Posts Tagged ‘Urban hike’
Yes, the famous parrots. Not as many bees as there are flowers. And, last but not the least – the stairs – lots of them.
Telegraph Hill is where Coit Tower sits. You can’t miss Coit Tower if you are in San Francisco. You can see it from far and wide, standing out like a light house which it is not. Long time back, and for San Francisco, 150 years is a long time ago, Telegraph Hill used to be a bald hill. Because of the line of visibility, the location was used as a semaphore line. The role of the obervatory was to note the type of shipping vessel crossing Golden Gate Strait and let the town folk know. Even now, in spite of the dense foliage on the hill, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.
What have we got at the edge of San Francisco? Sutro baths of course. Our very own modern ruins. And fog. I doubt a hundred years have changed the course of San Francisco’s weather. So, who built a public bath house on a generally cold and often foggy beach? A rich dude, of course. In 1896, Mr. Sutro, who owned most of San Francisco’s western front, built an indoor swimming pool, in fact a set of seven swimming pools, at a cost of over a million dollars. Why? I guess, because he could.
Choose a day that isn’t too cold. Start the walk from Ferry Plaza. If you start on a Saturday, you will be able to pick up your lunch from the Farmer’s market. When you are done exploring Ferry Plaza, start walking westwards and stay as close to the bay as possible. Many of these piers offer pedestrian walkways. The route is unmistakable, so there is little to no chance of getting lost. If you are planning on completing the hike, plan on walking about 10-12 miles and spending anywhere between 3-6 hours.
Here is what you will see on this hike – San Francisco skyline from several vista points, sailboats dotting the sea, yachts moored at the harbors, large container ships crossing underneath the Golden Gate bridge, kites doing acrobatic maneuvers by the marina, kids playing in big or small groups, people of all ages sunbathing or jogging, couples of all genders holding hands or kissing, buildings with military architecture – extensions of Presidio. In spring, you will see Crissy Field in a wildflower bloom.
At first glance, San Francisco’s Chinatown appears to be a collection of trinket shops. Only during the Chinese New Year celebration does this place truly come alive and then one has to be prepared to brave the cold winter rains which often afflicts the celebration, and huge crowds.
North Beach, the Italian sector of San Francisco – great location, great food, and great views. Just don’t come looking for a beach.
Are you a San Franciscan? Do you stay away from the wharf because you consider it to be touristy?
Tell me this – what is not to like at the waterfront – one of the best views as far as eyes can see, and loaded with history too. Yes, the touristy stores. They are there everywhere including Chinatown. They have large banners in front of them screaming “touristy”, so not too hard to avoid, right? And the performance artists, they are amusing if not fascinating.
After doing the touristy spots of the Wharf and North beach, Nob Hill, Chinatown and Union square, what is the next best thing San Francisco city has to offer. Is it the Golden Gate park or Crissy Field? In my mind, it is the Mission District. But it is a bit overwhelming to plan and navigate if you are new to the place. And, yes, it can be a bit scary seeing the run down buses and ghetto neighborhoods if you take a wrong turn. So, let me take you on a short walking tour that will be fun and full of local flavors.
I had seen some of the Mission murals when I had been in the neighborhood. But never before had I made any special effort to go see the Murals. So, last weekend I decided to rectify the matter. There are several murals in the Mission District – on 24th street, Mission, Valencia, on the Women’s Building. But there are two main hotspots for murals in Mission District, one is Balmy Alley and the other is Clarion Alley.