There are a lot of things to do in San Francisco. When I reflect on my visits to “The City by the Bay,” these are the things that make me smile.
Crossing the icon Golden Gate bridge on foot or bike is a must. Views of Alcatraz and the rolling waters of the Pacific Ocean below makes one feel very small. I also can’t help but reflect on what it took to build this magnificent bridge back in 1933. Once across the bridge, walking along the trail to Hendrik Point affords a lovely view and photo opt of the bridge set against San Francisco’s cityscape.
Next, a visit to Alcatraz is always fun and speaks to the (creepy) imagination! After a 20-minute ferry ride you’ll arrive on the island and can explore it at your own pace with an audio tour headset. This former prison held criminals “Scarface” Capone, “Machine Gun Kelly”, and the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” to name a few. If you decide to visit the island, be sure to buy tickets weeks in advance as they sell out quickly.
Cable Cars! Who doesn’t think of cable cars when they think of San Francisco? Holding on outside can be a thrilling way to see the city. There are three routes to choose from, each offering different city highlights. I found the turntables very interesting to watch as the cars are pushed and spun around manually to reverse their direction. And if you love riding cable cars then you’ll probably be interested in the Cable Car Museum on Mason Street. This museum showcases historic relics, and its deck overlooks huge engines and wheels that pulled the cables.
Got Chocolate!! When I think of San Francisco I am reminded of great big, decadent chocolate sundaes from Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop on Ghirardelli Square. Since 1849, Ghirardelli has had a presence in San Francisco and that makes the city’s chocolate lovers very happy. Take the Powell/Hyde cable car, which ascends steeply to Nob Hill and has stupendous vies of the Bay and returns conveniently at Ghirardelli Square!
Coit Tower – This tower that resembles a fire hose is perched at the top of Telegraph Hill and offers panoramic views of the city. But the really cool attraction to the tower is the Public Works Art Project’s fresco murals that line the inside of the first-floor rotunda. The murals reflect racial equality and political ideals. Viewing the murals is free but there is a nominal fee to take the elevator to the top of the tower.
If you still have time after you’ve visited my favorite attractions, the Ferry Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Wells Fargo Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, and Muir Woods are all very much worth consideration. The best time to visit San Francisco is from August to October when the temperatures are the warmest and the crowds are fewer, so get planning!