I love being a tourist in San Francisco.
The other week I found myself back in the city for a few days with the luxury of a day to myself. So I went for a walk.
Length: about 8 miles
Start: The Fairmont Hotel
The good news is that the walk started downhill. It’s downhill in any direction from the Fairmont, but it also means it’s uphill from any direction on the way back. But let’s worry about that in a few miles.
I took Mason St downhill toward Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll find the Cable Car Museum on Mason & Washington. Walking further downhill approximately at Mason & Columbus there is some great urban graffiti art on the walls near a parking lot. Check them out. They are beautiful.
Make a left onto Columbus and walk through a typical San Francisco neighborhood. Take a left on Beach St to get to Ghiradelli Square. Hang out for a bit, get some chocolate, taste some wine, listen to the performers in the square. Then make your way down to the beach. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge from here, but you are still quite a bit away.
Take Jefferson St which brings you right to Fisherman’s Wharf. Geek out on tourist activities: eating, aquarium, shopping, watching the seals, take a bay cruise, or just relax for a bit with a coffee or a milk shake.
Onwards we go walking along The Embarcadero towards the Ferry Building. I love this stretch. There are quite a few new developments here, the new cruise terminal, new restaurants, the Exploratorium. Right before the Ferry Building, walk out onto the pier and turn around. You’ll get an amazing view of San Francisco with many of its landmarks. Then head into the market halls at the Ferry Building. Stop for coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee.
Once you are done exploring the market hall, head out onto Market St. Walk along Market St until you arrive at Westfield Shopping Center. Unless you are a serious shopper, don’t stop but head onto Powell St. The cable cars start at Market & Powell, so you can now either take a cable car back up to the Fairmont or walk up Powell St and get some great hill workout. If you walk you can stop at Union Square and do some shopping at Tiffany’s or Nike Town.
Onwards and uphill on Powell St until you come to California St. Before you turn left, turn around and look at the steep hill you just climbed! AMAZING!
Once you come to the corner of California & Mason (right in front of the Fairmont Hotel), take a good look in all directions and take many photos! Try not to get hit by a car as you will inevitably stand in the middle of the road for the best pictures.
You did it! Wasn’t this an amazing walk? My impressions are summarized in my video: