Looking to explore San Francisco on foot, without renting a car? Start your elliptical workouts now and check out these easy tips to enjoy a self-guided walking tour of San Francisco.
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I left my heart in San Francisco
Ah, San Francisco! Home to clam chowder in bread bowls, big hills, squeaky cable cars...and me! Though I rarely mention it, as it was quite a long time ago now, I was actually born in SF, back before the seals had taken over Pier 39! More on them later! I've had the pleasure to return several times over the years, as we have family out there still.
Can I see San Francisco
Assuming you're staying in Union Square, start by walking through the Financial District to the Ferry Building, the headquarters of San Francisco's Embarcadero. It's about a mile walk from Union Square, though entirely flat, which is nice. Let the lack of hills lull you into a false sense of security!
Explore the Piers
After a good ole' study, biologists decided it was a good spot for them, and a great tourist attraction was born! The sea lions love nothing more than pushing each other off of high places, so catch a bit of the pushing and shoving...and then move along. There's a bit of pushing and shoving among the people, as well.
Scomas in Fishermans' Warf
Stop for lunch at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco, Scoma's. Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf is the original, though they do have other locations. If you are heading out to Sausalito, I would absolutely eat at that Scoma's, as well! An SF classic, Scoma's feels like a step back in time. With white-coat-clad waiters, stiff cocktails, and fish that comes right off the pier, it's a bit like a scene from Mad Men, gone West. Prices are a bit high, but if you scope out the menu, you can definitely snag some lunch deals that won't break the bank. And even if they do, it's worth it. Scoma's also has a nice bar, if you're just looking to get off your feet for a bit!
Scoma's is also a celebrity haunt, for my celebrity watchers! The whole restaurant was crawling with Federal protection officers when we visited, though we had the awkward situation of no one knowing who the people were they were protecting (and we all went over and spied!).
Our final stop for this portion of the walk is Ghirardelli Square, home to the former chocolate factory founded by SF's favorite chocolatier in the mid-19th century. There's not a huge amount to do in this area, but you can get your first good glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, to the West!
Cable Car Adventure
Walk back to your hotel from Ghiridelli Square
Extra Credit: Cavallo Point Lodge
Cavallo Point is a former Army base, turned event facility and fancy hotel! The Cavallo Point Lodge is a cozy place to grab a drink, and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge are unbeatable.
San Francisco walking tour: Day 2
If you're in the mood for the classic clam chowder in a bread bowl, be sure to stop by one of the branches of Boudin, either here, or throughout the city, to warm up!
The new Gumps, Union Square
And, *of course,* while you're in Union Square, be sure to check out Gumps. For the uninitiated, Gumps was a San Francisco classic high-end house store that went out of business at the end of 2018, to the dismay of many. Having been purchased, it has been revived first as an online store, so be sure to support the "new" company.
Extra credit in Union Square:
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco's China Town
Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill
Being a more recent cathedral, the church offers interesting allusions to some of Europe's most well-known cathedrals, including replicas of Florence's Ghiberti Doors and Chartres' labyrinth.
The Tonga Room, The Fairmont, Nob Hill
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