San Francisco is both iconic and beautiful. It is one of those cities that does not disappoint, as long as you brought good walking shoes! I’ve had the chance to visit the city a couple times, and have only scratched the surface of everything the area has to offer.
On This Site…
San Francisco has been the setting for many movies and TV shows. Some of the ones featured on my site include Full House and Fuller House, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Sister Act. The city is also home to the Walt Disney Family Museum and Lucasfilms.
The Golden Gate Bridge
No visit to San Francisco is complete without visiting the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge opened in 1933 and spans 1280 meters. There are plenty of viewpoints to see the bridge from both sides, and of course you can drive across the bridge. You can also take helicopter and boat tours to see the bridge from a different vantage point.
One of the most famous and visited attractions in the former prison of Alcatraz. The island originally housed a military prison that dates to 1861. The US Department of Justice transformed the facilities into a federal prison in 1934. It was considered to be impossible to escape, due to the harsh currents surrounding the island. A number of prisoners attempted escape, but all were captured, killed, or presumed drowned. Despite the secure location, the prison was closed in 1963 primarily due to operating costs.
The island and prison is now open to public tours. The tour includes the ferry ride from Pier 33 to the island and back. A self guided audio tour is included with the fee. There are also more in depth tour options offered as well. As Alcatraz is such a popular attraction, I highly recommend making reservations ahead of time.
Fisherman’s Wharf stretches roughly from Ghiradelli Square to Pier 33, where you can get the above-mentioned ferry to Alcatraz. This stretch of waterfront features a lot of restaurants and shops.
One of the highlights is Pier 39. This amusement-style pier features not just restaurants, but a number of theme-park-style attractions as well. A carousel sits at the end of the pier, an arcade, and several 3D rides as well.
Next to Pier 39 is a series of docks which have become home to hundreds of sealions. These sealions can easily be viewed as the pier gives a great view of the area. Boats are no longer allowed to use these docks, giving the sealions full run of the area.
If you are looking for upscale shopping, Union Square is the place you want. This large square is located near the Financial centre of the city, away from the waterfront. There are also a number of upscale hotels in the area, including the famous Westin St. Francis Hotel.
Alamo Square Park
Alamo Square Park is a residential park surrounded by Victorian style houses, making it a popular area for photography. The highlight of the park is the famous Painted Ladies, a row of pastel-coloured houses with the San Francisco skyline in the background, which has been nicknamed Postcard Row. This park gained in popularity when it was featured in the opening credits of Full House.
While Lombard Street stretches through much of the city, it is famous for the short stretch between Hyde Street and Leavensworth Street. This small stretch includes 8 hairpin turns for vehicles to navigate down this streep hill. This stretch is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Most Crooked Road.
Check out this video I took while driving down the street (don’t worry, I was the passenger).
How To Get Around…
One of the most recognized images from San Francisco are the iconic cable cars. The city operates a series of cable car lines around the city. While these are offered as public transportation, they have become an attraction themselves. The most popular line runs from Fisherman’s Wharf to Union Square.
The city also operates a streetcar line along Fisherman’s Wharf. The historic F Market & Wharves line runs along the waterfront, and features antique street cars.
Another common way to get around is ride-sharing. As both Uber and Lyft are headquartered in the bay area, they are extremely popular and offer a variety of ride options.