Thursday, July 4, 2013

San Francisco - The Sights

So San Francisco. I knew it would be awesome, but I had no idea just HOW AWESOME. What an amazing city! I took hundreds of photos so I'm just going to start throwing them up and explaining along the way. Don't be alarmed when you see no food photos. There will be another post all about the FOOD.

Our hotel was right on Fisherman's Wharf and after we (my friend Missy and I) arrived at about mid-day last Tuesday we hit the ground running and were treated to views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge right away.

On our first full day we took the most incredible walking tour called The Real SF Tour. I found it on Google a few months back when we were planning the trip and almost every review on Trip Advisor was a five star review. And now we know why! It took nearly seven hours and in those seven hours we covered 6 1/2 miles, went to 14 different neighborhoods, took a cable car, buses, the subway, walked up and down those famous hills, and saw so many hidden treasures that no one who isn't a local would know about. It was worth every single penny and I would recommend it to anyone who is up for an urban trekking adventure!

There is an actual fortune cookie factory in Chinatown and it's awesome. Free samples :)

The Zeotrope - Francis Ford Coppola's property

That's an original Banksy!

There were amazing views at every turn!

The flowers and landscaping on Lombard St. are the most beautiful I've ever seen.

A gorgeous Spanish-style courtyard at the Art Institute of SF
This is an original Diego Rivera mural at the Art Institute.
The view from the roof of the Art Institute, which is open to the public when the school is open

It was really great to be in The Castro on the day DOMA and Prop 8 were shot down! Cars were honking their horns, music was playing, and everyone was happy happy happy!
The famous Painted Ladies!
It has been a dream of mine to go to Alcatraz for a long time and I'm so happy it came true! I studied crime and justice for six years in college and grad school and I have a "thing" for prisons. Weird, I know. But it's extremely cool even if you're not into prisons. I think! Even if you're not jazzed by the prison, the ferry ride over provides some incredible views.

Missy and I in front of the Bay Bridge
Be prepared for wind. A lot of wind.
After Alcatraz was closed in the 1960s, Native Americans tried to reclaim the island and the original graffiti is still there
A lot of the buildings have fallen into disrepair, but they're still pretty cool looking

Imagine having this view and not being able to go to there. That's part of what made incarceration at Alcatraz so bad.
The area around the hole (where ventilation grates were) is worn down from inmates trying to chip away at the wall. Creepy. 
City Hall is a beautiful building and, like our Massachusetts State House, the dome has real gold leaf.
There's a lovely carousel at Pier 39!
There was one lonely little sea lion laying out in the sun! Maybe it was too warm for the rest of them.
And then there was this beauty!

This trip was everything I wanted and more. The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time and the people were so nice. Someone told me yesterday that San Francisco had the #1 spot for snobby people in the U.S., but I didn't think that was the case at all! I already have a list of things I want to do there for next time. Because there will be a next time!

Have you been to SF? Any hidden gems I missed?

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