Transport Me Around San Francisco
San Francisco, California, USA
The City by the Bay. Hills, forests, bridges, mad traffic, and the sea. But how do you get to and fro? Well, with so many ways to see this glorious city, why choose just one?
Not to jinx myself, but I seem to be very lucky when I visit San Francisco. The last time I visited was another one of those fortunate times. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so when I first got to town I decided to spend some time down by the water at Fisherman’s Wharf. The first thing you see when you look out into the bay is the island of Alcatraz. But of course, I wanted to get closer. What better way to get a view of the prison than from the deck of one of the ships of the Blue and Gold Fleet. The one hour narrated cruise across the bay and under the Golden Gate bridge is one of the best deals in San Francisco at $20 for adults and $12 for children. Plus, you get a great photo opportunity of all the famous seals who took over the docks of Pier 39 after the earthquake of ’89 without having to brave the lovely aroma you get from land. But an even better plan is to purchase a City Pass booklet, $36 for adults and $28 for kids, which includes the cruise, admission to five city attractions and a 7-day MUNI pass for unlimited use on the buses and cable cars.
Now, Pier 39 may be a bit touristy, but I still find it a lot of fun to stroll in and out of the stores, take in the local street entertainment and snack on some of the best crepes I’ve ever experienced. Don’t miss the phenomenal dolce con leche spread!
Just up the street at Pier 29 and a half, I stumbled upon Electric Time Car Rentals. That sounded like too much fun to pass up. These golf cart-sized cars go about 25 mph and are available in 2 or 4-seaters. I got a 2-seater because it uses less electricity, therefore I could travel longer and further before having to plug back in to juice up. Off I went, zipping around the shoreline in my racy red vehicle beeping and waving at everyone I passed. Driving these cars automatically puts you in a good mood and makes everyone you breeze by smile.
Red Bull was hosting their annual Flugtag flying competition at Pier 30, so I had to do a quick drive-by to witness all the crazy daredevils risk their necks just for the fun of it. Then, I drove down past the Cannery and Ghirardelli Square, through the Marina, a quick jaunt to the Palace of Fine Arts, and up to Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. Because it’s a cinch to park, I’d stop and jump out at every photo opportunity. Back in my pep mobile I headed down through the windy streets of the Presidio and out to Lombard Street. Of course, there could be no better way to meander down the crooked street than from the seat of my cute smile magnet. Up and down, up and down and all the way up to Coit Tower for a beautiful sunset and view of the city. Could there ever be a better day?
With no rest for the weary, I made a mad dash for my hotel to quickly change and, keeping on the go, I used my City Pass MUNI ticket to hop on a cable car and headed up through China Town to one of my favorite Hawaiian Fusion restaurants, Roy’s. Chef John Sikhattana makes melt-in-the-mouth concoctions like Kahana-style shutome with crispy coconut bananas and a Thai peanut sauce, and charred Japanese misoyaki butterfish with panko crisped tofu and sizzling soy vinaigrette. This fatty cod is marinated for three days so that the sauce fills and replaces the fat pockets with flavor. Makes my tummy grumble with excitement just thinking about it. Try their canoe appetizer for two to get a sampling of the many delicacies you can start off with, and don’t forget to put your order in at the beginning of the meal for their signature melting hot dark chocolate souffle. It requires about 20 minutes of preparation time, but it is well worth the wait because with each heavenly bite, time stands still.
With my belly happy and full, I jumped in a cab, another form of transportation that San Francisco is well known for, and meandered over to the Opera House on Van Ness Ave. Since 1925, the San Francisco Opera has been putting on superb performances, and I was not let down with this beautiful rendition of Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). This comedy, sung in Italian with English subtitles, was performed so beautifully that it never lost any of its humor in the translation and I was enthralled all the way through to the last standing ovation. Yes, the old, glamorous charm of the City by the Bay is alive and well in the grand atmosphere of the Opera House.
After being mesmerized by all the theatrics, I floated back to my hotel in a cab that felt more like an enchanted carriage ride. I laid my head on the pillow after a truly magical day, and fairies carried me towards my next journey, into my dreams. But even those couldn’t compare to the wondrous reality of being transported around the beautiful city of San Francisco.