Must Do And See Things in San Francisco. Part 1.

Intro

This will be quite a straightforward post about what to see and do in San Francisco, this beautiful West Coast City.

Without further ado, and without the order of importance, here are a few things I have seen and recommend you do/see them too. And yes, it is up to you to decide. It always is.

1. Admire the architecture and the tranquility of Palace of Fine Arts

San Francisco

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts, San Fran

The serenity of Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

Architecture is stunning and the buildings now have a seismic retrofit

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, flora

The flora of Palace of Fine Arts

Take some time to walk around here, take lots of photos, as this place is very popular for wedding shoots and film too. I first discovered this place while watching The Bachelor with Renée Zellweger. I recommend you watch this film too.

2.Walk Along The Golden Gate Bridge or Try Finding It In The Fog

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog

Golden Gate Bridge in a very thick fog

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog, San Francisco

Guessing the outline of the bridge

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog, San Francisco

A bit of a structure with the famous Bridge in the distance

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog, San Francisco

Blue sky over the Golden Gate Bridge

We arrived to the bridge early in the morning, it was still quite foggy during the day, but then it got a bit better. Basically, you need to wait it out. But the structure is truly amazing. I do love bridges. I guess my favourite ones are Brooklyn Bridge in New York, Westminster and Tower Bridges in London and Humber Bridge in Hull (so random, I know).

3. Shop and Eat at Pier 39. But It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe at Pier 39. San Francisco

Hard Rock Cafe at Pier 39. San Francisco

American flag freely flying over Pier 39

 Pier 39. San Francisco. Dungeness crab

Try the famous Dungeness crab

Feel the atmosphere of a sea port city, while people watching, Dungeness crab eating, trying not to be totally devoured by the consumerism. Be strong. Walk around and then go to Fisherman’s Wharf and adore sea lions from a distance.

4. Be Jealous of Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf. (Next to Pier 39)

Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco

Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco

Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco. Pier 39

Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39. San Francisco

The sea lions occupy this water street and wooden docks that used to be the boat docks. Now they’re the official property of sea lions who like to lie in the sun and look all sexy. I definitely wanted to join them in their sunbathing.

5. Admire the Cityscape of San Francisco From The Water Bus Tour

Just ask or look for Golden Gate Bay Cruises, if you book with Red and White cruises (not sponsored), it’ll cost $30 for adults. You’ll see the cityscape, Golden Gate Bridge from underneath it and the Alcatraz prison island.

San Francisco Bay

The turquoise waters of San Francisco Bay

Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco

Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco

Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco

Tourists admiring the view of the SF Bay

San Francisco Bay

The Other San Francisco Bridge

boats, yachts in San Francisco

Boating and yachting in SF area

I took this cruise to see the Golden Gate Bridge from underneath, and to see Alcatraz from a distance, but this getting closer to the bridge, seeing the grey sky, hoping to see the blue colours…we finally saw them. The sun is blinding, the wind is cold. Take sunglasses and a light jacket with you even in summer.

Speaking of other things to do while on a San Francisco Bay cruise, some of them briefly mentioned above…

6. “Swim” under the Golden Gate Bridge

This is possible when you go on the Bay cruise of course, and, boy, does it worth it. I highly recommend it.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Stunning light under the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Foggy

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

More angles of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Surreal beauty of the SF surroundings

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Catching light in SF

Skies clearing over the bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Structural monster is one of Golden Gate Bridge names. I’m making stuff up. But this bridge is huge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

You can also hire a private boat if you have more money than I do

I love water travel.

7. See Where Al Capone Was Imprisoned

I suggest you do it from the island, not from the boat cruise like I did, but then again, I didn’t have a choice, hence my exterior excursion. You can go to the Alcatraz Island by ferry that departs from Pier 33. Arrive here and spend several hours feeling a bit like you’re on Shutter Island without the scares and monsters.

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Even looking at the former Federal Penitentiary, you feel chills. When I saw it, I was thinking of Shawshank Redemption, not Shutter Island, however, all three are quite equally incredibly breathtaking

Alcatraz island, San Francisco

It was a maximum high-security federal prison from 1934 to 1963 and held many high-profile criminals, like Al Capone

Alcatraz Island, san Francisco

Amidst the beauty of San Francisco Bay lies this island that used to be full of notorious criminals that couldn’t be contained anywhere else but the solitary confinement of federal prison

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

As Alcatraz had no water supply of its own, it had to import it from the mainland (wiki)

Alcatraz

The prison is said to be haunted. Would you visit?

8. Follow The Light in the Unorthodox-ly Designed Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

Located near Japantown in San Francisco, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption is said to resemble a washing machine agitator from the outside (have a look at the first photo). Come here to see the “dome” from the inside, where the light is truly divine and flows from the ceiling, enveloping the walls, windows and people inside.

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

a gorgeous chandelier in the cathedral

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco

That light though

The second part of this article will be published on Wednesday, as this one is already too long. I decided not to make it longer. In the second part I will continue mentioning places you need to visit in San Francisco. And yes, it’s possible to do them all in one day.

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