A Second Day in San Francisco

San Francisco Travel Blog

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Fishermans Wharf

Continued from previous entry...

Saturday morning I headed to Caffe Trieste on Vallejo Street in North Beach (an Italian neighborhood) on the advice of a local resident.  Caffe Trieste has fantastic (and very strong) coffees as well as excellent pastries.  This cafe seems to be undiscovered by the guidebooks and is a great place to have a coffee.  The cafe was packed with locals, and I saw very few tourists.  I actually liked it so much I went twice.  It's now on my list to visit anytime I'm in San Francisco.

From Caffe Trieste, I walked to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.  Pier 39 is filled with sea lions sunning themselves.  No one knows why the they're at Pier 39 but apparently, they've been coming for years.

Sea lions at Pier 39
  It's great just watching large groups of happy sea lions.

As far as Fisherman's Wharf, if you are not taking the boat to Alcatraz (advance reservations are required) or if you do not want to see the sea lions, I wouldn't budget a lot of time for Fisherman's Wharf.  I find it to be a tourist trap with lots of tacky tourist shops and buildings blocking the beautiful bay view. 

I visited the Cable Car Museum near Nob Hill, which is definitely worth a look.  Apparently, San Francisco originally had eight cable car lines and the exhibits had interesting detail on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  The city suffered horrific devastation from the earthquake and subsequent fire in 1906. Some of the photos were very sad.

I also headed to Lombard Street, which is a lot of fun.

Lighthouse near Pier 39
  It's amazing to see cars driving very slowly down several sharp angles.  I'm not sure I'd want to drive it myself.

North Beach is a great neighborhood to explore for an afternoon and it's one of my favorite areas of San Francisco.  There are pizza shops and Italian restaurants everywhere.  One park had an art festival which was a lot of fun.  Several of the street poles in North Beach are decorated with the colors of the Italian flag.

Next door to North Beach is Chinatown where there are all sorts of shops to explore.  I enjoyed some of the tea houses (there is a great one on Grant near Pacific) and be sure to stop off at Li Po for a cold Tsingtao beer.  Li Po is a bar on Grant and looks almost like a cave from the outside.  If you have the chance, try to have dinner in Chinatown as well.

Chinatown
  I ate at the House of Nanking on Kearny (near Columbus) which had great (and reasonably priced) Chinese food.  Unfortunately, this restaurant is also very popular both with tourists and the locals and lines form quickly in the evenings.  If you can't get into the House of Nanking, I was also told by a local that the Great Eastern Restaurant on Jackson is also excellent.  I peaked in earlier in the afternoon and the restaurant was packed for dim sum.  It's on my list to try next time.

I ended the day browsing some shops in Union Square.  If you are a shopper, Union Square is a "shopper's paradise".  Anything and everything seems to be available.  It is definitely a "shop till you drop" destination.

Finally, on the way back to my hotel, I finished the day trying a San Francisco ice cream specialty called "It's It", which is available at most convenience stores.

Li Po A fun bar that looks a little like a cave.
  An "It's It" was invented in 1928 and is made of two oatmeal cookes with ice cream in between covered in chocolate.  Frankly, I thought it was way too rich and a sugar overload :), but apparently they have a fan following.

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and a fantastic place to visit.  The locals are friendly and helpful, living in a flat city like Houston I love the hills and there is so much to do.  The beautiful scenery, architecture and cable cars add character to a unique city.

 

 

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Fishermans Wharf
Fishermans Wharf
Sea lions at Pier 39
Sea lions at Pier 39
Lighthouse near Pier 39
Lighthouse near Pier 39
Chinatown
Chinatown
Li Po
A fun bar that looks a litt…
Li Po A fun bar that looks a lit…
House of Nanking--a great place fo…
House of Nanking--a great place f…
Walking to Lombard Street.  Street…
Walking to Lombard Street. Stree…
An entry into Chinatown.
An entry into Chinatown.
Another view of a cable car
Another view of a cable car
One way to tour San Francisco--Go…
One way to tour San Francisco--"G…
Transamerica Building
Transamerica Building
Goodies in a Chinese bakery
Goodies in a Chinese bakery
Chinatown
Chinatown
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