California has an overwhelming array of natural and physical attractions to choose from so when we
were planning our three week trip we knew we would barely scratch the surface of “The Sunshine
State”. All I did know was that since the day my Grandfather sat me down to watch the Bullitt car
chase (three times in a row) and taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl playing Madan 98 I knew San
Francisco had to be top of the list.
Widely considered one of the best cities in the world “The Speak Easy” has something for everyone
whether you want high class cuisine to local street food or peace and tranquillity to adrenaline
fuelled fun; San Francisco has it all.
So here’s my list of must do things whilst in town.
1. Golden Gate Park
With so many landmarks most first time visitors don’t realise that San Francisco has one of the most impressive inner city parks in North America. At over 1000 acres Golden Gate Park is larger than the widely known Central Park in New York at a mere 800ish acres. The Park is one of San Francisco’s best landmarks both for locals and tourists due to it playing host to a wealth of different free and additional charge attractions, including The Japanese Tea Gardens which is a welcome pocket of tranquillity in the city (quick tip arrive before 10am and admission is free ), the California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum and Conservatory of Flowers.
With such a concentration of activities you could happily spend half the day just wandering around
taking in the sights, especially in the summer months. We did find though that the further west you
go the less appealing the park gets, so I would stay more central and to the east.
2. Lands’ End Park
Lands’ End Park is on the North West corner of the city on top of the cliff overlooking the bay and
Pacific Ocean. The Park has a range of short walks and trails which are popular with local runners
and walkers; it also hosts the ruins of Sutro Baths which sadly had fallen into disrepair when we
visited but could be a great landmark if taken care of.
Tucked away in the park is Eagle Point Labyrinth which is a hidden stone path/maze constructed by
local artist Eduardo Aguilera. The maze is a little tricky to find but with some pre-planning on Google
Earth you should be able to find it without too much of a problem and when you do you’ll get some
impressive views over the bay towards Marine Point and of course the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Park continues to the northeast towards China and Baker Beach both are great to have a stroll at
sun set and take in some memorable views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
3. Lombard Street
A truly iconic landmark that is known throughout the world is definitely worth a visit and taking a
drive or Segway down the twisting flower laddered road will not disappoint. Be warned though this
is a major tourist attraction which gets extremely busy and spending the whole time in a queue of
cars stopping to take photos could get irritating. We found it was better to visit later in the day as
this also allows a great opportunity to experiment with long exposures with the endless stream of
cars coming down the road.
4. Ride the trams
A trip to San Francisco just wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the cable cars. There are only
three tram lines Powell and Mason, Powell and Hyde and The California Street Line, all access
different areas of the city so if you’re just looking for the best tram experience it has to be heading
north on the Powell and Mason line. It is a flat rate of $5 each way to ride the tram (or a $13 day
pass) so you might as well get the most out of the experience so get on at the Powell Street Station
and take the line all the way down to near the sea front. The line gives you some unique views of
Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge but it is all about just taking in the experience and listening to
the stories of the drivers.
5. Golden Gate BridgeThe icon that springs to mind whenever you mention San Francisco is of course the