Before arriving in San Francisco, all I knew about it was that it had Alcatraz and street trams. I also remembered an old song vaguely- something about wearing flowers in your hair- but apart from that, that was all I knew about the city.
Looking out across the bay at Pier 39. The Golden Gate Bridge is in the distance
Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf is a good place to start from when you visit San Francisco. This is where you get to see great views of San Francisco Bay and with that, Alcatraz Prison and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are loads of shops, restaurants and cafes in the area so it’s a nice place to spend the day and stroll around. Pier 39 is also where you might be able to see the famous California Sea Lions.
There are lots of interesting shops at Fisherman’s Wharf but the one I couldn’t resist going into was Chocolate Heaven. You won’t miss it- even from outside, you’ll see the mounds of chocolate on display, crafted into all sorts of shapes and with dozens of combinations- white/dark chocolate with rice crispies, white/dark chocolate with walnuts, white/dark chocolate with whole almonds- anything at all.
San Francisco is famous for its sourdough and clam chowder and Boudin Bakery is the perfect place to try both. This was where we had our lunch and although it was a simple meal, I’ll always remember how delicious it was. No photos, I’m afraid- I completely forgot to snap photos of what I ate! Just look out for Boudin as you walk farther up the wharf. Their bread, which they’ve been baking since 1849, is lovely and their chowder is simply amazing. Another great thing about this bakery is that you can see the bakers at work through the glass windows.
If you’re looking for a place to sit down and rest after all that walking, Fisherman’s Wharf Beach is farther ahead past the shops and restaurants. I thought this was a particularly scenic spot- it was a clear day and people were taking time out with their families and in one case, their dog. I don’t swim and I’m not exactly a beach person (give me a mountain or hill any day) but there’s something very pretty about sailboats and the way their colours contrast with the sea and sky.
This tiny dog was running around like a mad thing, trying to get at the seagulls
We took the F-line street cars to get to Fisherman’s Wharf but you can also take Muni buses no. 8x, 39 or 47. Public transport information is here while driving and parking information can be found here.
San Francisco is an interesting, laid-back city and you’re sure to enjoy it as much as I did. Just remember not to refer to it as “Frisco” or “San Fran”- locals apparently hate it when outsiders do that. Just “SF” is fine. And don’t forget those flowers for your hair, either.
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