48 Hours in San Francisco, California Day 1
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I flew to San Francsico for a weekend in mid-May 2009. The flight was very early on a Friday morning where everyone is bleary eyed, grumpy and anxious for that first cup of coffee. :)
With the time change, I got into San Francisco early, dropped off my bag and headed straight to buy a MUNI Passport. If you are planning on visiting San Francisco for any time period, this a great value, which can be used on cable cars, buses, trains or anything MUNI operates. At U.S. $5.00 per cable car ride, a MUNI Passport is a bargain. A useful tip is that MUNI passes can be bought at the make-up counter at the Walgreens Pharmacy at the intersection of Powell and Sutter Streets.
Once I had my MUNI pass, I headed downtown to one of my favorite places--the Farmers Market at the Ferry Terminal. If you are a foodie, there are all sorts of fantastic food shops including a cheese shop, mushroom shop, ice cream shop or olive oil shop to name a few. Outside are benches were you can watch the Bay Bridge and the ferries from Oakland arrive. It's a nice place to sit outside, have lunch (I bought some cheese and bread for a lunch) or a snack and look at beautiful views of the bay. Outside the Ferry Terminal, there are street artists and musicians, which are lots of fun.
From the Ferry Building, I walked toward Coit Tower in Telegraph Hill. The view from Coit Tower is incredible, but the hike is very steep. Going up, I passed two English tourists walking downhill, who warned about the steep steps. I "huffed and puffed" to the top and must have looked pretty bad as two other tourists stepped aside saying "You're almost there". The view from the top is worth the climb. You can see way out to Golden Gate Bridge (which is painted orange to be more recognizable in fog) and Alcatraz Prison.
The cable cars are a great way to get around and I rode the cars to both Ghirardelli Square and the Pacific Heights neighborhood to see the Octagon House (eight sided house built in the 1800s).
Walking through Pacific Heights and down to the Marina is a nice and relaxing walk. At the Marina, you are far enough away from Fisherman's Wharf (and the masses of tourists) to really see the bay. You are also closer to the Golden Gate Bridge for fantastic views, which always bring a smile.
I ended the day walking through Chinatown where there are all sorts of deals. I think my favorite sign advertised "quality" t-shirts for only U.S. $1.00 per shirt.
It was the end of a great first day in San Francisco.
To be continued...