San Francisco, like the rest of California, was originally part of the Spanish Mission, conquered by the United States in 1846 it became part of the U.S. In 1848 gold was struck! Soon San Francisco became the heartland for pioneers who all wanted to find their fortune in the hills of San Francisco.
Now, San Francisco is known for other golden items. The Golden Gate bridge and of course the home of golden ideas that stem out of the Silicon Valley, home of many technology companies, and of course not to mention the gold mine of wine that is just outside of San Francisco.
Explore the Japanese Tea Gardens. There is a large influence of Asian design and architecture spread throughout the San Francisco area, due to the high levels of immigrants that came in the early 1900s. The Japanese Tea Gardens were designed with beautiful zen gardens and koi ponds that will transport you to spring time in Japan. Sip on a cup of tea and enjoy the peaceful gardens as the stresses of life just soothe away.
Start your trip in San Francisco with a visit to Golden Gate Park. Here, if you are visiting on a day with no fog, you will have the perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are feeling really froggy, you can walk across the Golden Gate Bridge! Make sure you bring a jacket though, even on a sunny day it gets really windy walking across the bridge.
When you are done walking across the bridge, head down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you can get a cup of Joe at CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice or at Boudin at the Wharf. Or grab lunch or brunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Cioppinos, Bistro Boudin or Buena Vista Café. Now if you are already at Fisherman’s Wharf – you have to visit the other iconic locations that are all down on the wharf. Visit the Aquarium of the Bay, this aquarium is world renowned and shouldn’t be missed, especially if you are traveling with kids. Then visit Pier 39 – here you can find live music, street performers, shows playing on the stage and of course great areas for shopping!
This is a tourist stop but a must while you are in San Francisco. Visit Ghirardelli Square! Even the locals come here and do the “touristy” thing at least once. There is a tour you can do and standing in line for your ice cream is worth the wait. Nothing like getting the chocolate from the source, try to plan your visit NOT around a weekend. You’ll enjoy your trip much more if you are able to visit during the week because there are less people crowding the square.
Travel Tip: Do some research before you visit. There is a constant string of festivals, street fairs, farmers markets, wine fairs ect happening all year in San Francisco. You will want to check out what is scheduled during your visit, so you don’t miss out on anything.
Now if you aren’t able to visit Napa, Sonoma, Anderson, Amador and Monterey County – don’t miss out on the wine scene while you are in premiere wine country. There are tons of urban wineries and tasting rooms in the heart of San Francisco. Bluxome Street Winery, The Winery SF, Treasure Island Wines and Sottomarino Winery are just a few options of the dozens of wineries you can visit without ever leaving the city limits.
Whether you walk, bike, trolley or take a scooter around the city – you won’t be disappointed by the Golden City of San Francisco. These are just a few tips from my trips to San Fransisco and I hope that you find your own adventures while you are in the Golden City!
Traveling Photographer Out!