San Francisco in Two Days - Part II

Day Two is time to work off the seafood and Dim Sum. Starting off at Union Square, walk east down Post Street for three blocks, allowing you to take in many of the skyscrapers - some dating back over a century - of the financial district, with their ornately decorated roofs and wrought-iron staircases.

Carry on down Market Street until you get to One Bush Plaza, a clearing in the concrete jungle where you can see sky. Then turn back west down Bush to Grant Street, where the small green-roofed Chinatown Gate is, just before being overwhelmed by big buildings.

Now it’s time to properly explore Chinatown, with hole in the wall shops hawking trinkets, souvenirs, and other bric-a-brac tempt travellers. Have a look around for something to take home as gift for your family.

Just carry on walking down Grant, past the Chinatown shops adorned with their flags and red lanterns that illuminate the street at night towards Broadway and Columbus streets. Here you want to stop briefly to get a photo looking straight down Columbus towards the earthquake-proof Trans-America skyscraper, with the wooden green Columbus Tower, looking a bit old but still an iconic landmark.

Keep going east a block on Broadway past the adult video shops and strip clubs with names like ‘Big Al’s Nude Girls’, until you reach Kearny street. Go left up towards the Coit Tower.

As you hoof up Telegraph Hill, the hustle and bustle of downtown is left behind as you walk by multicoloured wooden houses, perhaps a couple of mom-and-pop stores or hole in the wall coffee shop where you can join locals hanging out.

It’s a tough walk but keep going towards the Coit Tower, and go slowly to take in this pretty eastern edge of Little Italy. At the corner of Kearny and Filbert, take the steps up to the Coit, and enjoy a stroll through the pine trees of pioneer park. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see west towards the Golden Gate and Marin County mountains. Take it in, then head up the tower. (10am - 5pm Daily; $4.50 Adults; $3.50 Seniors 65+; $2.00 Children 6-12; Children under 6 are free.)

 

At the viewpoint on top of this 1930s-era monument, relax and enjoy the 360-degree view, looking from the open Pacific across the bay towards San Pablo and Alcatraz Island, before the waters fall south towards Oakland, finally absorbing the panorama of Downtown San Francisco with its jostle of skyscrapers.

Once you’ve recovered from tramping up Telegraph Hill, it’s time to head back down Filbert Street towards Washington Square - the heart of Little Italy - where the whitewashed spires of St. Peter and Paul Church provide the skyline as you walk through the trees on the square.

Take another break at Michelangelo’s Café. Order lunch, or at least a couple of its fine espressos for an energy boost, as you’re going to need it for the next hike up Russian Hill. But before you set off, enjoy the stained glass lampshade and stone-sculptured figurines that must have evoked memories of the old country to the early Italian immigrants.

The next stage of the journey takes you up Columbus past the North Beach Playground and west onto Lombard street. Keep walking towards the top of Russian Hill, and Lombard suddenly becomes the most crooked street in America! Narrow sharp curves wind around manicured flowerbeds and stately Victorian mansions. Watch as cars slowly meander downhill.

At the top of this windy street, stop and look back, for your efforts will now be rewarded by a vista across Little Italy, out over the Bay and down to Fisherman’s Wharf, and finally the Coit Tower perched atop Telegraph Hill.

The last step of the journey involves no walking at all. Just catch a southbound cable car from the Lombard-Hyde crossroads and enjoy being whisked back past more Victorian houses via Nob Hill to Union Square. Make sure to hold on to the railings - the ride can be crowded - with sudden stops and starts. A single ticket costs $3.

Try standing at the rear at the car near the driver, that way you’ll enjoy the view some more as your cable car powers up and down San Francisco’s many steep hills. Stay on the car until it reaches Powell and Geary Streets at Union Square, back where you started out. End your day by browsing the Borders bookstore just across Post Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco is a vast city whose various quaint neighbourhoods sprawl across an entire peninsula framed by the hills around the bay - and a major earthquake fault to boot - larger than most Canadian cities. Nonetheless, determined tourists who don

t mind a bit of a walk can knock the city off in two days flat.

 

A good place to start your day is the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, whose multi-coloured Victorian homes and street murals of local art - including an image of Bob Marley on Haight Street - promise a mix of funky bars, hookah shops, and other stores selling marijuana products such as bongs.

 

Next, drive west along Haight Street to Golden Gate Park, cruising along its leafy northern edge before heading right on Park Presidio Boulevard towards the world-famous red bridge.

 

From here, you have a choice of continuing north, where they can experience breathtaking views of the Marin County mountains at the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Once there, a viewpoint offers a panorama of downtown San Francisco on a clear day, or out over the Pacific Ocean, where there

s nothing but water between here and the coast of Japan 5000 miles away.

 

The second choice is turning right down Highway 101, heading along Marina Boulevard and Bay Street before parking at Fisherman

s Wharf. Once at the wharf, head towards the

restaurants and street-stands around Pier 39 that serve fresh seafood, most notably Dungeness crab in a sourdough bread bowl. It makes a great lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More:

More in Travel

Great places to hike in British Columbia

These awesome BC hikes are some of the world's most beautiful.

Top 8 Vancouver Day Trips: British Columbia's beautiful hot springs

British Columbia's beautiful hot springs offer vacationers a relaxing way of being in nature or just kicking back. Get your soak on.

Sunshine Coast a year-round outdoor haven with plenty of 'Beachcombers'

Howe Sound is glass-still on the voyage from Gibsons Landing to Keats Island, save for the odd motorboat wake jostling the kayak. The peace is also broken momentarily as a seal bursts out of the...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.