San Francisco Shore Excursions
Take a trip through history by visiting the famous island that has been a civil war fortress, a military detention unit, a high security federal penitentiary, and the scene of a year long protest by Native Indian rights activists. Although the last inmates were moved off the island more than half a century ago, the main prison block with its claustrophobic cells, scary solitary holes and foreboding mess hall even today evokes the feel of that bygone era. Tourists can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, departures are every 30 minutes, but be sure to buy your tickets in advance.
The creator of SF’s cable car system, Andrew Smith Hallidie, was motivated by seeing the terrible fates of five horses who slid down a steep slippery hill to their deaths while towing a heavy load. Of the 23 lines established between 1873 and 1890 just three remain, the California Street Line (1878), Powell-Mason (1888) and Powell-Hyde (made from sections of the Powell-Washington-Jackson (1888) and O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde (1889) lines). No tour of San Francisco is complete without a trip to the wonderful Market and Powell Street turntable, one of the city’s unforgettable sights.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a touristy part of San Francisco’s northeast waterfront, between Pier 39 to the east and Aquatic park to the west. Instead of just visiting the main attractions, how about following the Port Walk created by the local Merchants Association. This visits a sequence of signs which detail the rich history of the neighborhood.
Golden Gate Bridge
The famous Golden Gate Bridge, which has become an emblem of San Francisco, joins the city to the Marin peninsula. The bright color was picked because it enhances the bridge’s visibility in fog. At the south side of the bridge stands the solid looking civil-war era Fort Point. It is easy to see both the bridge and the fort on the same visit.
Even though many of the buildings in San Franisco's Chinatown may not be properly Chinese in style, the traditions, inhabitants and food lend an authenticity to the district . The primary area focused on by the visitor centers on Grant Av, where the flamboyantly ornamented road is lined with all types of far-eastern restaurants, stalls and shops. For an excellent photo opportunity, check out the gloriously decorated Chinatown Gateway located at the Grant Avenue and Bush Street intersection. The gateway was constructed in 1970, and carries the saying 'All under heaven is for the good of the people'.
Unusual in a grid city Lombard Street has an incredible eight hairpins in the space of just one block. There are steps on both sides of the street, allowing the energetic to walk beside the steep slope.
San Francisco Cruising Resources