Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Day in San Francisco

The first time we visit a place, we like to do the “touristy stuff”, so on a recent trip to San Francisco, those were our plans.

IMG_0732We began the day in line to ride the a Trolley.  The Trolley line is not small, and it took about an hour to get to the front of the line.  I had read on other travel websites, that a Trolley ride was essential to having a successful visit to San Francisco, and that waiting in the {consistently} long Trolley ride line would be well worth it.  And it was.

IMG_0617 IMG_0622We caught the trolley at the corner of Powell and Market Streets, where there is a turnaround.  From there, the ride takes you up and down the streets of San Francisco, the trolley lurching and careening as you go.  The trolley has bench seats, as well as running board-type standing room, and of course, my children all wanted to stand on the edge.  Which made the mom in me terrified.  This was not a leisurely ride.  I’m not sure how fast the thing was going, but it was fast enough that when we passed another trolley you had to make sure that you sucked in so that you wouldn’t lose a limb.  It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.


The scariest part of the ride came almost at the end when we were on a downward slope.  We could see that the tracks curved at the bottom of the hill and turned a corner.  The Trolley driver didn’t seem to notice, as we plummeted down the slope, gaining speed as we went.  About a half a block before the turn, the driver yells “everybody hang on!” and slams on the brakes.  We swung around the corner clutching our children and {miraculously} somehow managed to stay on the trolley ourselves.

A few blocks later, we staggered off of the trolley at Lombard street, “the Crookedest Street”.  The kids and husband were unimpressed. 


We then walked the remaining 2 or 3 blocks to Fishermans Wharf.  There they had a little area with some old ships, which was fun for the kids to look at.  Although Fisherman’s Wharf is on most lists of “Things to do when you are in San Francisco,” it was pretty smelly and there were tons of tourists there.  We did eat at a few of the different fish stands there and it was okay.  Fisherman’s Wharf was good to see once, but I wouldn’t schedule a lot of time there if I were doing it again.

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The main reason to go to Fisherman’s wharf is to get on a Bay Cruise.  There are a couple of different companies that sell water tours and the best way to get tickets is to just go to the counter when you get there.  The tour we took went through San Francisco Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and around Alcatraz.  It was fun, but crowded.  And chilly, so bring a sweater or jacket.

IMG_0677 IMG_0691 IMG_0714Sidenote: We were hoping to be able to tour Alcatraz on our visit to San Francisco, but unfortunately, tickets were sold out.  Make sure you check ticket availability before you go.

IMG_0735 After our Bay Cruise, we headed to The Golden Gate Bridge.  This was our favorite.

IMG_0745IMG_0757 The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most famous landmark in San Francisco.  It is one mile long and you can walk, or ride a bike across it.  We walked to the first column.  The kids loved it. 

Another interesting thing to see in San Francisco is Chinatown.  There is a touristy, shoppy street in Chinatown which I hear has cheap knick knacks and colorful lanterns.  We did not end up in that part of Chinatown.  We ended up walking through the Chinese marketplace around dinnertime.  We passed several fruit and vegetable stands as well as meat markets, filled with varieties of fish and cooked birds hanging from the ceiling with heads still attached.  The kids were a little grossed out by this.

This is the image of San Francisco that the kids took home with them.  People will ask, “how did you like visiting San Francisco?” and they will tell them about walking through the marketplace in Chinatown, and oh, yeah, they liked the bridge and the trolley ride, too.

IMG_0765We were in San Francisco about a day and a half, and it took us about that long to figure out the public transit system {we traveled by train, trolley, and bus}.  It was a little stressful to be figuring this out with kids in tow, but was a good experience for the kids to see and learn how people get around in other places.

IMG_0670 Overall, it was a good place to visit.  If we were to go back, we would be sure to visit Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, and maybe to a bike ride across the bridge.


Jamie Smith said...

So fun! I love this run through, makes me want to try it more now. Been meaning to go for awhile and I just had no gameplan. Great pictures!

Andrea said...

Ok. So now I want to make at trip to SAn Fran. Thanks for all the tips. I also want your job so I can go all those fun places.

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