Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north. The bridge took seven years to build, and was completed in 1937. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed, and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. The famous red-orange color of the bridge was specifically chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco and even the US, Fisherman’s Wharf runs all the way from Pier 39 through to Municipal Pier at the end of Aquatic Park. For over a century its historic waterfront was the hub of San Francisco’s fishing fleet and is still famous for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Other tourist attractions at the wharf include museums, souvenir stores, historical buildings, scenic vistas over the Bay and the famous sea lions at Pier 39.
Often referred to as The Rock, the small island of Alcatraz served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, and as a prison. It was home to some of the most notorious criminals of the time including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. Surrounded by the freezing water of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was believed to be inescapable. The most famous attempt was carried out by Frank Morris, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin using an inflatable raft made from several stolen raincoats. Today, the island is a popular San Francisco tourist attraction and a historic site. It is operated by the National Park Service and is open to tours.
The world-famous Cable Cars run on three lines in the steep streets of San Francisco between Market Street and Fisherman’s Wharf. These cars are a fun ride, especially if you get to stand on the running board, if a bit impractical for everyday use though residents do, in fact, use them on a regular basis. The cable car is such an attraction that, especially on weekends, it takes longer to wait in line to ride up Powell Street than it does to walk the short but sloping distance.
Golden Gate Park
Once an area of sand dunes, Golden Gate Park is a large urban park with windmills, bison, museums, lakes and a carousel among its many attractions. At 1,017 acres, it is about 20% larger than New York’s Central Park, so unless you have a bike, you’ll want to plan which area you want to visit. A popular tourist attraction is the Japanese Tea Garden with beautiful plants, ponds, bridges, and Japanese-style structures including a tea house.
Located between Hyde and Leavenworth streets, Lombard Street is famously known as the “crookedest street in the world” although it is neither the crookedest street in San Francisco nor the steepest. The one-block portion of Lombard Street that contains eight hairpin turns was created to reduce the hill’s natural steep slope. The speed limit in this section is a mere 5 mph.