June 11th, 2008

San Francisco Local Attractions

by Don

Fisherman’s Wharf encompasses the waterfront between Pier 39 and the Municipal Pier, and includes adjacent Victorian Park where the ship-shaped National Maritime Museum is located. A panoply of restaurants, shops, street performers, foodstands and fishboat docks, this waterfront area’s most-visited attraction (one of the top three in California) is Pier 39, where broad boardwalks dotted with benches create a village-like atmosphere for this colorful complex of specialty shops and restaurants. Sea lions congregate on adjacent K Dock, and boat trips depart every hour from Pier 41 for Alcatraz Island. ‘The Rock’ was önce a notorious high-security prison housing the likes of Al Capone, “Machine Gun” Kelly and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, and is now a tourist attraction drawing över a million visitors annually.

North Beach, an Italian section of excellent eateries and deli-catessens, became an enclave for beatniks in the mid-1950s whose famous hangouts included Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore at 261 Columbus and the Hungry I, where Lenny Bruce honed his stand-up comedy. The Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill was built in 1933 with a bequest from an eccentric named Lillie Hitchcock Coit and its public elevator whisks visitors to the top of this 210-foot column for spectacular views of the city.

Russian Hill is home to Lombard Street, said to be the most crooked street in the world, while Nob Hill is the home of millionaires. Chinatovra is a 24-block area of residential and commercial streets, its attractions including the dragon-crested gate at Grant Avenue and Bush Street, several temples and dozens of exotic food stalls.

South of Market Street is SoMa, where the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sony’s Metreon family entertainment complex and numerous galleries surround Yerba Buena Gardens.

(1) Mission District is named for Mission Dolores, a Spanish mission established in 1782 and originally called San Francisco de Asis.

(2) Haight Ashbury is where the “flower children” of the 60’s hung out, and nearby

(3) Golden Gate Park contains two natural history museums, an aquarium and a planetarium.

(4) Presidio Park is the site of the original Spanish fort, built in 1776, now administered by the National Park Service.

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