San Francisco (The Bay Area)
What pops into your head when you hear San Francisco???
The Golden Gate Bridge & Fog. Alcatraz & Al Capone. Cable Cars & Steep Rolling Hills. Lombard Street & Crooked, Curvy. Fisherman’s Wharf & the Sea Lions on Pier 39. Chinatown. Nob Hill.
I Left My Heart in San Francisco
We visited San Francisco in 2005 to celebrate our 1st Wedding Anniversary. We enjoyed exploring the city where many before us have left their hearts. I think I left a piece of my heart there too.
A city that is beautiful as well as mysterious with all its history. Check out purchasing a Muni Passport – unlimited rides on Muni, including Cable Cars (3 day or 7 day). I thought this was a great deal and went on a few cable car rides while visiting the city.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge draws you in while visiting the city. The bridge changes throughout the day with the changing of the light – just amazing – would love to see the bridge in the fog. My favorite part was driving across it.
We had to go to Pier 39 and check out the Sea Lions being lazy and basking in the sun – hundreds of barking Sea Lions. I liked when they played “King of the Dock” and pushed one another into the water for a better spot. Plenty to see and do in the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
My spouse wanted to check out Alcatraz and I am always up to explore. We went to Pier 33 to Alcatraz Cruises to purchase a cruise and tour of Alcatraz. We went out in the morning to get a jump start on the crowds later on in the day. We spent about 2 hours taking the audio tour and visiting the island. A great experience and would like to go back for a night tour.
Lombard Street, Chinatown and Nob Hill
We saw Lombard Street from the Cable Car – one crazy, crooked, curvy road. I wanted to explore Chinatown and my spouse wanted to grab some lunch, so explored and then grabbed some lunch in Chinatown. We continued that afternoon by checking out the Nob Hill area – oh my gosh the homes and hotels – gorgeous and beautiful and the view just breathtaking.
Brief Glance into San Francisco’s History
- California Gold Rush in 1848 – rapid growth in population from 1,000 to 25,000 – largest city on the West Coast. California was granted statehood and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and built a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the Bay.
- 1846 Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States during the Mexican-American War.
- 1852 founding of Wells Fargo bank, the Bank of California in 1864 and in the early 1900s Bank of America.
- 1859 Comstock Lode (silver discoveries) – increased population growth once again.
- 1869 Port of San Francisco and the Pacific Railroad – became center for trade. Levi Strauss (dry goods business) and Domingo Ghirardelli manufactured chocolate.
- 1873 the introduction of Cable Cars.
- 1906 earthquake and fire – three-quarters of the city was destroyed – quickly rebuilt the city.
- 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (World’s Fair) – celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal.
- 1929 Stock Market Crash – not a single bank in based in San Francisco failed.
- During the Great Depression – San Francisco constructed the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge (completed in 1936) and the Golden Gate Bridge (completed in 1937). Alcatraz became o federal maximum security prison (housed Al Capone).
You Might Just Leave Your Heart There Too!
Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco (Photo by RSheridan)