July 25, 2008 – San Francisco
In July, we decided to take a little trip to San Francisco.Â Scott had been, but the kids and I hadn’t, so we thought we’d take a trip, and visit family in Southern California, along the way.
I had some things I definitely wanted to see…the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.Â I really wanted to go out on a boat on the bay, but Scott wasn’t too keen on that idea.Â We did want to go to Pier 39, so that’s where we headed first.
Pier 39 is huge!Â We were amazed at all the stuff there was to do.Â PIER 39, San Franciscoâ€™s Premier Bay Attraction, is a festive shopping mecca featuring 110 specialty shops and 12 full-service restaurants serving seafood, California cuisine, and casual fare with beautiful Bay views. At PIER 39 the picturesque scenery captures Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Fishermanâ€™s Wharf and city skyline. PIER 39â€™s two-level design with lush landscaping is a must-see on San Franciscoâ€™s historic waterfront. Thereâ€™s a multitude of fun for everyone with attractions and live entertainment to amuse all ages.
We did end up deciding to do a tour of the bay.Â It was a 1 hour tour that takes you on a scenic tour of San Francisco Bay, within yards of Alcatraz Island, past Angel Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge.Â I thought it was a fantastic tour where you got to see Alcatraz up close.Â I really wanted to go into Alcatraz, but those tours were all booked for when we were going to be there.Â You have to book that tour early!
One of the main attractions for the kids were the sea lions.Â The sea lions camped out in PIER 39’s West Marina have been endearingly coined, “Sea Lebrities.” The boisterous barking sea lions started arriving in droves, taking over the docks in January 1990 shortly after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At first they numbered from 10-50, but due to a plentiful herring supply, available dock space and the marinaâ€™s protected environment, the population grew to more than 300 within a few months. Each winter, the population can increase up to 900 sea lions, most of which are male. During the summer months, the sea lions migrate south to the Channel Islands for breeding season, but in recent years a small group stays year-round at PIER 39’s K-Dock.
After Pier 39, we decided to drive Lombard Street.Â Lombard Street is San Francisco– and America’s crookedest street.Â What does this mean?Â The steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions.Â The street is paved with bricks and is an amazing site to see.Â We tried to take some pictures, but it’s very difficult to capture the essence of the street when you are in the car.
Some of the classiest and most expensive Real Estate in the city, exists on Lombard Street. This Russian Hill neighborhood, somehow possesses stately mansions, condos and townhouses, even with the endless array of tourists pouring down the street every day. In the spring and through the entire summer, Lombard Street is alive with color, as the chrysanthemums, and other well tended flowers are in full bloom.
After Lombard Street, we decided that since we went UNDER the Golden Gate bridge, now we needed to go ON the Golden Gate Bridge, so we paid the fee to cross the bridge, and then turn around and go back.Â Both of the kids commented on how the bridge didn’t look “golden”, but looked red instead.
We had fun in San Francisco, and the next day we stayed at Santa Cruz.Â To see all the pictures from our San Francisco trip, click here!