (California) and #2 (Clement, does not run at night) buses get people from one China Town to the other.
Lincoln Park defines the extreme Western edge of San Francisco. It provides great views of the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge from the Ocean side, and the Pacific Ocean itself. At the extreme western end the well known Cliff House provides both semi-casual and a more formal eating and drinking place. The #18 muni bus goes from the center of the park via the Cliff House to Golden Gate Park, while the very frequent #38 Geary buses terminate in between. Drivers will want to take the El-Camino-del-Mar through the small Sea cliff area on the north west side to view some fancy mansions between Lincoln Park and the Presidio.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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