With bird´s eye...
The Coit Tower is located on a hill that rises above the San Francisco´s streets.It has been a city landmark and a tourist attraction since 1933.
San Francisco´s Tower history begins with a woman named Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She was a very rich woman from San Francisco high society and she donated money to the city to build a monument in her name.
Lillie Hitchcock Coit was a San Francisco´s resident and donated money to build this beauty.She was an eccentric character,a bit unruly,but very much loved by the community.
She came from a wealthy family who moved to San Francisco when she was still young.Shortly after moving to San Francisco,Lillie was saved from a fire by the firefighters of the local number 5.
Since then,Lillie has spent most of her time at the firehouse.She was so present there,that they named her their official mascot.
Following the building completion in 1933,the city commissioned to the U.S.Government Public Works Art Project to add murals to the interior tower.The murals depict California and San Francisco´s life in the late 1920s and 1930s.
The artists assigned to the project created works of art inspired in Diego Rivera.After its completion,many of the murals have received a lot of press coverage.The murals were very controversial and many questioned the stories that were told on the murals.
The Coit Tower murals were revitalized in 2014 and restored to their glory former.This was the first
time the murals have been redone since they were completed in 1930s.Nowadays they have a much better aspect and we can see some extra details that had begun to fade a bit.
This attraction main level is free of charge but what we will recommend you is to go to the top of the tower to enjoy the 360° view.Going by elevator costs eight dollars.From there,you will have to climb about 40 stairs to get the top.The stairs are quite steep and tend to be a bit crowded,so it is better to organize your time for having a chance to get the top.
The observation deck windows are quite small,but they offer many magnificent city views.Most of the time,some windows are open which help you having a clear view and the opportunity of taking some nice San Francisco´s attractions pictures.
You may remain on the observation deck as long as you wish.Normally when you finish,you will have to queue for elevator take you down to the first floor.
The top is also open on the deck,so be prepared for the rainy days.
The most original for the senses
With more than 4,300 restaurants,San Francisco offers one of the most outstanding dining scenes in the country.The city even has the reputation of being one of the best places to eat internationally.The Californian city offers a great variety of restaurants for all tastes and budgets such as:street tacos and others delicacies from around the world,including good vegetarian options.Also we cannot forget mentioning the haute international cuisine,headed by Michelin-starred restaurants.
But there is one thing you cannot leave the city without trying.It is the famous IT´S IT.But what is this?It is the most famous frozen sandwich of San Francisco.It is not only a sandwich but also a lifestyle,as the Californian people say.
In 1928 Gerge Whitney came up with the idea of putting a vanilla ice-cream scoop between two freshly baked oatmeal cookies.Then he dipped them in a delicious dark chocolate and began to sell them.The delicious salty sweetness was declared by all as IT,thus giving to this ice-cream sandwich its peculiar name.
For the next 40 years,these delicacies were sold to visitors at playland-at-the San Francisco Beach.
Its popularity was so great and has grown so much since them that San Francisco´s expatriates began spreading the recipe and looking for them to take as samples around the world.And how did they do?Offering pictures as a chrome taking them home and displaying them to say:look!This is what I ate today!
After all these years,the recipes are still the same,remain unchanged...even the packaging is done by hand,reaching more than 100,000 units per day.
Is that´s better...don´t you think?
Nowadays we find the IT´S IT with the multiple fillings and multiple toppings,to satisfy all palates,even the most demanding ones.
A thousand way to buy
Like other American cities,San Francisco is full of interesting places to buy clothes,gifts and also electronic products.You can buy everything from the latest fashions to high-end tablets and laptops,from vinyl records to 80´s jeans.You will find everything at good prices.
We will recommend the best places to shop according to your interest:
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a mix of mainstream stores at the Central Pier
and full of unusual shopping opportunities that only a farmer´s market mixed with some fine dining stores can provide.This is a nice place to have lunch or brunch.
Filmore Street is a cacophony of fashion stores mixed with other ones more picturesque.Particularly noteworthy are some of the restaurants and bars locates on this street.
Haight Street- Haight Ashbury is known worldwide for its 1970s history.It still maintains that hippie atmosphere but mixes modernity with urban elegance.It is worth a visit for the colorful fun you will find in this street.
Hayes Valley-Hayes Street has an earthy and modern atmosphere and features some of the most interesting and elegant clothing stores,as well as wonderful restaurants.
North Beach District
North Beach is full of old world Italian charm.Even though is full of establishments to eat and drink,you will find many interesting and modern shops and many old-fashioned and old-world Italian delicatessen and bakeries.
Sacramento Street has a very elegant atmosphere and many stores catering the very wealthy,as well as great restaurants and some unique shops such as one that sells ribbons.There are also many interior and home design stores.
Union Square is a large shopping center in San Francisco.This is where you will find all the big brands and luxury stores.Union Square is made up of blocks buildings that house all those large stores,as well as two enclosed shopping areas.One is a semi-enclosed cluster of stores and borders the financial district called Crocker Gallery.The biggest mall jewel is Westfield´s San Francisco Centre containing Nordstrom and Bloomingdales.In the center of all is located Union Square which is guarded by some of the largest department stores in San Francisco.At the center of all is located Union Square guarded by some of the biggest department stores such as Macy´s,Neiman Marcus,Saks e Barneys.
Union Street is often confused by visitors with Union Square,but it is very different.The Union Street highlight is the stores´ Victorian architecture.You will find a lot of interesting small stores with fashionable tendency,but also including classic styles.There are also many jewelry and goldsmiths shops at Union Street.If you are getting engaged or are looking for a beautiful ornament...this is the right street to be on.There are more jewelry stores per district on Union Street than in any other.
A photo of a thousand colors.
The famous “Painted Ladies of San Francisco”also know as “Postcard Row” or “Seven Sisters”,are a colorful Victorian houses´ row situated between 710-720 at Steiner Street,in front of Alamo Square.These Queen Anne style houses are one of thousands built in San Francisco during its bourgeoning growth in the late XIX century.Its brightly colored building have become a basic element of the popular culture and they are the most recognized examples of California Victorian architecture.
Although the term “Painted Ladies”was first used by the writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in his book in 1978:Painted Ladies-San Francisco´s Resplendent Victorians,this style of row houses was being built since 1860s.San Francisco´s Victorian building boom began after the Gold Rush in 1849,when the city´s population grew from 800 to 25,000 inhabitants in one year.With the new inhabitants´ arrival the demand for new houses increased.During the 1860s and 1870s,these houses were built in the Queen Anne style and originally were painted with a stained white for disguising its red wooden structure and resemble stone.
Although many Nob Hill mansions were destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake,thousands of simple mass-produced houses survived in the western and southern neighborhoods of the city.
Although each one of the “Painted Ladies” has unique colors and details,they strictly follow the architectural style of Queen Anne.Its distinctive features include:
- An asymmetrical façade with a dominant upper pediment,cantilevered beyond the plane of the lower wall.
- Protruding overhangs and detailed eaves.
- Corner tower and dominant
- Gingerbread style gables.
- A small porch covering the main entrance area.
- Different textures on the walls,including wood titles stamped with different designs.
- Columns,spindles and classic painted balustrades.
- Panoramic cut-out windows.
- Intricate colored glass panels.
Each house has a polychromatic color treatment in different shades of purple,yellow,blue and green.These vibrant,pastel colors accentuate the asymmetrical arrangement of the façades and highlight the patterns and textures created by the machines cutouts that were shipped by train to the outer border from the eastern zone.House painting has evolved over the years,symbolizing both artistic expression and creative impulse.
Over the years,the “Painted Ladies”have come to symbolize San Francisco´s architectural traditions and are a basic element in the city´s landscape.The widely popularized revival of the San Francisco´s Painted Ladies,not only catalyzed the growing interest in Victorian architecture,but also contributed to expand the appreciation of all historic houses over the next decades.
One single visit...
There are lots of funny things to do in San Francisco.If you are near Fisherman´s Wharf,you will definitely have a wish to visit the USS Pampanito (SS-383).This Balao class submarine is not only an impressive spectacle but also a floating museum and a monument to the Navy´s silent service submarines.
It is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and is one of the many incredible places that cannot be missed.There are many reasons for you spending few hours learning more about this underwater craft(and maybe also about other interesting places located in this part of the city).This submarine went into operation for the first time on July 12,1934.It was sent to Pearl Harbor and 10 years later(after seeing a lot of action during World War II),this submarine returned,where it was decommissioned at Mare Island at the end of December 1945.
Throughout the years,USS Pampanito embarked on six different war patrols in the Pacific Ocean,damaging four Japanese ships and sinking six others.During this period,the submarine received six Word War II battle star.Although it suffered several damages in its first patrol,it was not enough to put the submarine out of service.With some repairs,Pampanito was ready for going back into operations.
After being retired from service,Pampanito remained inoperable for 15 years until it was reintroduced as a naval training submarine at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard.In 1976,it became a monument and museum,although it was not opened to the public until March 1982.
We are sure you will want to do the submarine audioguide tour which starts on the main deck aft.You will be able to see everything along the tour,from the radio room till the torpedos room.There is a wide variety of objects on exhibition in the surrounding area.The audio and former on-board staff provide interesting informations about all.
When contemplating the submarine´s beauty,you will notice that there is a broom flying from the submarine´s mast.This was to celebrate the fact that the Pampanito made a clean sweep of sea´s enemies.
There are many submarine´s parts that still work such as the engines and one of the torpedo tubes.There is even an ice-cream machine on board,in case you feel like having a tasty snack while looking around.
You can learn a lot while exploring the historical submarine.When you have finished visiting this beautiful attraction itself,you will probably want to take a look at other activities and places in this part of San Francisco.
A visit that will give you goose bumps...
The federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 and which was home to some of America´s most notorious criminals brought a dark mystique to “The Rock”.The presence of infamous prisoners such as Al “Scarface”Capone and the “Bird Man”,Robert Stroud,helped establishing the island´s notoriety.However,many people are unaware of its historical importance before and after it became one of the most legendary prisons in the world.Civil War era buildings,canons and subway rooms provide an insight into the XIX century,when the island served both as a port defense fort and as a military prison.Upon docking at Alcatraz Island,visible reminders of the American Indian occupation,which began in 1969 and ended in 1971,are engraved on “The Rock”,recognizing an important milestone in the American Indian rights movement.
Allow yourself at least three hours for the entire trip.You may spend more time once you start exploring the prison and the island.
Once on the island,there are free guided tours conducted by the Park Service staff and the Alcatraz Prison self audio-guided tours,included in the ticket.You are also free to explore the island and the buildings that remain from the time when Alcatraz was a fort and military prison.During the Civil War,Confederate prisoners were held there and during the World War I,the prison housed war prisoners and objects of conscience.In other occasions,it was used as a palisade for U.S military prisoners.
The boat trip to Alcatraz Island takes about 15 minutes.There is no presentation during the trip,but the views of the city and its bay during the ride are amazing.
Alcatraz has an incredible view of San Francisco´s horizon.If you go down to the southern part of the island (facing the city),there is a walkway along it with a spectacular view of the city.Both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge are also visible from this side.
Really it is something different that will stay in your memories forever,knowing this piece of history is priceless.
Tickets can be purchased at Pier 39.There are many companies there.The price of this excursion is around 45 dollars.
A journey into the past...the first.
San Francisco of Asis was founded on October 9,1776.The emblematic mission church is the oldest intact building in San Francisco.Popularly called Dolores Mission,the chapel contains some of the most sophisticated religious art in the mission chain.The cemetery is a well landscaped oasis in the middle of a busy city.
The only intact chapel in 21 missions chain established under the Priest Serra´s direction.The mission was a steadfast witness to the San Francisco´s history,including the Californian Gold Rush and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.The Mission Cemetery is the only one within the city limits.It is the final resting place of numerous people such as:Ohlone,Miwok and other first locals,as well as notable Californian pioneers.
The Cemetery and the Dolores Mission Gardens are adjacent to the old mission.The beautiful gardens have been restored and planted with traditional native trees,shrubs,flowers and plants from 1791.The rose garden was a gift from the Golden Gate Rose Society and is tended by members of the society each week.Our Garden also contains an Ohlone Indian ethnobotanical garden and examples of Native American plants and artifacts.
Dolores Mission is the final resting place of around 5,000 such as: Ohlone,Miwok and other early Californians who built Dolores Mission and were the first members and founders.Other notable people were:the Mexico´s first governor,Luis Antonio Arguello,the first commander´s Prison,the lieutenant Moraga, and the Surveillance Committee´s victims,Cora,Casey and Sullivan.The cemetery markers date from 1830 to about 1898.
Knowing this church is really entering into the true city´s religious history and why not,this country´s history.
When you enter you can feel the energy that surrounds this building.
The best way to enjoy this red colossus...
If you are planning to cross the Golden Gate Bridge by bike,we will suggest you a good bike rental place to start in order to save you valuable time,avoiding unnecessary hassle.
Telling you the truth:there is a hill at the beginning of the Golden Gate Bridge that you cannot avoid,no matter where your rental begins.You can avoid other San Francisco´s crazy hills by renting your bike in Fisherman´s Wharf,where most of the city´s stores are located.You will have to go over two hills before reaching the bridge.
It is very funny and pleasant to cross the Golden Gate Bridge by bike.To avoid surprises and to make your experience even better,check out these tips and plan ahead.
You may have heard about San Francisco´s fog and that sometimes the bridge disappears with it.
There is no way to predict the weather,but there is usually less fog during the late morning and early afternoon hours.Check the weather forecast before planning your bike rental in San Francisco.
It´s always windy on the bridge.So,it´s is a good idea to wear a light jacket even in summer.
The bridge has two sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists.Crossing the bridge by bike is free of charge.The east sidewalk opens before 3.30 p.m. on weekdays for both pedestrians and bicyclists only.You will see signs once you are at the beginning of the bridge indicating which side is for bicyclists at that time.
We recommend that you start early during these busy days.
The Golden Gate Bridge is open 24 hours a day,seven days a week.
Occasionally,a road closure/disconnection,near or on the bridge sidewalk could happen,but it should be momentary.
This bike rental company is located at 2157 Lombard Street and prices range from 30 dollars.
Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the best way to get to know a city.
Coffee and sea lions...
Pier 39 began to be developed in August 1977,thanks to the entrepreneur Warren Simmons.The construction was completed throughout 1978 and the Pier was officially inaugurated on October 4th of that year.At its inauguration,the pier´s attractions included 50 stores,23 restaurants,a plunge pool and street performers.Some of the initial restaurants are still active today such as Pier Market Seafood Restaurant,The Eagle Café and the Swiss Louis Italian&Seafood Restaurant.
Over the years,more attractions were added.In 1979,the Blue and the Gold Fleet began to organize cruises in the bay.In 1996,the Underwater World Aquarium was inaugurated and became the Aquarium of the Bay.Over the years,restaurants have also been added such as Gump Shrimp Co. in 1996,Crab House in 1998,Hard Rock Café in 2002 and the most notably:Forbes Islands in 1999,which remains the only man-made floating islands restaurants in the world.
One of the Pier 39 most recognizable characteristics are the sea lions that it attracts.Sea lions began arriving at the docks surrounding the pier in January 1990,attracting local and international attention.The sea lion population began to increase over the years,reaching its peak in November 2009,when 1,701 sea lions were counted.As a result,the city added six new floats to the dock to accommodate more sea lions.Few years later,the Sea Lions Center opened at Pier 39,offering the visitors a variety of resources to help them learning more about Californian sea lions.
Over the past few decades,Pier 39 has received many awards for its popularity.In 1989,USA Today
named it the third most visited attraction in the country.In 2011,the San Francisco Travel Association ranked the pier as the city´s most visited attraction.We recommend you sitting in one of its many bars and enjoy the atmosphere that surrounds it.
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