Louis is a bit afraid that lesbo-Selma will abandon him in San Francisco. He’s not to worry. Of course we’ll check out the Castro District, but San Fran has sooo much worth seeing, and we only have a few days to see it all (or at least some of it). Below is a list of possible sights:
- The Scenic 49-Mile Drive
- The 49-Mile Drive was created as a promotion for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, and provides visitors with an overview of San Francisco’s major attractions and historic highlights. It’s marked with blue and white seagull signs, and is supposedly very easy to follow. By following the signs, we ought to find many of the attractions listed below…
Fisherman’s Wharf courtesy of Leanne Johnson
- The Fisherman’s Wharf
- The Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most famous tourist hangouts in San Francisco, with shops, restaurants, the famous Pier 39 - and the sea lions in the West Marina. It’s located on the northern waterfront of San Francisco. From Pier 39 we can catch a ferry to The Rock:
- Alcatraz, or “The Rock”, was the location for the first US Fort on the West Coast, it’s home to the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast and it was occupated by Indians for 18 months in 1969-70. But it’s most known for its infamous federal penitentiary.
- The Golden Gate Bridge
- The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the best known landmarks in the US, and a famous symbol of San Francisco. It’s located at the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. Featured in many movies and television shows, and captured in millions of photos, the bridge is a natural must-see.
- Cable Cars
- You can’t visit San Francisco without checking out the cable cars! It’s the world’s last permanently operational manually-operated cable car system, and a little more charming than the ones we have here in Oslo.
- Alamo Square
- The Alamo Square Park is located on a hill overlooking the downtown area of San Francisco, and consists of a park with a playground and a tennis court - and four city blocks. Most famous is the row of Victorian houses facing the park on Steiner Street, known as the painted ladies (you’ve probably seen them in the opening credits of Full House).
The painted ladies of Alamo Square, San Francisco, courtesy of Sue
- Telegraph Hill
- Telegraph Hill is the highest point in San Francisco and a great place to visit to get a view of the entire area. It is also the site of the 180-foot Coit Tower. Oh, and you might also run into wild parrots here!
- San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest and one of the largest Chinatowns in the US. It is located in downtown San Francisco, in the northeast part of the San Francisco Peninsula.
- Grace Cathedral
- The Grace Cathedral is located on Nob Hill, and is a beautiful cathedral known for its labyrinths, stained glass windows and its replicas of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. Inside is an altarpiece made by Keith Haring for the AIDS Interfaith Chapel.
- The Norwegian Church in San Francisco
- There’s also a Norwegian church in San Francisco - with a name you might try to pronounce carefully in a town world known for it’s gay population: The Norwegian Seamen’s Church. It’s located at 2454 Hyde Street, right above the Fishermen’s Wharf. We might stop by for some Norwegian waffles, candy and newspapers. They also offer some advice about hotels in the area.
- Lombard Street
- Lombard Street is best known for one block on Russian Hill where the road has eight sharp turns that have earned the street the distinction of being “the crookedest street in the United States.”
- The South of Market (SoMa)/Yerba Buena Gardens is San Francisco’s center of art and nightlife with a broad selection of museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs.
- The SF MoMa and The Cartoon Art Museum
- The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is located adjacent to Yerba Buena Gardens in the SOMA district, and is well worth a visit.
- Just around the corner, The Cartoon Art Museum on 655 Mission Street is “the the only museum in the United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of cartoon art in all its forms.”
- The Haight-Ashbury district is located between the Golden Gate Park and the Buena Vista Park. The area is famous for its role as a center of the hippie movement, and even though the Summer of Love is long gone, the district still manages to keep some of its flower power charm.
- Among the sights is The Grateful Dead house on 710 Ashbury St., where the band lived together in the mid-’60s.
Haight-Ashbury, courtesy of Lance and Erin
- Presidio National Park
- After serving as both a Spanish fort and home to the United States 6th Army, the Presido National Park is now operated by the National Park Service of the United States as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the San Francisco Bay.
- (Lucasfilm got development rights for 15 acres (61,000 m²) of the Presidio, and built their new headquarters of Industrial Light and Magic and LucasArts here.)
- Wells Fargo History Museum
- On the site where Wells Fargo first opened for business in 1852, this museum features a Concord Coach used by Wells Fargo in the 1860s and an impressive display of gold dust and ore from California’s Gold Country.
- Levi Strauss museum
- Levi Strauss, the father of the denim jeans, came from Europe to the US in 1847, and ended up in San Francisco - where his original plan was to manufacture tents and wagon covers, but instead found a market using the stout canvas he had brought with him to make pants for gold miners. Today there’s a museum located at 250 Valencia Street.
- USS Pampanito
- This submarine is a World War II Balao class Fleet submarine museum and memorial that is open for visitors daily at Pier 45 at the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
And of course…
- The Castro
- Even totally straight people should visit the Castro district while in San Francisco, so Louis has no choice but to accompany Selma on a trip around the gay metropolis.
- Today, the Castro is known as the gay capitol of the world, but in the beginning of the 20th century, the district was known as “Little Scandinavia” because of the number of people of Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish ancestry who lived there. The novel Mama’s Bank Account (by Kathryn Forbes), which was made into the movie I Remember Mama in 1948, portrays life in the Castro among Norwegian immigrants circa 1910.
- The area is concentrated around Castro Street from Market Street to 19th Street, extending down Market Street toward Church, and on 18th Street on both sides of Castro from Sanchez Street to Eureka Street.
Castro, courtesy of Jason Townsend
Clubs, bars and restaurants
- Boom Boom Room
- The Boom Boom Room presents itself as “San Franciscos Home to Live Roots Music”, and was once owned by the late blues legend John Lee Hooker. The club is located on 1601 Fillmore St. at Geary Blvd, and offering live music shows.
- Voted several times as the best nightclub in America by Pollstar Magazine, Slim’s offers live music performances (American Roots Music, Blues, R&B, Cajun/Zydeco, Jazz, Alternative and more). It’s located at 333 11th street in the SoMa district.
- Lou’s Pier 47
- Lou’s Pier 47 is a seafood restaurant and blues club located on 300 Jefferson St. at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Live music every day, and supposedly a nice joint despite its location in the tourist mecca.
- Club 36
- A jazz bar located on the 36th floor of a building on 345 Stockton Street (Union Square).
- Punch Line Comedy Club
- The San Francisco Punch Line is the city’s longest running comedy club, and stars like (Selma’s favorite) Ellen DeGeneres, Robin Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, Drew Carey and Chris Rock took their first comedic steps on the Punch Line stage. It’s still presenting great comedians (old and rising stars) at 444 Battery Street.
- And we might…
- ..just have to take Brad to Mooses, another jazz venue where he’ll probably meet some friends.
What others say:
Here’s a list of guides to San Francisco
- SFGate.com: San Francisco Neighborhood Guide
- SF Station, an extensive guide to San Francisco
- San Francisco at Wikitravel
- TripAdvisors guide to San Francisco
- Most popular in San Francisco according to 43 Places
Have we missed something? Do you have a favorit spot in San Francisco you think we need to check out? Feel free to leave a comment!
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