City By The Bay!
18.03.2011 27 °C
I loved San Francisco!
It is such a beautiful and diverse city
with many personalities and lots to see and do!
Start off by visiting Fisherman's Wharf,
This is a popular tourist hangout and it's
here you will find the freshest seafood and fine
dining restaurants. Take a stroll to Pier 39 and see
up to 100 wild seals sunbathing on the planks.
They started to arrive at the pier in 1989
and their numbers continue to grow. Now the
area has been removed of all boats so the seals
have a new place to call home.
Also on Pier 39 you will find cafes, stores
a Aquarium and a two story Carousel.
This is also were you can get the best view of
Alcatraz, the notorious prison, which is about
2.5k's from the shore.
No prisoners had ever successfully escaped from
Alcatraz, which started as a Military prison in 1861
and became a federal prison in 1934 for many of
American's most infamous criminals including
Al "Scarface" Capone. It was closed in 1963 and
now is one of the must see attractions in San Fran.
You can do a day or night tour of the jail from
around $35 p.p. that includes a return ferry ride.
While in the area of Fisherman's Wharf keep your
eye out for the World Famous Bushman!
He is a homeless man who hides behinds some
branches and jumps out as unexpected people walk by.
It is funny to watch and a cafe across the street fills up
with fans of the Bushman, as they watch him do his thing.
It is believed he has made up to $60,000 in tips in the
years he has been playing his trick and now has his
own wikipedia page.
While in the city you must hop on a Tram and ride
the cable car around the steep hilled streets and many
Villages including The Haight, Nob Hill & Russian Hill.
Jump off at this stop to see Lombard Street...
'The crookedest street in San Francisco'
It's a one way street that runs down hill and includes
eight sharp turns. It would have been fun to attempt
in a car but we had to settle for running down it instead!
But the biggest drawcard has to be the one and only
Golden Gate Bridge! Completed in 1937 it is now one of the
most internationally recognized bridges in the world.
It was originally going to be painted black and yellow
so it was visible for passing navy ships but was changed to
orange vermilion. This bridge can be admired by afar or up close
but the best way to experience is on foot. There is a walkway for
pedestrians and bikes during the weekdays in daylight hours only.
We walked across the bridge at a leisurely speed and it took us
about thirty minutes, we had a bus waiting for us on the other
side so we drove back over it but otherwise it would take about an
hour to walk over and back.
The Bridge has six lanes opened for traffic and each cable you can
see is made up of 27,572 strands of wire. The Golden Gate Bridge
is now also the most popular place to commit suicide in the world.
From there we headed the the Castro, which has a large gay
culture that dates back to World War 2 when the U.S. military
offloaded thousands of servicemen that were discharged
for being gay. Since then the neighborhood has accepted the
lifestyle and the streets are aligned with rainbow flags, gay friendly
bars & restaurants as well as the Castro Theater-opened in 1922.
A man often associated with The Castro is Harvey Milk,
a gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's
first openly gay elected official. There is a now a plaque outside
his old camera store / Campaign Office. His story is now a movie,
released in 2009 starring Sean Penn.
If your a pop culture freak like me, you will get a kick out
of visiting the Painted Ladies near Alamo Square. This is
the house used in the TV show "Full House." There are six
Victorian architectural houses painted in three colors.
This can be spotted all around San Francisco and have
become iconic to the city.
Now like any great city, one of the best ways to get a fresh
perspective of the landmarks is via the water. As San
Fran is famous for it's beautiful harbour, i recommend a sunset
cruise! We went with Adventure cat cruises who offer a
90 minute cruise on board a 55 foot Catamaran.
We sailed by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge
and watched the sun set behind the landmark.
Once night falls head to Chinatown for dinner,
This is the world's largest Chinatown outside of Asia
and is full of over 300 authentic restaurants and bars.