San Francisco is a great place to explore and adventure! The city pretty much has something for everyone. I enjoy the hustle and bustle and watching it too. I know I ate my fair share of bread and fish and seafood while there.
I know I am NOT Waldo when it comes to blending in! I SCREAM tourist with the camera either strapped around my neck or stuck to my face.
I am such a sucker for the sea lions on Pier 39! I checked out the sea lions not once but twice on this trip.
- The sea lions arrived in January 1990 and numbered about 10 to 50.
- Then the sea lions numbers rose (more than 300) due to the supply of herring, available dock space and protected environment.
- The sea lions can number up to 900 in the Winter and in the Summer months migrate to the Channel Islands for breeding season.
- In recent years a small group stays year round at Pier 39’s K Dock.
The Cliff House, Sutro’s
First of all the Cliff House is a restaurant with Sutro’s on the lower level. This restaurant is perched on the headland above the cliffs north of Ocean Beach. The restaurant overlooks the former Sutro Baths. Second of all Sutro’s is a true formal dining experience with unbelievable gourmet eats. Sutro’s offers great views and great ambiance. We enjoyed a 3-course meal with a great bottle of wine and loved every morsel and sip. We pretty much closed the place down too.
Cliff House has had 5 major incarnations since 1858.
- Samuel Brannan built the 1st Cliff House when he bought $1500 of lumber salvaged from a ship that was on the basalt cliffs below.
- The 2nd Cliff House was built in 1863 and leased to Captain Junius G. Foster. The 2nd Cliff House hosted horseback riders, travelers by carriage, small game hunters, and picnickers for the day.
- The 2nd Cliff House was bought in 1883 by Adolph Sutro who became a multimillionaire by solving the problems of ventilating and draining the mines of the Comstock Lode. Cliff House was damaged by a dynamite explosion when the schooner, Parallel, ran aground on January 16, 1887. Then later destroyed on Christmas night 1894 due to a defective flue. The 2nd Cliff House lasted for 31 years with three Presidents and various world famous visitors.
- Adolph Sutro built the 3rd Cliff House in 1896. A seven story Victorian Chateau built below his estate on the bluffs of Sutro Heights. The work began on the famous Sutro Baths in a small cove north of the restaurant. The Sutro Baths included six of the largest indoor swimming pools, a museum and a skating rink. The Sutro Baths burned to the ground on June 26, 1966.
- The 3rd Cliff House survived the 1906 earthquake and then burned to the ground on September 7, 1907. The 3rd Cliff House lasted 11 years. Dr. Emma Merritt, Sutro’s daughter, commissioned a rebuilding of the restaurant in a neo-classical style that is the basis of the structure today. George and Leo Whitney purchased the Cliff House in 1937 to compliment their Playland-at-the-Beach attraction. Cliff House was remodeled into an American roadhouse. Playland was closed in the 1960s and the museum of 20th century penny arcade games was moved into the basement of Cliff House (now located at Fisherman’s Wharf). An extensive renovation in 2003 restored Cliff House to its 1909 appearance.
- Playland-at-the-Beach or just Playland began in 1928 and was a 10-acre seaside amusement park located next to Ocean Beach. It closed Labor Day weekend in 1972.
- More than 30 ships have been pounded to pieces on the southern shore of the Golden Gate below the Cliff House.
- The Cliff House became part of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area in 1977.
I usually find myself on Grant Avenue when exploring Chinatown. I enjoy tasting new foods and love having lunch here.
- The oldest Chinatown in North America.
Haight & Ashbury
I was not aware that the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair was going on, so enjoyed checking it out! I think the majority of us know about the area because of the 1960s hippie movement. Just think about the history made here, the famous people that call(ed) this area home and what is taking place in this neighborhood and area right now! This was one of the few neighborhoods that was spared from the fires following the 1906 earthquake.
- The street names commemorate Henry Haight (pioneer and exchange banker) and Munroe Ashbury (a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors). These two men had a hand in the planning of the neighborhood as well as the Golden Gate Park.
- Imagine back in the day this area was farms and sand dunes!
- Home to the Haight-Ashbury “Painted Lady” Victorians on Waller Street near Masonic Avenue.
(Photos by RSheridan)