The neighborhoods of San Francisco await us
About 2 hours north of Monterey is San Francisco. The “capital of the Bay Area is one of the major tourist cities in the USA. This year we looked at areas of the city that we hadn't made it the two times before.
But we couldn't avoid having to go to places that we had already visited.
After we brought our suitcases out of the car to our hostel, we went to Chinatown, a few meters away. Grant Street is the shopping street. If you are looking for souvenirs at low prices you are at the right place.
There is something to discover everywhere in Chinatown, be it the “Fortune Cookie Bakery” a large Asian restaurant or the lovingly decorated houses.
In many cities in the USA, you can get the cheapest prices for souvenirs, especially in Chinatown.
Once you have chosen what you want, stroll through the shops in Chinatown and compare the prices.
- Trade (every penny counts)
- Do not be disturbed (here you are often pressured to buy something)
- Always include the tax (prices on the signs are always + tax)
Haight - Ashbury
Haight-Ashbury - finally made it on the 3rd attempt!
So far we only drove through with the tour bus but had no time to get out. This year the Muni Mobile Pass for $ 12 got us there
Once there, you feel and smell the scent of the “Summer of Love” 😉 Joking aside - This district is known for its alternative scene full of artists and designers.
So it doesn't surprise us to admire the many colorful facades and to be able to shop for clothes from different eras.
When you are there, take the time to stroll through the small shops, it is definitely worth it!
The Castro is probably the most colorful district in the city, and that doesn't mean anything. The LGBT quarter is a real experience day and night.
At the end of this evening we decided to experience something that we had not yet managed to do before. It was worth it, because the Castro district is one of the “Hidden Gems” in San Francisco!
On the one hand we wanted to have a look at this part of the city in the light the day after and on the other hand we wanted to escape the excessive tourism. Especially the escape from mass tourism works perfectly here!
The best way to get to the Castro is with the “Market Street Line” and its old trams from all over the world. The way to the destination becomes a real experience that is only available in San Francisco.
In addition to the Castro Theater, there are many small shops here that you simply have to see. There really is something for everyone here. Film fans will also get their money's worth here, because quite a few films and series have been shot in this part of the city.
If you are in Castro you should definitely visit the shop of the Human Rights Campaign.
The biography film “Milk” and the politician and former mayor Harvey Milk were filmed on the upper floor of the building.
Incidentally, this was also Harvey Milk's original camera shop. Notice the painted window on the facade!
On the second day we decided to leave the car in the parking garage until evening and took the bus to Union Square. We also used public transport very often to get from A to B.
The large square offers a lot of big shops and interesting little things that we had to capture on photos.
The hustle and bustle on the square is accompanied by the large palm trees and small outdoor cafes.
Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39
From a tourist point of view, Pier 39 is the “Santa Monica Pier of San Francisco”.
There are a lot of shops here where you can leave a lot of money very quickly. But also a great view of the bay, the two bridges and Alcatraz Island, as well as the world-famous sea lions that sunbathe on the pier.
Anyone who has already been there probably still has the sea lions and their howling in their heads, right?
Another spot on the Embarcadero that you definitely have to see is the famous “Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco”.
It offers a multitude of tourist attractions that we only viewed and photographed in passing this year.
We have more of them in ours 1. Post on San Francisco told.
Crissy Field is one of the viewpoints from where you can take pictures of both the most famous bridge and the city skyline.
If you are standing on the beach, the Golden Gate Bridge is on the left and the skyline of San Francisco on the right.
If you can rely on one thing as much as the expensive parking fees, it is the fog 😉.
Unfortunately, this year it thwarted our plans with some photos, but photos get their very own, special atmosphere even with fog, right?
Mile Rock Beach & Lands End
Ok, actually we only wanted Google Maps to go to the Miles End Labyrinth, in connection with poor cell phone reception it really let us down here ...
Nonetheless, Mile Rock Beach, where we came out instead, is extraordinary in its kind. Here, too, it was a shame that the weather hadn't quite cooperated this year.
In front of the place you should have a super nice view of the Golden Gate.
So that you don't end up on the wrong path, you should get an offline version of a map map, because the way to the labyrinth is unfortunately not very well signposted!
Twin Peeks & Alamo Square
If you want great day and / or night shots of San Francisco, you can't ignore Twin Peeks.
From here you have an ingenious view of the city and its two famous bridges in good weather. We started our second visit to the city in 2015 at this point.
This photo was taken of the Golden Gate Bridge a few miles away.
Also at night and known for breathtaking shots in the dark is Alamo Square with the Painted Ladies.
It's best to go up the hill in the park to get the best photos. The contrast between old and new is particularly visible here.
Did I already say that this year the weather wasn't great for night shots?
Mission Dolores Park
Thanks to the many hills in San Francisco, you can find a special view of the city skyline in many places.
One of these hills is in the Mission District. The famous Mission Dolores Park is one of the most beautiful in the city as we find it.
The park was completely redesigned just a few years ago and is the hippest park in town among locals. We can definitely confirm this!
But be careful, even if the park is beautiful, the area is less recommended at night.
Coit Tower & Telegraph Hill
Immediately after checking out at the hotel, we went to the nearby Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill.
The 64-meter-high tower, built by Arthur Brown Jr. and Henry Howard in 1933, sits enthroned on one of San Francisco's many hills. For only $ 7 you can walk or take the elevator to the top.
A look that was unfortunately denied us because of the early hour and the limited time. You always have to leave something behind to do it the next time you visit, because no matter what, we will return to San Francisco!
As from Mission Dolores Park, you have a wonderful view from Telegraph Hill, but not of the skyline, but of the beautiful San Francisco Bay, the bridges and Alcatraz.
Ocean Beach & Sutro Baths
On the way over the Golden Gate to Reno, we had another short stop before we left the city.
The Ocean Beach in the south of San Francisco. This seemingly endless sandy beach on the Great Highway is particularly popular with surfers. Many films and series have also been shot between the Strand, the Cliff House and Sutro Baths.
Incidentally, the Sutro Baths were once the largest seawater baths in the world. Planned and built by a German from Aachen - Adolph Sutro.
The reason that only ruins can be seen was not one of the great earthquakes or floods, but an arson in 1966.
Actually, San Francisco is my dream city, but only actually after my experiences this year. Why?
The most expensive parking lots in the US are in San Francisco, and that's not an exaggeration. Park briefly or park unprotected on the side of the road (not a good idea with the current increase in vehicle break-ins).
If you don't need a car and leave it in the garage for around 12-16 hours, $ 40 to $ 60 are quickly gone!
For the next time we know: “SF at the beginning or the end of the trip, without a car, only by public transport. Or alternatively an expensive hotel with parking spaces ”.
Speaking of hotels, these are also extremely expensive, even in the off-season. An alternative to expensive hotels and parking problems is Airbnb and Uber.
On the one hand, Airbnb is cheaper than hotels and, on the other hand, you experience everyday life in San Francisco better here.
Uber also gets you from the airport to the city and back at a reasonable price, as well as to points that are not accessible by public transport. Here you save a lot of parking fees and the hassle of looking for a parking space.
Another point is the tourism industry, which is getting worse and worse. In the touristy areas you feel like a pig on your way to the slaughter.
In front of every shop someone is standing and urging you to come in and once you get inside you get chatted until you either flee the shop or buy something.
I decided on the former and only bought something where you weren't harassed.
Of the Muni Mobile Pass is the cheap alternative to get from A to B in San Francisco.
For $ 5 you get a day pass to use the buses and trams within the city. For $ 12 you can also drive the world-famous cable cars.
Everything is definitely cheaper than parking!
Speaking of parking - if you're looking for a reasonably priced, guarded parking garage near Chinatown, check out the “North Beach Garage” on Vallejo Street, very close to a police station.
You can park here for 12 hours for $ 30 and 24 hours for a maximum of $ 36.
At least in 2018 it was the cheapest parking garage for one night near ours Hostels.