A June 2006 trip
to San Francisco by SeenThat
Quote: The first week in a new place is always the most exciting one: new views, people, and customs create the impressions we will take with us. The East Bay of the far west is surrounded by San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland and provides an awesome area to explore.
Hiding beneath its bigger neighbor shade, Oakland has a beautiful inner lake, a definite relaxed ambience, a friendly Asian town with Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Cambodian and Laotian restaurants, a redwoods forest above them all and awesome views of the bay from up the ridge delimiting the city.
Berkeley is an intriguing place to visit and explore the secrets of scientific output. Greener than the former two, this is the place for an afternoon picnic in one of its extensive parks. Tiny theatres provide affordable shows to close a day with a cultural tone. Enclosed between Berkeley and Oakland, tiny Emeryville resembles a huge shopping mall and has the best views of San Francisco from the East Bay area.
After 18:00 there is a well-defined feeling of danger in the streets of San Francisco. Policemen taking a handcuffed couple in Market Street were my first sight of the hour and quickly lead me to safer shores. Except for a water-balloon flying in my direction, Oakland and Berkeley seem much safer.
In the East Bay, the cluster of towns in front of San Francisco and across the bay, can be messy to identify the town you are in without looking at a map. Luckily, there is a color code to the streets’ signs; green for Oakland and Piedmont, blue for Emeryville and brown or violet for Berkeley. Oakland is mainly a labor-class neighborhood, in Piedmont live the richer neighbors, Emeryville hosts the big shopping zones and Berkeley is a university town.
The MUNI (www.sfmuni.com/) is a system of trains and buses serving the city of San Francisco. Tickets cost 1.50 and a free transfer ticket can be obtained and used within 90 minutes. The website offers a comfortable Trip Planner.
AC Transit (www.actransit.org/) is a system of buses covering the East Bay towns. Trips cost 1.75 and a 0.25 transfer ticket is valid for 90 minutes; trips can be planned through their website.
Transbay buses cost 3.5 and cross the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge. At San Francisco they conveniently stop at a terminal close to both Market and Mission streets.
At www.sparetheair.org, it is possible to check if the current day is a Spare the Air Day; if so, all the options mentioned above are free.
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Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 24, 2008
Tel Aviv, Israel