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7 days in San Francisco

 
 
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San Francisco at night

10 Must see Places in San Francisco

There are cities that offer so much that a mere 7 days aren’t enough to cover everything… San Francisco is one of those places. The city by the bay is the 33rd most visited city in the World. Established in 1776 as a Spanish outpost, it became the most famous a Boomtown of the Old West, in 1849 when the California gold rush began. Since then San Francisco has been at the vanguard of cultural and social changes. Everybody who visit the City by the Bay, comes back with fond memories of the place.

It got on its feet quite rapidly after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, 75% of the city had been wiped out by the fire that followed the earthquake, actually just in time for the 1915 Pan-am Pacific Fair. Up to this day San Francisco as remained a major commercial center. The architecture of the buildings that escape the destruction and those built immediately after are unique. It’s bubble gum for the eyes, like Frank Lloyd Wright would say… the irony is, that he wasn’t talking about architecture… even though he was an architect and way ahead of its time.

Those of you, who will have a car, you will surely want to go down Lombard street, on Russian Hill, the most twisted street in the World. It’s the one we’ve seen in all those movies. Speaking of Russian Hill and the movies, scenes from Bullitt were shot on Russian Hill. But don’t try to do anything crazy with your rental car or with the family minivan, please.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is emblematic of San Francisco, like the Eiffel tower is to Paris. The feat of engineering will celebrate its 75th birthday, in 2012. The bridge spans 1.6 miles (2.7Km) and the sire welcomes 9 million visitors a year.

Pedestrians are allowed on the East sidewalk, the one facing San Francisco from 5AM to sunset. Cyclists have toll-free access to the Bridge's sidewalks 24-hours a day. There has been construction work in the area recently, so check before pedaling there. There are several view points to take great pictures of the Golden Gate Bidge, the Fort Point overlook, located to the South, is great. Crossing the bridge to the North will get you to Marin Vista point, another great view of the bridge.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Alcatraz had a reputation for being the prison nobody could escape from. This former lighthouse, turned army post and military prison became a federal prison in 1934. It closed in 1963, the next year and again in 1969 American Indians, laid claim to Alcatraz Island. Today the U.S. National Park Service administers the island.

Alcatraz represents the federal government's response to the frequent and highly publicized, prison breaks of the post Prohibition / Depression era. It showed, they were in charge and that they had the situation under control. Among its most famous guest, we have; “Scarface” Al Capone, “Bumpy” Johnson… the Godfather of Harlem, Mickey Cohen and let’s not forget “Birdman” Robert Stroud. Seemed this guy, in real life, wasn’t as cool… as Burt Lancaster was in the 1962 classic.
Part of the facility has been turned in a museum, you can visit the cellhouse and you can also stroll along the path of a couple of famous escape route. There are several outlooks that will give you great shot of the Bay and San Francisco. To get there you have to take the ferry at Pier 33. To visit Alcatraz, you should book in advance; the rides are often sold out, during the busy season.

Le Presidio

The Presidio

Since 1994 the Presidio is part of the U.S. National Park Service. If you enjoy the outdoors, treat yourself to a stroll down one of the park several trials. You’ll understand why the Park Service wanted so much to get its hand on this 218 year old former Army camp… the view is fantastic.

This is the place Spain establish their outpost in 1776, later in 1822 the Mexican flag replaced the former, but everything else staid the same. However in 1846 the US Army took the Presidio,along with the rest of California and established an army post. Along with the natural beauty of the park, explore centuries of architecture, visit an historic airfield and admire spectacular vistas.

Legion fo Honor

The Legion of Honor Museum of fine Art

Even if the project originated before the Great War, it was dedicated to Californians who lost their lives during the conflict. The construction ended in 1924, to honor the dead while serving the living. The museum is a replica of the museum in Paris Bearing the same name. The building itself is a piece of Art, to top that generous benefactors gave generously so it could acquire a world class collection.

Among the exhibits, you’ll find Rodin’s The Thinker and 6 centuries of European paintings. The Legion of honor Museum is located in Lincoln Park, it on the coast, again great view point.

Golden Gate Park

Le Golden Gate Park

Some people calls it the Central Park of San Francisco, it’s actually bigger, 20% bigger. It’s a 1,000 acres playground, featuring several points of interests, among those the Conservatory of Flowers. It has been open to the public since 1876; it’s the oldest remaining municipal wooden conservatory in the United States.

The Golden Gate Park is the last element on the Park Trail; someone could spend several days in the Park and not get bored. Beside the lakes and the lush environment, you can also visit; the Japanese garden, the De Young museum, Strawberry Hill, the Steinhart Aquarium and the California Academy of Science, to name only those.

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Fisherman

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a district by itself. Like to name suggest, it’s the place to shop for fresh arrivals from the sea. But, you can skip that and go directly to one of the many Sea Food restaurants on the docks.

Things to see; Anchorage square, it’s the biking, rolling, touring, colorful hub of Fisherman's Wharf, with a wide variety of restaurants and stores. The San Francisco Maritime National Park, AKA the San Francisco Maritime museum is located on the Hyde Street Pier. Stroll on the pier and enjoy the park’s collection of historical ships and enjoy the great view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

It’ also the end of the line for the Powell & Hyde street cable car and line F, serviced by historical street cars that will take you latter to the Ferry building and Market street.

The Aquarium of the Bay, is a unique marine nature center, it has a 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels, where you can walk inches from sharks, octopus, and other amazing marine animals. The National Liberty Ship Memorial features the SS. Jeremiah O'Brien, one of two remaining fully functional Liberty Ships, built during WWII. It’s moored at Pier 45. At Pier 39, you’ll find San Francisco's Premier Bay Attraction. It’s located at the northern end of the Embarcadero; Pier 39 is home to San Francisco's famous street performers and musicians who perform daily. It’s also a two-story festival marketplace, with 110 shops and 13 restaurants with Bay views.

Ambarcadero - Ferry Building - Market street

Located along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street, the Ferry Building is a San Francisco landmark, it survived the 1906 and the 1989 earthquakes. In the 1930’s it was second busiest transit terminal in the world.
Today the Ferry Building Marketplace is the center of a transit hub that connects all of San Francisco's neighborhoods and the surrounding bay communities. The marketplace is accessible by MUNI, BART and Ferry Boat. The historic trolley cars (Line F Market) stop directly in front of the Ferry Building.

Market Street possesses several historical sites with a unique architecture. Among the group, you have; the Call Building, the Crown Zellerbach Building, Lotta’s Fountain and the Old Chronicle building, to only those few.

Saloon

Barbary Coast Trail

From the start of the California gold Rush in 1849 until the 1906 earthquake and the fire that followed, the San Francisco red light district was known as the Barbary Coast. The relatively small district, bordered by Montgomery street, Washington street, Stockton Street et Broadway, was the playground of; sailors, prospectors, gamblers, hookers, hustlers. You could find an impressive numbers of Saloons, Brothel, Shanghaiing Den and Hotels.

It was the place to be to play poker, drink cheap whisky and engage in a gun fight, unless you got drunk and woke up on a ship bound for China.

Today there is a hand full of the old Saloons and other ghosts from the past. Take a stroll down the Barbary Coast Trail, it’s 3.8 miles (6.1Km), it features 20 historical sites and it will take you outside the boundary of the old district.
Barbary Coast Trail

Coit Tower

 

Pionner Park - Coit Tower

Slightly to the north you’ll find Pioneer Park and the Coit tower. The Art Deco tower dominates the park at 210ft (64M); the cylindrical concrete structure was built in 1933. The cylindrical inside is covered with fresco murals depicting life in California at the time of its construction. Coit tower is one of San Francisco’s most recognizable landmark

 

 
Chinatown

Chinatown

The San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinese community outside China and the oldest. Among the landmark, there’s the Sing Chong Building, one the first rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake. The other notable architectural pieces worth a photograph are the Bank of Canton, the Bank of America and its dragons. Take a walk down Waverly place or Spofford Alley, explore the multitude of restaurants.

 
USS Hornet

USS Hornet

The USS Hornet (CV-12) is an Essex class aircraft carrier; it is also the 8th ship in the history of the U.S. navy the bear the name Hornet. The USS Hornet (CV-8) was the carrier who carried out the Doolittle raid on Tokyo and fought with distinction at the battle of Midway. That one was lost during the battle of Santa Cruz, in 1942. The CV-12 was commissioned in 1943.

It served with distinction during the remainder of WW2, the Vietnam War and it recovered both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 with its all Navy crew. The Hornet is also an Air museum, it features among others; a TBM-3 Avenger, a FJ-2, the naval version of the F86 Sabre, a F4J Phantom, a F-14A Tomcat and several helicopter, among those a SH-3 SeaKing similar to the one that recovered both Apollo capsules.

To visit the USS Hornet, you must get across the bay to Pier 3 – 707W Hornet Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

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