San Francisco, California  
     
   

 

 

San Francisco is one of America's most tourist-friendly cities... chock full of attractions. The area has natural beauty, rich history, world-class museums, a great ballpark and lots of kitschy-family friendly stuff. San Francisco is similar to Manhattan as it is very densely populated. The entire city of San Francisco occupies only 47 square miles (as compared to Los Angeles' 470 square miles). Traffic and parking can be difficult, but everything is within a short cab, bus or trolley ride of everything else.

We visited these San Francisco attractions...

The Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts - Billing itself as the "museum of science, art and human perception", The Exploratorium is a large above-average science museum with lots of kid-friendly hands-on exhibits. My kids (13 & 15) and I found the "human perception" exhibits to be the most fascinating.

Golden Gate Bridge - This American icon has vista points with parking areas on each side. The south vista point (San Francisco side) has limited metered parking. It also has a cafe and gift shop. The photo at the top of this page was snapped there. The north vista point is accessible from the northbound lane only. It has ample free parking.

Muir Woods National Monument - Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods provides an opportunity to experience majestic coastal redwood trees without straying too far from town. Located about 1/2 hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods has short, easy hiking trails among the giant fauna.

Fisherman's Wharf - Please understand that Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 have evolved into little more that a kitschy tourist trap... not that that's necessarily a bad thing... It's just not  The area is crowded and full of overpriced restaurants and souvenir shops. On the plus side, Pier 39 looks nice and is fairly clean and well-maintained. The area has some very entertaining (and some mediocre) street performers.

Bay Quackers Tours - Provides a 90-minute amphibious tour of San Francisco. They'll even let you drive while you're in the water.

Alcatraz Island - Like Muir Woods, this former prison is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

de Young Museum - Located in beautiful Golden Gate Park, this amazing art museum features American art from the 17th through 20th centuries as well as art from the native Americas, Africa and the Pacific.

Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood - In the sixties, this neighborhood was hippie culture's ground zero. It's a bit more commercial today, but the colorfully dressed residents, flower child boutiques and numerous head shops  indicate that the spirit of Hippiedom is alive and well.

Lombard Street - Claimed to be the world's crookedest street, Lombard Street has got to be probably San Francisco's goofiest tourist attraction. In reality, it is neither the crookedest nor the steepest street in San Francisco... let alone the world... but hey, it's quick, easy and free.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - This museum of contemporary art has conventional paintings and sculpture as well as some waaayyyy-out-there avant garde exhibits.

AT&T Park - Home of the San Francisco Giants, this stadium has beautiful waterfront views, a huge restaurant, countless food and souvenir vendors and plenty of kid-friendly activities. It's one of the best of the new generation of ballparks.

 
     
     
     
    SAN FRANCISCO PHOTOS - JULY, 2006  
    CLICK THUMBNAILS FOR LARGER IMAGE  
             
    SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE   GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE   GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE   GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE   VICTORIAN HOUSES  
                       
             
    PALACE OF FINE ARTS   PALACE OF FINE ARTS   THE EXPLORATORIUM AT TKE PALACE OF FINE ARTS   THE EXPLORATORIUM   THE EXPLORATORIUM  
                       
             
    THE EXPLORATORIUM   THE EXPLORATORIUM   MUIR WOODS NAT'L MONUMENT   MUIR WOODS   UNION SQUARE  
                       
             
    ALCATRAZ   ALCATRAZ ISLAND   ALCATRAZ ISLAND   ALCATRAZ   ALCATRAZ  
                       
             
    GHIRARDELLI SQUARE   FISHERMANS WHARF AREA   BAY QUACKERS TOUR AMPHIBIOUS VEHICLE   BAY QUACKERS TOUR   ALCATRAZ  
                       
             
    PIER 39 - FISHERMANS WHARF AREA   MODERN ART ON THE WATERFRONT & BAY BRIDGE   SOURDOUGH LOBSTERS   LOMBARD STREET   CHINATOWN  
                       
             
    HAIGHT-ASHBURY   HAIGHT-ASHBURY   HAIGHT-ASHBURY   JOE'S GRILL   JOE'S GRILL  
                       
             
    VIEW FROM DE YOUNG MUSEUM TOWER   DE YOUNG MUSEUM AT GOLDEN GATE PARK   SCULPTURE AT DE YOUNG MUSEUM   SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART   SOMETHING YOU DON'T SEE EVERY DAY  
                       
             
    AT&T PARK   WILLIE MAYS STATUE AT&T PARK   AT&T PARK   "MCCOVEY COVE" AT AT&T PARK   BARRY BONDS  
                       
                   
    THE ARGONAUT HOTEL   THE ARGONAUT HOTEL