San Francisco, CA

In 3 words: Fun and beautiful.
For your first visit you need no less than 3 full days to be able to fully appreciate the city and all of its major sights while keeping pleasantly unhurried pace.
Distances are walkable not in all cases, and the city’s topography may call for use of public transportation or Uber.
Love its many elevated vistas and eye-catching architecture even among residential blocks.
Don’t miss: Riding on the steps of Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car line.
Worthy attractions: Cable carsFisherman’s WharfGolden Gate Bridge; Lombard Street – the crookedest street in the world; Alamo Square with its Painted LadiesDeYoung Museum and Golden Gate Park; Coit Tower; Twin Peaks.
Left for another visit: Alcatraz.
Recommended excursions: Sausalito; Muir Woods.
Last visit: October 2016.

Alamo Square

San Francisco is one of the most interesting and impressive cities in the United States, well worth days of exploration. It boasts eye-catching architecture literally on every block, breathtaking vistas from a number of viewpoints, and several unmissable stops of interest.

This travelog entry is based on our most recent visit to the city, which only spanned a few hours of a single day.  A number of key attractions that we visited in the past is not fully covered.

Things to See and Do

San Francisco is a city of many interesting neighborhoods where you will find many examples of fine architecture as you walk by.

Of the unmissable sights, Golden Gate Bridge ♥♥♥ is obviously the most iconic.  You can walk or bike across, and you can see it from a number of different viewpoints, both on the city side and on the Marin County side.

Fisherman’s Wharf ♥♥ is the tourist hub of the city, with a number of good picture spots, shopping, dining, and a sea lion hangout.

You can walk to and up Lombard Street ♥♥♥ – “the crookedest street in the world” – but most people would prefer to walk down or better yet, drive down.  The views from where it crosses Hyde St – that’s the top tourist landing – are fantastic.

Other fantastic elevated points to see the city include Coit Tower and Twin Peaks ♥.

Alamo Square ♥ offers the city as the background from its highest points, but most people come here to see the Painted Ladies ♥ – a row of colorful houses.

Another elevated viewpoint to consider is the tower of DeYoung Museum ♥.  It is free to enter and the perspectives are slightly different, but it is also a glass-enclosed space which dampens the impact somewhat.  The museum itself reputedly has a good collection, which we never perused (entrance for a fee).  There is a pretty square with fountains and statues in front of the museum, and this segment is part of the bigger Golden Gate Park ♥, which has a number of beautiful points and leafy paths.

The wait for Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car ♥♥♥ is worth the experience, especially if you are lucky enough to get outside seat/step on the left side in front.  Mason line is not as dramatic (and it does not take in Lombard Street), but it also draws fewer people.  You can ride the car in either direction, but I highly recommend that you start at Market/Powell and go towards the water at least once.

One of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, Alcatraz, never featured in our itineraries but I only heard enthusiastic recommendations from friends who’ve been.

If you want to venture outside of the city, the artsy suburb of Sausalito ♥♥ or the redwood park Muir Woods ♥♥ are great choices.

Places to Eat

Stop for lunch at Codmother ♥♥♥, on the corner of Beach St and Jones St.  Sometimes the line gets very long and there may not be enough tables in the fenced yard, but it moves reasonably.  Anything you pick from the menu will be of “ridiculously good” variety.  Damage: $25 for two people, including soft drinks.  Last visit: October 2016.


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