The City By The Bay ~ Favorite Hot Spots Around San Francisco
Got-Moxie does have some favorite cities around the world, and San Francisco is certainly one of them! Here's an insightful Moxie tour guide as you take on the vertical challenge that is the city by the bay!
Ghirardelli Square ~ If you love chocolate, ice cream, and shopping with a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, you have to stop here.
Cable Cars ~ While you are at Ghirardelli, cross the street and get in line for the cable car ride. As the car goes up the hill, you will find yourself at the top of the crookedest street in the world, Lombard Street. There are three lines that run: Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde, and California. Usually they rattle along the roads from 7a-10p. Each one is a national historic landmark that you can still ride, and they've been going since 1873. Everything you need to know about riding them is HERE.
Lombard Street ~ Located in the Russian Hill district, this is one short, but very curvy road; the crookedest road in the world. You can drive down the road from the top of the hill, one way, at five miles an hour. If you can manage it, have a friend at the bottom of the hill with a camera to take photos or record it.
Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, and the Embarcadero ~ It's a committed walk down the Embarcadero (the street curving around the land by the bay, all the docks from Pier 1 to Ghirardelli, Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39) which can take anywhere from a brisk hour to a leisurely half day, depending on how interested you are in stopping to shop and see sites. Fisherman's Wharf is a dizzying hive of activity; people, restaurants, shops, and of course, fresh seafood. Pier 39 is an outdoor mall of shops and eateries that features fun extras like piano stairs that make music as you step on them, a double decker carousel, a magic show stage, harbor cruises, and the local celebrities there; the sea lions. There's almost nothing you won't find there. Don't forget to stop for a sourdough breadbowl filled with New England clam chowder; it's a specialty here and can be bought in several places, but Moxie loves Boudin's the best.
The Exploratorium ~ Located on Pier 15, this facility is a fascinating hub of learning, exploration, imagination and discovery. Excellent stop for every age.
Chinatown ~ A neighborhood of stores, tea shops, bakeries, restaurants, and oddities, Chinatown is a large enclave of Chinese culture that encompasses several blocks of downtown San Francisco. Well worth a visit, even if you are just there to explore, but you have to get your picture taken under the massive Chinatown gate; it's part of the experience.
Grace Cathedral ~ Just up the hill from Chinatown is a significant piece of history; the huge gothic edifice of Grace Cathedral. Incredibly beautiful, with a stunning view of the city and the bay, this church celebrates many religions and after surviving the great fire in San Fran and WW2, became the birth place of the United Nations. Learn about this history in painted frescoes on the walls, and while you're there, take off your shoes and walk the meditation labyrinth in the sanctuary.
Japantown ~ West of Grace Cathedral, you will find Japantown. It is a must see on your tour; filled with history, shops, restaurants, and memorials, this is one of only three remaining true Japantowns in the country; the other two being in southern California. It is a fascinating center celebrating a beautiful culture.
Golden Gate Park ~ Keep going west and you will come to Golden Gate Park, which houses a Japanese Tea House & Garden. This is an enormous park where many concerts, celebrations, and activities take place regularly, all throughout the year.
The Presidio ~ Another enormous park, not far from Golden Gate Park, the Presidio is largely wild and natural, is well worth a visit, and is the gateway to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge ~ This is a toll bridge that spans the San Francisco Bay as well as history as of 75 years in 2013. It is the dividing line between the Pacific Ocean and the SF Bay. The bridge is a multi-lane bridge to handle all the automobile traffic, but it also allows (on the east side) pedestrian and bicycle traffic. There's a parking area on the northeast side of the bridge where one could park a vehicle and visit the bridge on foot. There's a team of painters who do nothing but paint the bridge year round; they start at one end and paint to the other end, then head back to start all over again because the weather is that hard on the paint.
Baker Beach ~ One of the best views of Golden Gate Bridge, on highway 101 take the last exit before crossing the bridge, turn right twice and you'll be there. Don't forget your camera, because this will be your shot!
Alcatraz ~ Boat tours leave Pier 39 regularly throughout the day to take tourists to the small prison island of Alcatraz. Walk through the prison and see the cells that held Al Capone and the "Birdman" Robert Stroud.
The Palace of Fine Arts ~ Check the calendar to see what events are going on while you are in San Francisco, from art exhibitions to theatre productions and concerts, this is an icon of the city that is well worth the visit.
Coit Tower ~ The tall, sleek, white tower rises up from Telegraph Hill. It is a memorial to Lillian Coit who was certainly a Moxie Girl in her own time. Make a quick stop in Pioneer Park to see it as you go down the Embarcadero.
The Painted Ladies ~ San Francisco streets are lined in many areas with Victorian and Edwardian style townhomes, painted in a wide array of colors. These 'painted ladies' are a signature trademark of the city by the bay. One of the best rows (Postcard Row) is at 710-720 Steiner St., across from Alamo Square Park.
Haight-Ashbury ~ A neighborhood named for the intersection of the streets of the same name, this is a central hub of hippie culture and has an interesting history that peaked in the sixties and seventies.
The Ferry Building ~ Sprawling along the Embarcadero, the Ferry Building is the terminal for ferries that traverse the bay, as well as housing a popular marketplace on the ground floor. The clock tower sitting atop the building chimes on the hour throughout the day.