San Francisco Experience - Take 2
Many years ago I remember thinking to myself ‘This is a city I’m sure I’ll love’ while watching the thriller Pacific Heights with Michael Keaton and Melanie Griffith. I wasn’t mistaken. If you are like me and appreciate architectural details in buildings facades and architecture, in general, San Francisco does not disappoint. From the famous ‘Painted Ladies’ to every street corner, breathtaking details are everywhere.
If you are planning your first visit, you’ll need to see the Golden Gate Bridge, walk around Pier 39, visit the Ghirardelli chocolate factory, taking a boat to Alcatraz, and check out Lombard St - all first-timer-must-dos. This being my second visit to the city, it was the perfect opportunity to see San Francisco through the eyes of a local instead of as a tourist.
It’s not really that hard to do it like a local in San Francisco.
All you need to do is:
1. Walk the very hilly streets,
2. Pretend you’re not completely blown away by the astonishing views of the bay, 3. Have an authentic dim sum lunch in one of the largest Chinatowns I’ve ever seen, and 4. Hop on a cable car to go shopping downtown.
My family and I love to travel to different cities and dive into the local culture. For my partner and I, it was particularly interesting to have the chance to show our son a little of Harvey Milk’s history and to share his crucial contribution to gay rights while walking the streets of the Castro with its many alternative stores and restaurants.
One of the things we always do when traveling is to understand the connection between the city and nature. Local urban forests, botanical gardens and near by national parks are always on our itinerary. San Francisco offers many options to get up close and personal with nature. Our favourite spots were the perfectly manicured Japanese Botanic gardens and the Muir Woods National Monument with its most impressive collection of millenar and majestic trees.
My curiosity for heavy engineering structures forced me this time to investigate underside of the Golden Gate Bridge in order to have a closer look at the massive pillars that uphold it. From the same boat I was also able to see the old signs around Alcatraz Island that have been there since the time the penitentiary was operational.
The first time I visited San Francisco was about 15 years ago with my best friend driving along Highway 1, sleeping late, not a care in the world. This time I had a completely different trip, with my family in tow, making sure everyone was having a good time. Both times SF had it all. Without a doubt, San Francisco is one of my favourite cities in North America.