Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Bay Area

More photos

San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination known for its steep hills, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and Chinatown. One third of commuters use public transportation in the form of cable cars, trolleys, commuter rail, light rail, and buses.

On day 1, I arrived at San Francisco International Airport and took BART ($8.10) to Union Square. Department stores, hotels, and the theater district surround the plaza for several blocks. I stayed at Parc 55 Hotel which I booked via Hotwire for $90 per night.

The next day I took the trolley to Castro for sandwiches at Ike’s Place featured on the Man v. Food TV show. You can purchase a 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day passport for unlimited rides on all public transit besides BART. After lunch, I made my way to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.

Pier 39 is home to many Sea Lions. Instead of touring Alcatraz, I made a reservation with Adventure Cat and sailed the bay on a Catamaran. This was a great opportunity to see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco Skyline. Mention the discount on myBart.org and receive $5 off.

Later in the afternoon, I stopped by the famous Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown and then traveled to Oakland for an Athletics/Twins baseball game. Everywhere I go, I try to attend at least one sporting event and take in the venue.

On the last day, I had Dim Sum at Yank Sing. It was the most I ever paid for Dim Sum but the food was good. Then, I took the cable car north to walk Lombard and the renowned crooked street, always popular with the tourists. I spent the majority of the day in Union Square doing some shopping and enjoying a few drinks with friends from the area.

You do not need to rent a car in San Francisco unless you are going to Napa. Public transportation is efficient and safe. I would advise people to be careful walking around in some areas especially at night. There are a fair amount of homeless folks.

Next stop Seattle and Vancouver.

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