Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing I did on reaching the city was borrow my cousin's car and experience what San Francisco has been known for- the Golden Gate Bridge. And it was the most remarkable drive and even a better view, for the driveway from the City to the Marin County and back was not merely any highway road trip but a drive along what was once the longest suspension bridge. Today also, when I look back on that drive, it seems to be one of the most fabulously designed architectural masterpiece!
Far away from the chaotic streets of San Francisco lies an island usually called as "The Rock" and houses a prison which anyone will never dare to escape from. This beautiful island of Alcatraz also having a magnificent light house offshore of California is a famous and wonderful attraction of San Francisco. The famous prison and the lighthouse are historical landmarks and engineering marvels in the history of San Francisco and is now maintained by the National Park Service.
Ferry Building, Pier 39... These are old edifices converted into lovely centres for indulging in some good grub. The Slanted Door is highly raved but I found it just about average. It wasn’t bad but it is nothing to rave about; unless you are a stranger to great food. But there were other places but I doubt if they are aiming any higher. Mama’s (a bit away) is a good brekkie place.
‘The most crooked street in the world!’ goes the moniker. I bet some crafty settler decided to throw this, probably because he knew it would become a historic quirk a few decades down and just get incorporated into the cityscape façade, earning itself the unique and generally meaningless distinction of being a tourist hotspot that signifies nothing and yet stands for something. At least, plenty of tourists stand and pose for pictures.
Once I reached the much talked about Fisherman's Wharf, it was difficult for me to decide where to start exploring the hidden experiences of the City of Bay. Truly called a tourist spot, one day seemed just too short a period of time. From the extraordinary view of sea lions at Pier 39, to the world famous statues at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, were the kind of sights I got to see. While the food was mouthwatering, I couldn't resist from choosing my favourites in the world fmaous clam chowder, fried fish and the well-known San Francisco sour dough. And this was just the beginning of my tour at Fisherman's Wharf. Later came the international hotspot Musee Mechanique, 1980's arcade games and Ghirardelli Square.
Golden Gate Park
While I enjoyed the drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, I was told not to miss out on the Park either. So off I went to unravel what seemed to me a plethora of interests merging at one place- the Golden Gate Park. While on one side I sipped on some exotic tea at the Japanese Tea Garden, on the other side the nature lover in me came alive seeing the exotic species at the Conservatory of Flower. As I walked further into the greens, I encountered an opportunity to walk along paths of history at two of the most famous museums- the California Academy of Sciences, which was a wonder in itself and then came the De Young Museum. And then I thought to myself, little did I know before I had left home for that one drive across the bridge, that I'll get to explore something much more than what I had expected.
My afternoon was spent wandering around Union Square, and headed to Chinatown. I ended up in the Fortune Cookie Factory - so hard to find, in a little alley - where you can see the ladies shape the cookies and you get to try them, always down for free food !From all of the US, San Francisco’s Chinatown is the best, I think. It made me want to discover Asia so bad ! I saw men read Chinese newspaper, the bus speaker announce stops in Chinese before Spanish ! Incredible how big the Asian community is.--> Watch the video down below to see more :)Telegraph Hill is a nice climb to do, where Coit Tower is. To get in the Tower costs $7, no thanks I’d rather enjoy the pretty decent view of the bridge from the parking lot.
2. Indulge in chocolates and desserts at Ghiradelli SquareA landmark public square home to the famous Ghiradelli chocolate company boasts of some lovely restaurants and nice stores. Be prepared to be transported transported into a world of aromas, chocolate and lots of chocolate!
The biggest and best day of the trip !I went for a 10am visit to Alcatraz Island ! So excited about this.I went with AlcatrazCruises which has the best rate, I paid $31 (at the time, I looked it up doing this article and it’s $35 now).FYI - I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, like 2 weeks in advance because it gets full pretty fast !You have the choice between a day tour or night tour, which can be quite interesting ;)It’s a self-guided tour, audio included which is great, it explains you so much stuff and you have some prison background noises - loved it.
Tip : Rent a bike to explore faster and cover more distanceFun fact, I was with my little backpack waiting for bus 7 to take me up the city to meet a friend of mine. And a guy asked me the time and wandered if I was on the way to work. I loved this interaction. I don't why I just feel good when I blend in and people think I’m a local.Anywho, so I meet up with my friend in her neighborhood near Golden State Park and Haight Ashbury.Weather is out of our control. And it can be frustrating when you’re in such beautiful places without the sun. Everything would have been more enjoyable under the natural light and not rain drops. But eh, that’s how it is.
There is something so beautiful and pure about mural art. San Francisco is filled with these public art displays but the best is in this ally off of Valencia in the Mission district. Stroll along Balmy and Clarion Alleys for some amazing works of art. These masterpiece murals painted by Mexican-American artists and other residents of this predominantly Latin-American neighborhood.
Legion of Honor
One of the most beautiful museums of the United States, the Leign of Honor is an historical building housing some of the greatest art masterpieces in the country. Its perfect placement overlooking the glamorous Pacific Ocean and the mossy Golden Gate Bridge makes visiting this museum a must thing to do in San Francisco. It was mainly architectured to commemorate soldiers of California who lost their lives in the first World War.
6. Shopping at Union SquareThis refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district of San Francisco. The area got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War,earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark. Come here to visit the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and beauty salons in the United States.Union Square is a major tourist destination, a vital, cosmopolitan gathering place in downtown San Francisco, and one of the world's premier shopping districts.
Mission Dolores Park
Alamo Square and his famous Painted Ladies, Castro (gay neighborhood), Mission Dolores Park. OMG let’s talk about this park for a second. It’s the best spot ever. It overlooks the whole city, I was mesmerized. Guess what, it was raining again. But, Mission Park, with the sun, a towel, some food, drinks, a book.. you feel me ? Per-fect spot.In short, one of my favorite cities ever, I’ll be back asap !! And if you want to see more here's my little video, share and subscribe if you'd like to see more about the USA
Visit Mission Dolores (Dolores and 16th St.; 415-621-8203), the city’s oldest building and first mission. Founded by Spanish settlers in 1776, the mission and neighboring church feature historic adobe architecture. Scenes from Hitchcock’s Veritigo were filmed in the church cemetery.
Walked to Japantown, around 45min. Oh yes you didn’t know ? SF not only have the best Chinatown but it has ALSO a Japantown !! So cute, give me a plane ticket for Japan RIGHT NOW.Okay enough of walking for today, I admit, I took Uber Pool to get home. For my defense I had to get ready quickly for an important event….
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
Sink your teeth into a flaky croissant or orange-scented morning bun at Tartine (600 Guerrero St.; 415-487-2600) a decadent bakery specializing in breakfast pastries and indulgent desserts. Although, there is always (and I mean always) a long line out the door since seating is laughably scarce; don’t let this scare you. It’s worth the wait — your tastebuds and tummy will be thanking you.
It may sound gimmicky, but the dinner-and-a-movie at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission Street; 415-648-7600; www.foreigncinema.com) is an elegant, white tablecloth affair. If the weather’s nice, snag an outdoor table in the austere, vaguely Soviet cement courtyard. Start with oysters ($2 to $2.50 apiece), before carving into the likes of delicate tombo tartare with ginger-lime vinaigrette and the bavette steak. When the sun sets, a foreign film is projected silently on the far wall with subtitles. Heat lamps keep you toasty and, if you want to follow the dialogue, the waiter will even bring vintage drive-in speakers.
Mission Bowling Club
Even if you suck at bowling, a few games at Mission Bowling Club (3176 17th St.) is a lot of fun. Great space with almost a lounge-like atmosphere. This truly a special treat in SF. The only other bowling alley that I’m aware of in the city is all the way in the Presidio and Lucky Strike in SOMA.
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum
To learn more about Ms. Tan’s culture and Chinese heritage, head to the Chinese Historical Society of America located in San Francisco’s original YWCA building. If you are interested in the Chinese American experience, this museum not only offers a historical perspective, but also some interesting modern art.
Take the Mason line of the cable car north to Columbus Ave. then travel south along Columbus Ave, past the slew of alfresco cafes and turn left on Kearny to the newly erected The Beat Museum. This tiny space packs a punch with carefully selected collection including Ferlinghetti paintings, Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter and first edition prints of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The museum also sells books, memorabilia and hosts special events like book signings, readings and lectures. Need to replace your college copy of Kerouac or Kesey? Turn right onto Columbus Ave until you reach City Lights Bookstore. Founded in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, it is the quintessential Beat headquarters complete with publishing house for fringe writers and dharma bums (Alan Ginsberg’s Howl was published here). From existentialists to modernists, you can almost smell the clove cigarettes in a cloud of black turtlenecks like ghosts amongst the towers of books on the second floor of this Beat Poet’s paradise. They also sell journals so you too can create your own literary masterpiece.