San Francisco – Everyday Insider (TM) – Part 27

I am continuing with a list of Everyday Insider! (TM) venues which tourists to San Francisco can use to enjoy California life with the locals.

I have been sharing the famous 49-Mile Scenic Drive (which is also known as 49-Mile Drive) encompassing San Francisco highlights. Many of the city’s major attractions and historic structures are on the route, which opened September 14, 1938 as part of a promotion for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. The Drive features views of the then-newly-built Golden Gate Bridge (May 1937) and the Bay Bridge (November 1936). Back then, the Drive terminated at the fairgrounds on Treasure Island. You can learn more here about the SF Bay Area bridges.

While navigating the Drive, you should watch for the blue and white seagull signs that lead one through the city. Currently the route begins at Hayes Street and Van Ness Avenue, near City Hall, where you can get a replica of the beautifully designed sign. Maps of the Drive may be available there, as well as at the San Francisco Visitor Information Center which is operated by the Convention & Visitors Bureau. The multilingual personnel are there to assist with brochures and information at Hallidie Plaza (lower level), located at Powell and Market Streets. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, and it is closed Sundays in November – April and on major holidays any time of year.

This set of stops brings us back downtown, and we are nearing the end of the drive. The Ferry Building, which was a terminal for commuters before the bridges were built, is one of the city’s landmarks and it now houses a vibrant marketplace and frequent farmers markets. This, and the views, are reason enough to come to enjoy this part of the waterfront.

Port of San Francisco
Here you can enjoy seven-and-a-half miles of scenic waterfront, (including Fisherman’s Wharf,detailed earlier on the 49 Mile Drive series). The Port has facilities for special events ranging from 50-15,000 people, so don’t be surprised that you may find something to visit as an event while in the City. Port tenants include: restaurants of all types, retail stores, excursion vessels, ferries, commercial shipping, ship repair, fishing, harbor services and commercial property. Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island
Along the waterfront, in several locations, you can catch a ferry or cruise and even take a tour of Alcatraz Island nearby. It was once a federal maximum-security prison (from 1934 to 1963) and back then it was home to notorious Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelley, and even Robert “The Birdman” Stroud. Alcatraz Island’s beautiful, natural features include: gardens, tide pools, bird colonies and breathtaking views of the bay.

Free San Francisco City Walking-Tour Guides
Check out SF City Guides, as downtown has so much to offer that it is a shame to just drive through it, yet again, at the end of this series. Now the overview is nearly over, so enjoy the City on foot for awhile!

Barbary Coast Trail
If you did not do this walk earlier in the series, this may be the time to think about it again, too. Learn more: Barbary Coast Trail, San Francisco
There are 3 Audio Tours and Walking Times are on the site. Learn more at: North Beach, San Francisco


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