Up hills. Down hills. Over hills. We walked as much of San Francisco as we could in the time we had in port.
After two days of cruising on Le Boreal from Vancouver – and stuffing our faces with the most divine French food (Le Boreal is operated by the French cruise line, Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions) – it felt good to stretch our sea legs and get a little exercise.
We’ve visited San Francisco on several occasions (and tried many of its fabulous restaurants). We’re familiar with Union Square, crooked Lombard Street, hoity-toity Nob Hill, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. This time, we wanted to explore some different areas of San Francisco – and take different photos of San Francisco neighborhoods.
After a brisk walk down the Embarcadero Promenade to the 1898 Ferry Building for coffee and Internet time, we made our way up the Greenwich Street Steps, past the cutest pastel-colored Victorian houses and gardens, to Coit Tower and historic Telegraph Hill.
The Italian district of North Beach beckoned next.
And then it was back up Telegraph Hill and down the Filbert Street Steps to the Embarcadero again – and onto our ship for our onward expedition to the Sea of Cortez and Acapulco.
Below are some of our photos of San Francisco neighborhoods…
A wide seaside promenade, the Embarcadero runs along much of the city’s waterfront. The cruise ship terminal is found here; tour boats for the famous prison island of Alcatraz also leave from one of the piers. Fisherman’s Wharf is at the north end.
Near Pier 1, the Ferry Building has a collection of gourmet food stores and coffee shops. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to nosh on oysters or burgers by the waterfront.
Filbert and Greenwich Street Steps
Two stretches of Filbert and Greenwich Streets running to the top of Telegraph Hill are too steep for cars.
You have to climb up hundreds of steps instead – 377 steps wooden stairs for Filbert Street. On the way, you pass pastel-colored “gingerbread” houses (some date back as far as 1870) and pretty flower-filled gardens.
In the 1930s, Lillie Hitchcock Coit wanted to beautify the city, so she had the 210-foot Coit Tower built atop Telegraph Hill. Inside at the base are several colorful murals. Some were painted by artists who studied under Mexican painter Diego Rivera, who was married to Frida Kahlo. (No wonder they reminded us of Diego Rivera’s murals!)
While you can pay to go to the top of the tower, we thought the views from the surrounding park area were stellar enough!
Immigrants from Genoa and Sicily who moved to San Francisco settled in the North Beach area, setting up scores of Italian restaurants, cafés and bars.
George saw a “books” sign and quickly made a beeline for the City Lights Bookstore. Founded in 1953 as a left-leaning literary hangout, this paradise for bibliophiles has a vast selection of books on every conceivable topic from classic European literature and contemporary poetry to sexual politics.
George could have spent hours browsing inside – only the promise of a cappuccino could persuade him to leave.