“I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars ,climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care”
I’ve come to San Francisco, California before and I’ve seen all the things you’re supposed to see many years back. But back then I didn’t really pay much attention about the pictures that I took.. This time when my job sent me to work in San Francisco for only two days, my goal was to go back to all those places and capture the beauty of this City by the Bay and I wanted to do it right this time.
I only had about 2 hours in free time on first day and 4 hours on the second day, So here we go.
First up, the most iconic landmark of San Francisco, “ The Golden Gate Bridge”, built in 1933 and completed in 1937 which spans across the openning between San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean connected the city of San Francisco to Marin County.
Getting off at vista point before getting on the bridge if you’re driving. Don’t waste your time finding a parking at the visitor center, go down just a bit further to Battery park. There are more parking spaces and better view of the bridge while making your way back up.
The trail is easy walk, plus you see some vegetation and flowers along the way. After you reach the visitor center on top of the hill at the foot of the bridge. This is a good place to see the whole span of the bridge but you might need to fight with the crowd.
If you have time, try to walk on the bridge on the padestrian walkway. I only made my way to the first tower (about 0.5 mile one way). The whole bridge about 1.7 miles one way. You get to see the famous red color (which is acturally called “International Orange” ) of the bridge up close.
Good view of the Alcatraz and don’t forget to look back for the fantastic view of San Francisco. Since this is channel , so expect the wind to be quite strong on the bridge.
After spending time soaking up the beauty of the water and te city on the bridge. It’s time to continue the journey. After leaving the bridge, I drove further down the hill to Fort Point and see the bridge at sea level. This is a spot for body surfing. You can go into the fort if you like.
Continue along the shore, good place for people watching, when the weather is nice, people come out, play, picnic by the water or playing kite. Then you end up at Fisherman Wharf at Pier 39. That all the time I had for my first day. I will continue from here the next day.
Next day, started from where I left off. Fisherman’s Wharf is a fun place just to walk around. There are countless restaurant if you want a meal. But I always grab a quick bite from a seafood stand, steam shrimp in paper tray, a cup of seafood cocktail, maybe clam chowder in the sourdough bread bowl and find a place to sit by the water instead of sitting in the restaurant. My good spot is on the wooden pier. You can enjoy the food while watching the fishing boat in the marina.
Pick your favorite flavor of ice cream and just keep on walking. Meet the resident animals, sea lions bathing in the sun at Pier 39. Get on a bay cruise to see the city from the water. Take a tour to famous Alcatraz prison if you have time.
I could spend all day along the shoreline. If you have time and fit enough, rent a bike from Pier 39 and ride on a bike trail all the way up to golden gate bridge and also cross to the other side.
Since I was on a tight schedule, I said good bye to the sea lions and continued to Lombard Street. A one block street known for steep and sharp turns. You can’t walk on the Lombard street but you can take steps up or down on either side. You can drive from the top of the hill down. (but you can’t drive up, that’d be a chaos, don’t you think.) There are actually residences who live on the street. Imagine how frustrate they are because sometime there’s car lineup to give their driving skill a try. It would take them quite some time (or forever) to get their car into the garage.
Last place on my agenda was Alamo Square. A patch of green in the middle of the city is famous for the Painted Laides, the Victorian style row houses painted in pastel color. What makes it special is the slant with the city view in the background. It makes this building the most photograph building the world. Sit on the grass, enjoy the sun and relax.
Look at the city and soak in the beauty of San Francisco skyline. My day ends at the perfect spot.
There are more of San Francisco that you should see. Coit tower, City hall, different districts , riding on a cable car. I’m sure one day I come back to this city above the blue and windy sea again. When I come, the San Francisco’s golden sun will shine on me.
Date: April, 2013