If you’ve ever thought about hitting the roads of America, perhaps San Francisco is the place to start? If so, these top 7 things to do in San Francisco should help you to plan your trip!
2 years ago, myself and my family took our first trip to America. We travelled down the West Coast, from San Francisco, to LA, to Las Vegas, and back to San Francisco, all whilst stopping at multiple landmarks and tourist spots.
As America is such an expansive country, and each area we visited has its own little quirks and places to visit, I thought I’d do a little series for you all, discussing each major city we visited, and then a general overview of our trip down the West coast, and the stops we made.
This way, for anyone who wants to visit this area, either again or for the first time, I can tell you my favourite parts, and parts to perhaps miss out. It’s certainly all a game of trial and error for anyone travelling somewhere for the first time, so I’m hoping this will make your planning perhaps a little easier…
When in San Fransisco, do as the San Fransiscans do! This little mode of transport was great, as the streets of this big city were so hilly, so it was super tiring to walk through the roads. We did certainly do our hand of exploring on foot, but it was nice to take the tram to dining destinations. It was also fun to experience the hop-on-hop-off service they provided, as it’s something we don’t really have in Britain (probably for health and safety reasons!).
2. Golden Gate Bridge
This is probably the most obvious landmark to see in San Fransisco. There are multiple viewpoints you can observe it from, and you can also drive along it (which we did, as you can see from the pictures). This angle reminds me a little of the Severn Bridge, only a lot larger, and much more red! Word has it that the bridge is so long, that once maintenance across the whole bridge is completed, the maintenance people must begin all the way from the start of the bridge again, almost immediately!
3. Lombard Street
This is another well-known street in the city, known for its windy nature. It’s a hub for skateboarders, and is such an unusual sight to see!
4. Pier 39
I loved this part of the city. There were so many piers off its coast, and you could simply walk along the coast and step onto each one as you went. Some of the piers were busier than others, as a few were very large, with multiple restaurants and cafes, and others were a little quieter, but each had something different about it.
My favourite pier HAD to be pier 39 – home to the gorgeous (and very smelly) sea lions! They were so cute, and were just enjoying the warmth, and attention, they received whilst resting on these wooden floats.
You see that one near the edge of the platform nearest me, who was taking the picture? I remember, he was drifting off and, like a human, woke up suddenly when he felt himself almost roll straight off his perch! He startled awake, and it was just the sweetest thing to witness.
5. China Town
On one of the days, we took a long walk to china town, where there were so many little stores with nick-knacks, and all sorts you could buy. There were also loads of restaurants here to take your pick from.
6. The Musée Mécanique
I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures here (it must have been due to the amusement we found here, which distracted me), but this was such a memorable spot. It’s this tent-like fixture, housing hundreds of very oldy-worldy arcade games, and puppeteer machines, very much reminding me of the film Big, starring Tom Hanks. We enjoyed a lovely few games of pac-man, and my dad took the high-score in Asteroids (he was certainly on well-trodden ground in this regard, having grown up with these sorts of games as a teenager).
We had first seen this place in The Princess Diaries, when Anne Hathway’s character takes Julie Andrews’ character to the city to let her in on what her life is like. They go to this arcade, and arm wrestle with one of the machines… we found this machine, and had a go, and it was very, very strong! I would definitely recommend this spot, as the games were so cheap, pretty much working on old prices, and it transported you back to the 19th and 20th centuries!
This was one of the most exciting parts of our whole holiday, and was the last thing we did before we caught our flight home. If you haven’t watched Escape from Alcatraz, I would advise you watch it before you visit the prison, as it makes it that more real – you can just picture the events happening before you, as you explore the premises.
When we arrived, we were given a little talk, and then taken into the shower areas, where the new prisoners were searched, washed with cold water, and dressed in their prison garms. We were provided with little headphones and devices, so we could explore at our own pace, listening to all the information as we went.
We were taken to the kitchens, the cells, solitary confinement, the warden’s office, the communications room, etc., and were told about the individuals who worked and resided there. It was amazing, and I would most likely go again if I got the chance – it was just so interesting. I won’t give too much more away but, if you ever find yourself in the city of San Francisco, 110% go here.
So, I hope this little guide to San Francisco will help you out if you’re planning a trip to this wonderful city. I would 10/10 recommend it.