A free weekday only tour of a local brewery which includes lots of free samples at the end. Very popular so you need to book weeks in advance!
For tour reservations call:
You will never find it on a map or a guide book but 20th & Vermont Street makes Lombard Street look straight.
No Japanese tourists but your backseat passengers might get sick if you go too fast.
Vermont Street and 20th.
Look for the sign that looks like a snake and a street that disappears straight down
The world's last surviving cable car powerhouse and carbarn (1887) houses a free cable car museum.
In addition to historic cable cars (including an original 1873 cable car), displays, informational video and souvenirs, you can watch and hear the motors and sheave wheels moving the cables underneath the three remaining cable car lines of one of America's few moving National Historic Landmarks (1964).
1201 Mason St (at Washington St), Nob Hill, San Francisco;
tel: (415) 474 1887
To get there ride Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable cars to Washington and Mason car stop;
The huge hotel Westin St Francis on Union Square has five outside glass elevators that afford the most amazing views of the city. And it's all free! Walk through the lobby and take an elevator to the 32nd floor. Exhilarating.
Hotel Westin St Francis, at Union Square
Read more at:
Hotel Westin St Francis, at Union Square
See my photo: www.flickr.com/photos/bryceedwards/134703108/
Read more at www.sfcvb.org/travel_media/press.asp?rid=110&cid=5
A fantastic view of San Francisco, along with all the bridges, down to the Dumbarton, as well as much of the entire Bay Area, can be had from the top of the Oakland Hills, on the opposite side of the Bay.
You'll need a car, for this, and it's a bit out of the way, but, to get there, go east, across the Bay Bridge, and follow the signs for Highway 24. Continue about 5 miles, up and through the Caldecott Tunnel; then, take the first possible exit, get back on the freeway going west, and immediately take the exit for "Fish Ranch Road". Go to the end of the ramp, and turn rignt; then, go up to the first stop sign (four way stop), turn left, and drive about 1/4 of a mile. The road will bend to the left, and you'll find yourself looking down on one of the most stunning views of the San Francisco Bay Area you'll likely encounter outside of an aircraft. At sunset it's simply gorgeous!
When you're ready to leave, just follow the road down; and, when faced with a stop sign, always turn downhill (mostly right, but there's a left at the bottom, just before you're returned to the Highway 24). Once you reach 24, just follow the signs back to the Bay Bridge, and San Francisco. You might also stop at Yerba Buena/Treasure Island for a more close up view of the skyline.
Top of the Oakland Hills on Tunnel Road.
San Francisco has some fantastic graffiti. The best is possibly found in the Mission District, and is normally quite political. Just wander around and you'll see a fair bit of it.
This is one of the photos I've taken of SF graffiti:
Just off Fisherman's Wharf there are a couple of platoons that've been taken over by basking seals. They sunbath, swim, fight and generally provide a surprisingly entertaining show.
I took this photo:
Great for dogs and humans alike. 360 degree view from this centrally located gem. Bring your walking shoes as you might be tempted to explore some more! It also overlooks the kid-friendly neighbourhood of Bernal Heights. I'll leave that up to you to check out.
1 Andover Street, San Francisco
A small park on Russian Hill with fabulous views over North Beach, Financial District and Bay Bridge. Peaceful and quiet, you'll usually share it with a few folk up from Chinatown doing their Tai Chi. Just over the hill - between Vallejo and Green (for those who know their Tales of the City) is supposed to be macondry lane - complete with wooden steps. Named after a poet.
At intersection of Vallejo St and Taylor St
Amoeba Records is quite possibly the best music and video store in the whole wide world.
As you enter the shop by its dingy front door in the hippy Haight Ashbury district of Cisco you will not believe your eyes. It’s vast - almost football-pitch sized, and it's full of used CDs, cassettes, LPs (including 12"s and 45"s) and DVDlLaser/beta/VHS.
Most of the sections are labelled - mainly the new and mint (used) - but there are sections which you can search through for hours on end lusting over those hidden gems. If you persevere you will find long lost tunes that you've been yearning for since being a geeky collector. I spent a few hours in there but had to go as a whiney mate was bored. You could easily spend a day or two in there and I reckon it's worth a trip to San Francisco alone for this one shop.
Prices are exceptionally good but beware! Do not take plastic with you as you will max it.
1855 Haight Street, San Francisco;
tel: (415) 831 1200;
For amazing gospel singing, inspirational speakers and just being in the presence of pure joy, acceptance and unconditional love, I recommend a celebration at Glide. Really beautiful. 9am and 11am on Sundays. Gets very busy so get there early if you want a seat downstairs. You'll come out uplifted and smiling.
330 Ellis Street (corner of Ellis and Taylor); www.glide.org
This is a small and perfectly formed pirate supplies shop down in the Mission District. More installation than retail, though you can buy glass eyes, wooden legs, doubloons, flags, eye patches, loaded dice and, er, lard. Treasure troves hide under the floorboards, there's an aquarium theatre and funny writings on the walls. You can barter drawings and poems for treasure, and buy the books of bartered drawings. It's actually the front for a literacy project and is the dreamchild of writer Dave Eggers. It's SO cool I could hardly breathe...
826 Valencia St (between 19th and 20th Sts) in the Mission District;
tel: (415) 642-5905;
If you and your kids like walking and don't mind a bit of a climb the Saturn Steps will take you up from the Castro to the Randall Museum and Corona Heights Park with rocky outcrops and breathtaking views. Surprisingly underused. Walk back via the Vulcan Steps into the Haight Ashbury
The Randall Museum: 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114;
tel: (415) 554 9600;
Get the bus out along Geary Blvd to The Cliff House - which is reputably fantastic if you are not on a budget ;-) we ate at the diner just up the hill for a tenth of the price. But the views from the Cliff House over Ocean Beach on the Pacific are pretty special. Then head down to the old Sutro Baths to check out where the San Franners used to come for their r n' r.
A classic Greek portal opened to a massive glass enclosure containing seven swimming pools of various temperatures. There were slides, trapezes, springboards and a high dive. Together the pools held 1.7 million gallons of water and could be filled in one hour by high tides. There were 20,000 bathing suits and 40,000 towels for rent.
Balmy temperatures and abundant plants enhanced "California’s Tropical Winter Garden." The Baths could accommodate 10,000 people at one time. Now all that remains are the ruins.
From here you can head through the little tunnel down by the baths and up the hill to the trail which leads along the coast all the way around to Chinia Beach via an increasingly impressive panorama of the GG.
Surfers take on the Pacific swells just below you at the base of the cliffs. You re-enter civilisation at China Beach and could probably walk up to the Palace of the Legion of Honor about half way around if you had time.
Walk through China Beach past the millionaires row of ab fab homes and if you still feel spritely, you can continue along the coast path to the GG or if not, grab a bus on Lincoln Blvd into the city - a lovely untouristy gem of a walk that is pretty easy to reach via public transport and not too strenuous (I did it with a 1yr old on my back!)
Get a 360º view of San Francisco hills and neighbourhoods, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, San Francisco Bay and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It beats going to the top floor of a skyscraper.
Look at Coit Tower's vibrant frescos of life in California during the 1930s Great Depression that was commissioned by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to employ local artists. Then walk down the Filbert Steps. Telegraph Hill is so steep that Filbert St. is a stairway, part of it is still wooden. It has a quasi-park feel with homes clinging to the side of Telegraph Hill. You might want to watch the documentary film, "The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill."
Halfway down at 1360 Montgomery St. is an Art Deco apartment building that was used as Lauren Bacall's home in the 1947 Humphrey Bogart movie, "Dark Passage."
When you reach the bottom of the Filbert Steps, you can walk up the Greenwich Steps back to Coit Tower or continue walking through Levi’s Plaza (Levi Strauss HQ) to the Embarcadero and walk, or ride a Muni F/Market-Embarcadero streetcar, to the Ferry Building or Fisherman's Wharf.
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94133
1 (415) 362-0808
Walk to the top of Telegraph Hill or ride Muni #39 Coit bus.
One of the best views in San Francisco is to be found in the financial district, at the top of the Bank of America building (of Towering Inferno fame). Its bar/restaurant (Carnelian Room) is open to the public after three in the afternoon and has some breathtaking views of the bay.
Bank of America Building
555 California St. (Kearny St.)
San Francisco, CA 94104
The Golden Gate Bridge is very impressive. Walk along it (it takes about an hour), then either walk back or go on to Sausalito (all pretty houses and greenery) and take the ferry back to San Francisco from there.
Golden Gate Park – you could literally spend days there. A good idea is walking from the Eastern to the Western end, stopping off on the way to check out a few highlights, like the flower conservatory, Japanese Tea Garden (as featured in Memoirs of a Geisha) and the De Young museum. Your reward at the end: the waves of the Pacific and the Beach Chalet, a restaurant/brewery where, if you time it right, you can have dinner with lovely sunset views over the ocean.
Although most of Pier 39 is pretty horrendous and full of tourists guzzling chowder that looks like chunder out of 'bowls' made from hollowed out giant bread rolls, the sea lions are definately worth a look if you're passing. You actually get really close and can easily pass a pleasant half hour watching them lazing out in the sun on their floating platforms and generally having a good time.
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