Author Sushant Published on August 29th 2018
"No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does. Arrival in San Francisco is an experience in living."
“One day if I go to heaven…..I’ll look around and say “It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco”
– Herb Caen
“The Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about heaven while I’m here”
– Billy Graham
“Any one who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco is pretty much dead to me”
– Anthony Bourdain
Of the many cities I have visited in the United States, I must admit San Francisco is the one that took me by complete surprise. Typically, a big city in USA has a downtown area, busy streets, and tall buildings, lots of people generally walking/skating or running. Generally, there is little to do within the city except visiting some iconic buildings, malls, etc. but SF is different. It has plenty to offer and most of all it transports you to Europe. Its resemblance to a European port is hard to ignore. The wave forming streets, parks amidst blocks, colorful Victorian houses, architectural delights like Golden Gate Bridge & the Bay Bridge,Cable cars and Fisherman’s Wharf, all remind you of Europe. And interestingly, the European link is in the city’s name itself - San Francisco which is Spanish for ‘Saint Francis’.
The Picturesque- Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, also commonly referred to as – Frisco, San Fran, SF, Golden Gate city, The City by the Bay and Fog City, is not only a popular tourist destination, but also the cultural and financial center of Northern California.
“San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality”
– Paul Kantner
Here are my Top 5 for San Francisco:
1. FISHERMAN’S WHARF & PIER 39
The Fisherman's Wharf
The Fisherman’s Wharf is the most buzzing touristy place in San Francisco. It offers almost everything from scenic beauty, good food, shopping and some wild life (sea lions). I rented the famous Lime-S (electric scooter), and it was fun zipping alongside the waterfront area of the town.
Cable car station at Fisherman's Wharf
2. CYCLING ACROSS GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Warming Hut Cafe at the foot of Golden Gate Bridge
The bike ride(hired from Blazing Saddles) from Fisherman’s Wharf across the Golden Gate to Sausalito has been the most picturesque ride for me so far. The ride is about 8 miles but San Francisco weather does not tire you and the cool breeze keeps you energetic. The views are breathtaking, the blue waters with some white waves sprinkled across and few surfers makes the ride picture perfect. The uphill stretches can be a bit heavy on your lungs and legs, but don’t worry, the company of several other bikers and the beautiful landscape keeps you going.
There’s a nice cozy café called ‘Warming Hut’ right on the Crissy Field waterfront which is just the right pit stop before you get on the bridge. So, refuel yourself before you conquer the Golden Gate Bridge.
There’s an interesting history to this café, this two-story wood frame structure was built in 1909 as an
US Engineer Storehouse.
The beauty of SF from the Golden Gate Bridge
When you are on the bridge, you get a feeling ‘Wow, I am on Golden Gate Bridge’ - one of the most
photographed places in the world and an architectural marvel.
The ride across the bridge transports you to a quaint but the most beautiful waterfront town – SAUSALITO, in Marin County, California. A town that is most European in its look, smell, feel and touch. I found an interesting wine shop with an Italian café adjacent to it, needless to say the 8-mile cycling ride made me overeat but the local delights were absolutely worth the indulging.
Do try the sumptuous salads if you are in for some healthy food. The pizzas and pastas are also amazing.
4. Alcatraz island
Although I had earlier planned to bicycle back from Sausalito but realized the thought itself was very ambitious. The best way to complete this expedition is to take a ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf, the proof of which is the number of bikes that you see on the ferry. On route, you also get to see Alcatraz Island, home to the military prison & federal prison until 1963 and the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States.
5. LOMBARD STREET
Also commonly referred to as the “Crookedest Street” is an interesting stopover while exploring the Fisherman’s Wharf area. This famous one-block section of Lombard Street has 8 hairpin turns and cars negotiate the sharp bends with utmost skill, just like go-carting. So drive down or take the side-walk, take a few pics, enjoy the city & bay view and move on…
The Crookedest- Lombard Street
So, this was San Francisco from my eyes, but honestly, there’s so much to do and see in SF and won’t be justified to cover all in one blog. So, stay tuned in for more on SF.
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