To get to San Francisco from East you drive through the bridge.
To get to San Francisco from North you drive through the bridge.
If you’re going South or from South you’re good, no bridges.
Cuz man, those are loooong mother******s.
I have to say, I was the one who drove on the bridge when we were entering San Francisco from Yosemite. That was my first time taking bridge like that as a driver, it was adrenaline, I was driving and I had all those pictures from movies like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four (yeah, I know those two are in New York), X-men, Godzilla, in my head. So I’m just sitting there and thinking “All monsters from around the world, please don’t destroy or attack that bridge just yet, please, please…..”.
And you need to pay to drive through that 5$! 5 bucks for a possibility of death according to Hollywood.
But anyway, we are in SF, we check in in our hotel [read more at the end] on South Market Street. It’s 7 pm. We need to eat, we find some little Italian restaurant with a cute climate called Il Borgo. And now, what should we do?
So there are few things you can go and take a look in San Francisco after dark, around South Market.
- There are pretty famous “Painted ladies”, it’s a term for kind of American architecture, used for Victorian and Edwardian houses paint in few colours. The term was first used in San Francisco and you can find them on the West side of Alamo Square Park, between Hayes and Grove Streets.
- There is San Francisco City Hall that looks really pretty in the evening but isn’t much more impressing than City Hall in Denver, Colorado.
- Or Cathedral of Saint Mary Of The Assumption, that looks a little like some Modern Art Museum. At least all the airplanes can see the Holy Ground.
We go to sleep, we have couple unwanted guests, knocking on our door in the middle of the night. Yeah, big city, baby.
But, hello, we’re in San Francisco, what is it everyone need to see in that city? Of course, it’s Alcatraz! Unless you’re a moron like me and you forget the battery to your camera from your suitcase and you just walk around there like “oh that would be cool pic”, “if I only had my camera”.
But The Alcatraz- if you plan to visit San Francisco during off-peak season, don’t worry about buying tickets on the internet, they won’t be sold out and they aren’t cheaper, unless not on the web page of Alcatraz Museum.
It’s cool to spend some time and listen to the dude at the beginning of your trip on the island, they have some pretty cool stories to tell there!
I found out for example that two main questions people ask are:
-Are there sharks in San Francisco bay?
-Are you able to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco?
Well, I’m not surprised, those are two questions I wanted to ask myself.
So, there are sharks in SF Bay, but small kinds who aren’t any threat or danger to human beings.
Are there great whites in SF Bay? So theoretically there is only 60% salt water in the Bay what isn’t a very good environment for great whites to live there and there were few situations when those sharks swam under Golden Gate bridge and quickly left the bay.
However, the first (and I think the only) recorded great white attack was right next to Alcatraz “meeting area” in October 2015. You can check it out on YouTube by “great white attack Alcatraz”.
About the second question, there was once organised swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco. The only threat is water temperature that is always pretty cold and you can be in it for only an hour before your body will start giving signs of hypothermia.
I highly recommend taking the audio trip! You can hear statements from real prisoners and real officers who give you a real view on how it looks. The climate also is amazing. So you listen to the prisoner saying about what he used to do to kill time in “The Hole”, the term they used for the isolation ward. And then you are getting inside of it, you close your eyes, you listen to the silence… And need to leave because you’re getting crazy yourself.
“If you break rules you go to prison if you break prison rules you go to Alcatraz”. Have you ever thought why Alcatraz? It was the sound of the city so close, children lauging, free people on the Bay. You were so close, but you knew you can’t go there. And that was what was making them crazy.
Looking for Al Capone’s cell? It’s 133, but it’s on the floor so you cannot actually look inside.
What else to see in San Francisco?
There are new sea lions in Pier 39, it’s real fun to watch the way they walk on each other to find a spot to lie down in the sun, or when one of them accidently falls into the water.
If you’re thinking why they’re lying on top of each other, not on empty spaces? Well, they’re very social, they love to hug.
How to say a difference between a seal and a sea lion? Based on their ears, sea lions have actual ears, when seals only have holes.
How to say a difference between male and female (except their size of course)? Males have that weird huge forehead.
You can find out much more in Pier 39 if you want!
Another famous place? Lombard Street, claimed as “the most crooked street in the world”.
Try to walk there on Lombard Street from Van Ness Avenue. Honestly, that walk was my favourite time in San Francisco, the street is amazing! First of all, with the huge upgrade, I only wish I had time to do some intervals up that street! Second of all, it has a beautiful view of San Francisco itself, Golden Bridge and Alcatraz from few different spots.
And of course The Golden Gate Bridge. On our way I was looking for the best spot to photograph Golden Gate and in my opinion the best view, with the best acces is the Fort Point, right under the bridge, right next to Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. It’s amazing to see it during the dusk!
At the end of that post, I want to send you a very important lesson, that I had to learn from experience because I was too proud to think about it before.
No matter where your hotel is if that’s city centre, by the beach, in a small city or a big city, always, ALWAYS read reviews. My adventure of booking the cheapest hotel in city centre ended with broken window and suitcases stolen, and a lot of crying.
I just want to share my opinion with you, just to warn you- don’t stay in that place, please.
In a scale from 1-5? If I only could I would give -5. Let’s start with the first impression- location: surrounded by streets full of homeless, drug addicted, drug dealers and all kinds of people of lower level; second when you got into the lobby- staff: not nice or welcoming at all, having problem to answer any of your questions (we asked if there were towels in our room, with big problem we were told yes, and of course we had to go back there because there were no towels in room); then room: ours was in the alley that was stinking like pee, sheets were kinda clean, but there was bad smell in the room, and air or the heater weren’t fresh at all. But well, it’s not an expensive place, close to the tram and center, it was only one night we just wanted to go and forget if not the episode that happened after our check out. First of all I wanna say 15$ per day for parking is a robbery, BUT we did check out and wanted to leave the car for few more hours to go hang out in San Francisco, so we paid for parking one more time, left the car NEXT TO the reception, UNDER the camera with the alarm ON. We’re coming back our window is broken and our suitcases gone. People at the reception didn’t do ANYTHING, had again problem with calling for the police, didn’t want to call manager to get for us camera footage, didn’t even offer us bathroom or anything after we were waiting for police to come for 8 HOURS. I want people to read it and I want that hotel to be punished one way or another, because neither me, my family, our friends or strangers can’t believe a situation like that had place.”
If you have any questions or feedback I’d love to hear it!