First time in The City by the Bay? New to the Old Fog City? Well, perhaps this guide can be of some assistance. If you’re the kind of person looking for good food, stunning landmarks and a bit of history dabbled with splashes of science, then continue reading. If you’re the type of person simply looking to pass the time, then pray, thee good traveler, have a seat and join the others! There is no time like the present to explore and learn, but don’t forget, putting your hand on the burning stove is always the best way to learn, so start planning that road trip!
1. Fisherman’s Wharf
Speaking of boats, what better place than to eat than on one? Unless you’re prone to sea sickness, that is. Don’t worry, there’s a pill for that too. The wharf is a great place to find fresh seafood, and tours-a-plenty. You can find bike tours, boat tours, even go-car tours. If by now you’re travelled all around the city and you just want to relax or spend some cold hard cash, there are plenty of merchants willing to parts with fine wares as keepsakes of your adventures. Whatever you’re looking for, well, the wharf is your oyster.
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2. Alcatraz Island
The infamous prison located on a rocky outcropping in what appears to be the middle of the sea. At least worth a look, right? Sure, why not. Being in operation from 1850 to 1934, Alcatraz is full of history; most of which is not too pretty, but definitely enlightening to the seeker of worldly knowledge. At the very least you can pretend you’re a certain actor saving the city from evil mercenaries. Whatever floats your boat.
3. Ye Olde Cable Car System
Come now, need I say more? Why walk when you can pretend you’re a lawyer needing a quick ride through town in an academy award winning movie, or simply pose for pictures with friends and loved ones while saving the soles of your shoes? You have seen those hills, right?
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4. Coit Tower
Complimenting San Francisco’s skyline since 1933, the Coif Tower offers a 360-degree view of the city, and also glows in the dark. If you’re looking for a romantic spot to visit, or just a place to take pictures, it is equally beautiful during the day as it is at night. Also, if you’re an art lover, murals decorate the inside of the tower’s base.
5. Legion of Honor
Are you a history buff? Are you travelling with a history buff that won’t be quiet because you refuse to visit any of the many, many museum options that have passed you way so far? Well, stop and give your history lover a chance to immerse themselves in 4,000 years of ancient European art in this massive museum that rivals Grecian construction of old. On an interesting side note about the many things to see and do, you can even plan to have your wedding here! Imagine: travelling back in time to be married in a palace of old. What more could any couple want?
6. Golden Gate Park
Hey, what did I say about emptying that e-cart? Yes, hit delete, I’m not talking about real gold. Alright, now that I’m done with my joke that is bound to win me exactly zero laughs, I will focus on this relaxing way-station for the weary soul. Time to hang up your shoes, folks, because this place offers guided Segway tours! Not only that, but the vistas are gorgeous as you can visit the Garden of Shakespeare’sFlowers, the Japanese Tea Garden and even the California Academy of Sciences, among many others. After a night of partying on the town, this might be the best place to commune with nature and take in all of the wonderful sights and smells the mother has to offer.
7. Union Square
Tired of sporting that 35mm around your neck and that tired old Hawaiian shirt you’ve been dragging to every new city you visit? Well toss them aside and blend in for a bit at Union Square. This is a place constantly hopping with public events such as Improvs, Jazz nights and even workshops. Not only that, but you can enjoy the view of the city while the salty breeze lifts your sprits as you wolf down some wonderful sushi from a nearby restaurant, and wash it down with tea from another. Don’t miss out on this social gathering while you’re in town.
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The oldest Chinatown in America is a place you simply should not avoid. Not only will you see an array of beautifully colored architecture that embodies the intertwined cultures that inhabit Ol’ Foggy, but you will be amazed at the exceptional food as well. Looking for Dim Sum? Look no further. Searching for a Chinese Lacquerware exhibit? Then you better leave now because the Lacquerware event is currently in progress until July 31st. So don’t miss out! Explore a noble culture and heritage from across the sea, right in your own country.
Ah, the Exploratorium. The building is literally made from dreams. Well, you’ll catch my drift if you keep reading. Basically, the Exploratorium is the brainchild of Frank Oppenheimer. It was founded and continues to serve as a community laboratory allowing children and adults alike to explore natural phenomena from the world around them and to participate in open experiments. What exactly does that mean, you ask? Well, if you’ve ever wondered about fermentation, the human body, sound and air, and other themes of life then this place is for you. Go ahead and visit their website, and plan on making this one of your must-go-tostops while in San Francisco.
10. Golden Gate Bridge
What’s better than a bridge? Why, a bridge made of gold of course! What’s that? Oh, it’s not gold? Right, I knew that. You can go ahead and remove those prospecting tools from your e-cart now. Anyway, after four years of construction beginning in January of 1933, it was finally completed and open to traffic in May of 1937.
You can enjoy the mere sight of this massive metallic monstrosity, or you can do so with friends and family while reading the poem by Joeseph B. Strauss entitled, “The Mighty Task is Done.” If that’s not enough, you can always string a net underneath and join the “Halfway-to-Hell Club” which is named after the original men who fell during construction saved by a similar device. Honestly, I do not recommend the latter option and I take no responsibility if you attempt to do so. So, forget what I just said and drive across it like everyone else and enjoy the view!