Sightseeing in San Francisco, California

“Everyone should be able to love two cities: their own and San Francisco” Gene Fowler, Writer & Journalist

Staying in San Francisco is like seeing an old friend again: so many streets, buildings, panoramas are familiar from films and have become ingrained in the collective consciousness. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from missing out on new attractions and revitalized neighborhoods in the city.

Fisherman’s Wharf
According to TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA, surveys show that nearly 85 percent of all San Francisco visitors want to see Fisherman’s Wharf. The popular spot on the historic waterfront may look like the fishing boats are just a set for a movie, but they are actually in use, fishing in the Golden Gate area early in the morning and returning at noon. The fresh catch is a “Special of the Day” on the menus of the restaurants. By the way, if you see the big crabs here, you should know that only the Dungeness crab (California crab) with the broad breastplate – it is also depicted in the Fisherman’s Wharf coat of arms – comes from the west coast. The lobsters often advertised here are only found in the Atlantic. They are flown in from the US east coast.

In addition to the countless bars and the smell of the kitchen, the district is also known for its street artists such as magicians, mimes, musicians and fire-eaters. The Irish coffee in the famous Buena Vista Café is well known. The best blues musicians play at Lou’s on Pier 47, while comedy and jazz can be found at Bimbo’s 365 Club . The Musée Mécanique ( ) at Pier 45 (at the beginning of Taylor Street) offers a nice taste of the amusement of the past two centuries with dance pavilions, pools and Ferris wheels.

Also among the residents of the Waterfront are the sea lions, who are particularly fond of certain docks. The best view is from the outside walkway at Pier 39, just minutes from Alcatraz.

VUSA TIP : The California Welcome Center on the second floor of Pier 39 helps with activity planning. If you are looking for literary help in choosing the right place to eat, you should take a look at the book “The Food at Fisherman’s Wharf” by AK Crump.

Ghirardelli Square
A few minutes’ walk from Fisherman’s Wharf and the Cannery, the square features the galvanized, white-brick buildings of the old Ghirardelli chocolate factory, as well as apartments, small shops, bakeries and international restaurants. Many “human statues” and pantomime perform here. 900 North Point St.

Pier 39
With shops, restaurants, the sea lions and the aquarium, there is something for everyone. When visiting San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a visit to Pier 39 is a must. By the way, everyone will find the right souvenir here, because the shops are a real treasure trove for souvenirs and keepsakes. There are numerous eateries for those with a small appetite, if you want to eat out, visit one of the restaurants – with a priceless view of the Bay of San Francisco, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The kid -friendly Aquarium of the Bay is home to more than 2,000 marine animals from the bay and surrounding waters. It’s worth taking a look under the water surface, because the seaweed meadows (the so-called kelp forests) off the Californian coast are some of the world’s unique habitats. Street performers and musicians set the mood throughout Pier 39. A visit is especially recommended on Sundays. Then you will find every imaginable artist on the “open-air stage” of the pier, from singers and musicians to salsa dancers. Those who are more interested in nature can watch the sea lions in the marina while lounging and playing.

Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the prison island of Alcatraz is one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks. With its colorful history, Alcatraz was once home to the famous prison that housed criminals like Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. The island also has a lighthouse and a historic US military fort. Alcatraz has some of the best views of the Bay Area and the city. Learn all about the famous residents of The Rock on a tour with Alcatraz Cruises.

Incidentally, changing exhibitions on topics such as the occupation of Alcatraz by American Indians in the 1970s, military history or the challenging living conditions on the island take place here. The audio tours offered are highly recommended.

Alcatraz is also a great place to see nesting seabirds. It is advisable to bring binoculars and look out for cormorants, seagulls, guillemots, snowy egrets and night herons.

Transamerica Pyramid
The 260 meter high Transamerica Pyramid with 48 floors became one of the new symbols of the city immediately after its opening in 1972. Although it will soon not be San Francisco’s tallest building (the 326 m Salesforce Tower will be completed in 2018), the spectacular design, by US architect William L. Pereira, is still a hallmark of the city. The visitor deck on the 27th floor was closed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, so now only the lobby is freely accessible. However, there is a virtual observation deck there: four mobile cameras transmit images from the tower to several monitors. The audience can control the respective perspectives. (600 Montgomery Street)

Cable Car
The steep and hilly terrain of the City did not permit the operation of conventional adhesion streetcars, so in 1873 Andrew Smith Hallidie developed a streetcar system in which the car was pulled by a cable that ran underground. This system proved its worth in San Francisco and more routes were gradually opened. To this day, the three lines The Powell-Hyde (Line 60), The Powell-Mason (Line 59) and The California Street have evolved(Line 61), which are now among the city’s greatest sights. Long waiting times are accepted in order to be allowed to ride with the rattling car. If you are lucky, you can watch the helmsman (Gripman) or the brakeman at work. The San Francisco Cable Car is the only remaining cable car in the world that is still in operation.

Lombard Street
The “crookedest street in the world” is probably one of the most photographed sights in San Francisco. With a gradient of 27%, it was once one of the steepest streets in the city. This circumstance was problematic for many motorists and pedestrians, so the idea was born in 1923 to create the section between Hyde and Leavenworth Street as a downhill one-way street with eight steep serpentine curves. The cable cars stop at the top of Lombard Street on Hyde Street.

Nob Hill
The district – still nicknamed ‘Snob Hill’ – was the center of luxurious living in the 19th century. Back then, men made fortunes from the railway company and gold mines. It is located between California, Sacramento, Jones and Taylor streets. Elegant apartments, houses and hotels can be found here.

North Beach
Known for its art galleries, bookstores, international restaurants and easy-going lifestyle, North Beach stretches from Telegraph Hill all the way down to the shore. North Beach was once right on the water. The sea moved further away due to landfill. During the 1906 earthquake, the Italians who lived here saved many of the Victorian houses by soaking them in red wine and protecting them from the flames. Even today you can still find a large number of excellent Italian restaurants in the city, as well as the ‘Caffe Trieste’, which is well-known far beyond the city limits.

Golden Gate Park
John McLaren, a Scottish landscaper and the park’s superintendent (1887-1943), transformed an area of ​​barren wasteland and shifting sand dunes into a lush green oasis with numerous artificial lakes and plant species from around the world. The park borders the ocean to the west and extends 5 km inland. Attractions include the Conservatory of Flowers, a herd of bison, a restored Dutch-style windmill, boat rentals, and a small outdoor theater with free concerts. (501 Stanyan Street and Fell Street).

Civic Center
The building housing the offices of the federal, state and city governments is surrounded by manicured parkland on Market and Franklin Streets. The dome is higher than that of the US Capitol in Washington DC. In 1945 the United Nations Conference met in the Civic Center. This resulted in the first charter that eventually led to the founding of the United Nations. 1 dr Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

Golden Gate Bridge
The world-famous landmark has connected San Francisco with Marin County (via the Redwood Highway US 101) since 1937. With a length of 2,722 m and a span of 1,273 m, it is one of the longest single-span suspension bridges ever built. The two massive towers rise 226 m above the water, making them the tallest bridge towers in the world. The passage height of 70 m allows even the largest ships to pass. A team of painters is constantly busy restoring the color of the Golden Gate Bridge. Since it takes about 2 years to completely paint the bridge, the team often has to start all over again after the project is finished. The Golden Gate Bridge has a higher profile than the city’s cable cars or Victorian homes.

Bike the Bridge
Biking is a growing trend in San Francisco. One of the best experiences is “Bike the Bridge”: from the bike rental at Fisherman’s Wharf it goes along the coast over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.

VUSA TIP: A stop at Cavallo Point with a lunch or coffee break. The former military academy Fort Baker has been converted into a hotel and is still an insider tip.

Farmers Market in the Ferry Building
The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is a popular meeting place because of its variety of culinary surprises. But the La Cocina Community Kitchen booth (right next to the hugely popular Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk at the south end of the Ferry Building) deserves a special mention: this non-profit organization supports small, local producers and offers a variety of different treats, such as naturally made jams , fresh spring rolls, plantain chips or mystipies (South African meat and vegetable pies). The market takes place on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
One Ferry Building At Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

Sightseeing in San Francisco, California

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