The walks suggested by San Francisco Chaperon allow visitors to explore San Francisco's most popular districts and highlight its eclectic aspects.
Each walk lasts about half a day. The itinerary of the walks are clearly indicated by dotted colored lines in the San Francisco Chaperon maps.
The centerfold map has also a specific itinerary for bicycle lovers and joggers.
These main points of interest in San Francisco can be explored by following the directions in the suggested walks of San Francisco Chaperon.
Today Alcatraz is part of the Golden Gate Recreational Area and attracts millions of visitors every year. It is accessible only by boat on board of Alcatraz Cruises departing from Pier 33, located on the Embarcadero near Fishermans Wharf. Alcatraz Cruises offers various tours and has frequent departures from 9.00 in the morning until the afternoon. Once landed on the island the distance from the dock to the prison at the top of the island is about 0.4 km with a change of elevation of 40 meters. Therefore we suggest very comfortable shoes and warm clothes since the climate on the island is often foggy, cold and windy. The narrated tour of the cell house is available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch and Mandarin. During the summer there are usually very long lines to visit Alcatraz and we recommend buying tickets in advance by calling 415-981-7625 and charging it on a credit card. You can also purchase it online by visiting the
website. Be aware of unauthorized resellers offering Alcatraz tickets at inflated prices!
Union Square, the main square of San Francisco, is ideal for a unique shopping experience. Bordering the theatres and the art galleries district, the square is surrounded by major department stores as well as numerous boutiques of prestigious American and international designers.
Considered one of the largest and most characteristic Chinatowns in the United States, this colorful neighborhood occupies 24 city blocks in the midst of downtown. The main street, Grant Avenue, has a dragon ornate gate and is lined with exotic shops and restaurants. The parallel Stockton Street offers a variety of marketplaces, seafood and poultry shops, Chinese herb pharmacies and traditional Dim Sum restaurants.
This lively Italian neighborhood squeezed between the Financial District, Chinatown and the Fisherman's Wharf, is one of the favored gathering spots for locals. Cradle of the beatnik movement, which used to meet in the unique City Lights bookstore on Columbus Avenue, North Beach has many excellent Italian restaurants and sidewalk cafés. Nearby Broadway Street is the center of the city's nightlife.
South of Market/Embarcadero-Waterfront
In the past several years South of Market, also known as "SoMa," has become a very fashionable district with many gourmet restaurants, museums, experimental theaters, nightclubs, art centers and shopping centers. The most important attractions are the
Museum of Modern Art
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Contemporary Jewish Museum
. The Embarcadero, a boulevard adorned by palm trees along the waterfront, offers beautiful views of the Bay, the Bay Bridge and of the city and the new
The AT&T Park Baseball Stadium
, home of the Giants, is located south of the Embarcadero. The "F line", with its antique colorful trolley cars, links the Fisherman’s Wharf area along the Embarcadero to Market Street.
Nob Hill - Financial District
Nob Hill, the most famous of the main seven hills of San Francisco, has beautiful vistas of the financial district and of the Bay. Some of the most prestigious hotels in San Francisco are located in this elegant neighborhood together with Grace Cathedral, a replica of Notre Dame in Paris, and The Cable Car Museum.
California Street drops from the top of Nob Hill to the modern Financial District, where there are famous skyscrapers like the Bank of America, the Transamerica Building and the Embarcadero Center.
The Ferry Building, at the foot of Market Street, is the terminal for the ferries that connect San Francisco to various parts of the Bay. It comprises a Farmer’s Market and gourmet shops, cafés, and restaurants. Until the late 1930’s, the Ferry Building served as the principal entry into the city. Its 240-feet tall clock tower, modeled after the 12th century bell tower in Seville, has been San Francisco’s waterfront icon for more than 100 years.
Known as the "most crooked street in the world", with its eight turns surrounded by flowers, Lombard Street is the most photographed street in San Francisco. Situated on top of the fashionable Russian Hill, it is reachable by cable car and has stairways on either side for pedestrians.
Located on the top of Telegraph Hill, one of the seven main hills of San Francisco, the observatory deck at Coit Tower offers a spectacular 360°view of the city. At the base of the tower it is possible to see the murals about America's Great Depression by 25 artists inspired by the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
Home of the "hippy" movement during the 1960s, this offbeat neighborhood has a variety of unique shops and restaurants. Crowded with a colorful mixture of locals, over the years Haight Street has kept the character that made it famous during the "summer of love."
Golden Gate Park
This scenic park, completely manmade, is one of the largest urban parks in the world. 5 km long and 1 km wide, it borders with the Pacific Ocean. It has a stunning variety of vegetation, beautiful wooded area, exotic gardens, bike paths, picnic areas, several small lakes and, in the main square, the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and the Japanese Tea Garden.
Union Street is a charming street at the bottom of the elegant residential area of Pacific Heights. It is lined with lovely Victorian houses that, on the ground floor, have fashionable boutiques, cafés, restaurants and bars. In the evening Union Street becomes the meeting place for the local "singles."
With the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in the background, the Marina Green is the perfect place for outdoor activities like kite flying, jogging, sunbathing or strolling along the Bay. The Palace of Fine Arts in this area was designed by the famous Bernard Maybeck in an unusual neoclassic style and adorned with a romantic little lake. It is the only survivor of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915.
Golden Gate Bridge
The symbol of San Francisco, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge
, is an engineering masterpiece. Completed in 1937 during the Great Depression, at the cost of 35 millions dollars, the suspended bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County, on the north side of the Bay. With its unique color that blends with the beauty of its surroundings, the Golden Gate Bridge hovers over the only gateway of the great San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean.