48 Hours in San Francisco, California Day 1

San Francisco Travel Blog

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Cable car crossing of two lines.

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.

Ferry Terminal Farmers Market
  Most guidebooks will send you to Visitor Information on Powell at Market, where lines are very long.  There are no lines at Walgreens.

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.

Octagon House in Pacific Heights
  There are local farmers markets on Saturday as well.

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).

Ghirardelli Square
  The cable cars are great fun, but depending on the driver (most are nice), as a tourist, you may get some flack.  On one car, the driver would shout at visitors "Come on tourists, hurry up".  I actually saw one car filled with tourists sitting at a stop in the middle of a route while the driver ran across the street to pick up his take-out pizza.  The locals clearly love their cable cars.  I saw one resident offer a driver fresh strawberries that she had just bought from the farmers market.

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.

Ghirardelli
  The Marina is not far from Ghirardelli Square where you can sample the chocolate special of the day (the peanut butter chocolate is great).  There is also a cupcake shop in the Square called Kara's Cupcakes.  While one cupcake is expensive at U.S. $3.00, it is really, really good.  I had one chocolate iced cupcake and it was so filling, it was almost a meal.

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...

 

 

 

 

 

bugjuice says:
Donna...now your making miss SF gee now I have to take the trip soon LOL
Posted on: Sep 10, 2009
marix_sublime says:
donna, i could clearly see the cable car, pizza and cupcake! hahaha...it seemed such an enjoyable experience:)
Posted on: Jun 11, 2009
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Cable car crossing of two lines.
Cable car crossing of two lines.
Ferry Terminal Farmers Market
Ferry Terminal Farmers Market
Octagon House in Pacific Heights
Octagon House in Pacific Heights
Ghirardelli Square
Ghirardelli Square
Ghirardelli
Ghirardelli
Winery in Ghirardelli Square
Winery in Ghirardelli Square
Historic ships near Hyde Street Pi…
Historic ships near Hyde Street P…
Golden Gate in the fog
Golden Gate in the fog
Cable Car
Cable Car
Coit Tower
Coit Tower
Another view of a cable car.
Another view of a cable car.
Rose bushes hiking to Coit Tower.
Rose bushes hiking to Coit Tower.
Climbing the stairs on the way to …
Climbing the stairs on the way to…
Outdoor farmers market at the Ferr…
Outdoor farmers market at the Fer…
Mushroom Shop at the Ferry Terminal
Mushroom Shop at the Ferry Terminal
Water bird near Golden Gate Bridge
Water bird near Golden Gate Bridge
Wedding on the beach near Golden G…
Wedding on the beach near Golden …
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge with some fog
Golden Gate Bridge with some fog
Golden Gate Bridge--very foggy
Golden Gate Bridge--very foggy
Pelican near Golden Gate
Pelican near Golden Gate
Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts
Another view--this is a popular sp…
Another view--this is a popular s…
Friendly gull at the palace--peopl…
Friendly gull at the palace--peop…
Inside--beautiful architecture
Inside--beautiful architecture
Ceiling inside the palace
Ceiling inside the palace
Fort Mason
Fort Mason
Statute in park above Fort Mason
Statute in park above Fort Mason
A California State of Mind--I love…
A California State of Mind--I lov…
Wind along the bay
Wind along the bay
Cafe Claude--just outside Chinatow…
Cafe Claude--just outside Chinato…
Outside dining at Cafe Claude
Outside dining at Cafe Claude
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