There’s a reason why many movie directors choose the Californian coastal city of San Francisco as a set location. Images fill our screens of car chases through the city’s streets and landmarks featuring prominently in San Francisco’s backdrop. Breath-taking views come from its location on America’s west coast, the city’s elevated position and a number of iconic sites which decorate its landscape.
4 Must-See Sites in San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge
Nothing tugs at the heart of people who “heart” San Francisco quite like the Golden Gate Bridge. The beautiful red suspension bridge has connected the San Francisco Peninsula with the Marin Peninsula since 1937. It spans the strait of the same name, Golden Gate, which connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.
The bay is often shrouded in fog, causing the Golden Gate Bridge to display in silhouette against some beautiful sunsets. If you want to take some impressive photos of this iconic site then choose your time of day wisely and capture it from a number of great views. One particularly good spot is Hawk Hill on the Marin side. You can rent a car, and then drive up the winding road and enjoy aerial views of the bay, the art deco bridge and San Francisco’s skyline.
The Cable Cars
These attractive cable cars traverse San Francisco’s steep hills. In the early 1900s, the cable cars were the main form of transport until the 1906 earthquake ruined large portions of the system.
Today the cable cars only run three routes so expect to see plenty of tourists on board. Due to their popularity as an ‘experience’ rather than a means of getting from A to B, it’s best to get on at the beginning of a route and join the queue rather than trying to cram on to an already packed car in the middle. You’ll find a conductor on board selling tickets and a “grip person” operating the car.
Hop on the Hyde-Powell cable car line and it will run past the famous Union Square, Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Speaking of the Wharf, this is a great place to grab a bowl of clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. An icon for tourists, consuming this delicious treat is something you must do at least once… if not over and over! While you’re there, enjoy shopping for San Francisco souvenirs among shops such as Ghirardelli Chocolate, IT’SUGAR, Lush Cosmetics, and the Pearl Factory.
The Coit Tower was built in honor of the San Francisco’s firefighters, using money gifted from the late Lillie Hitchcock Coit – herself a volunteer firefighter. Now an icon of San Francisco, this art deco tower sits atop Majestic Hill overlooking the bay area.
Visitors come here to catch those vivid sunsets. Inside, the base is covered in murals painted by artists from the California School of Fine Arts, depicting scenes of depression-era San Francisco and influenced by Diego Rivera’s social realism style.
If you’re looking for a scenic drive then Lombard Street is the place to go. You can test out your driving skills by steering your way around the tight hairpin turns. Although the design might seem crazy there was method in its madness, as it was the safest solution to enable cars to navigate its 27% grade.
Luckily the trickiest section of the street is one-way only so it’s downhill all the way. And, it’s a very leafy stretch so you can glance out of the window at beds of pretty flowers. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for those bends.
Have you been to San Francisco and enjoyed its sights yet? If so, what was your favorite?