San Francisco, CA

Our trip to California started in San Francisco and ended in San Diego. This journal highlights the time we were in San Francisco.


Yuet Lee

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by notso62 on March 6, 2006

In a city of tremendous Asian cultural influences, Yuet Lee is a superb example of a casual Chinese eatery. The staff is excellent, and the food is great! Who could ask for anything more?

Just because Yuet Lee is open late does not mean it lacks in quality service. The first time I visited San Francisco, my family and I popped into this restaurant for a quick bite to eat. Not only was the hostess super friendly, but she gave us many nice insider tips to where we should go, what we should do, etc. It was much-appreciated advice in the least expected of places. She acted as if we were regular local customers, as opposed to the misplaced tourists which we were. It was one of my favorite memories of my first trip out here.

The food at Yuet Lee is as excellent as the service is. They specialize in seafood dishes prepared with authentic Chinese recipes and ingredients. They also have a nice variety of noodle dishes, for those of us that are not fish fans. Some stranger, but authentic, Chinese dishes are on the menu as well such as fish-head soup and duck feet. I have only stuck to the more Americanized portion of the menu, but everything is so good that it is hard to imagine making a bad choice with any of the dishes.

Yuet Lee also has cuisine available conveniently for take-out and delivery. It is one of my favorite restaurants I have ever been to. The casual atmosphere and friendly environment makes it a great place to go as you're passing through the city, or here to stay.

Yuet Lee
1300 Stockton St
San Francisco, California, 94133
+1 415 982 6020

Lombard Street

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by notso62 on November 29, 2005

Lombard Street is one of the major arteries of the city of San Francisco, but between the blocks of Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street in the Russian Hill section of town, the street serves as more of a sight to see as opposed to the best way for traffic to get through. It is here that the street becomes incredibly narrow, windy, and steep. It has the claim of the "crookedest road" in America and was one of my favorite sights in all of San Francisco.

Lombard Street boasts an incline of 27 degrees--that's pretty steep! Its curves were designed in the 1920s by necessity rather than for aesthetic. Cars and people could not just go down the hill without crashing or falling over and rolling to an unpleasant demise. The banked curves helped make it possible for cars to navigate this cliff (both going up and coming down).

Though this historic section of Lombard Street is now a one-way road (going down the hill), the curves are still a necessity. In the past, task forces and commissions have tried to deal with the traffic problems this section of the street causes, but in the end, they have found that banning parking during the summer and making it a one-way street is all they can do.

This section of Lombard Street is a very swanky section of town and an excellent place to get a view of the nearby attractions like Coit Tower and Alcatraz. Mums bloom during the warmer months in the garden plantings that line the curves, which adds to this neighborhood's beauty. The houses on this block are among the priciest in San Francisco and beautifully kept up.

For the best view of Lombard's quirky design, try looking from the bottom of the hill upwards. It is just amazing how this brick-road section has served its purpose for so many years yet is still such a tourist's marvel.

Lombard Street is truly a San Francisco sight that must be seen for yourself. You won't see anything like it anywhere else!

Lombard Street
Between Leavenworth and Hyde Streets on Russian Hill
San Francisco, California

Ghirardelli Square

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by notso62 on November 29, 2005

In 1852, Domingo Ghiradelli founded the Ghiradelli chocolate company in San Francisco. In 1893, he purchased this entire city block in order to turn it into his company's headquarters. It grew quickly and was moved to San Leandro in the 1960s. It was one of the largest independently owned chocolate brands in the United States until it was purchased by the Swiss company Lindt in the 1990s.

Ghirardelli Square still pays homage to its chocolate roots, even though the company that gave it its namesake has long since moved on. The Ghirardelli sign that rests above the old headquarters is still intact and large enough to be seen from many a vantage point in the city. It has been preserved as a historic landmark so that it can be enjoyed by all, while at the same time paying homage to one of the city's best-known entrepreneurs.

The square's brick buildings have been preserved but converted into shops and restaurants without destroying the structures. The smell of chocolate still manages to permeate the area, with many of the shops devoted to this sweet. The Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Ice Cream shop boasts the best ice-cream sundaes in the world--and I would be inclined to agree, having yet to taste any better. There are many places where you can buy Ghirardelli chocolate in the square today as well if you would like to bring some home as a souvenir.

There are many shops, galleries, and restaurants so that all travelers in your party will find something to please them. There are plenty of cute gift shops here, so you can load up on unique and original items from your trip for gifts or as mementos.

Ghirardelli Square is a great place to visit since this is a historic sight that has a fair share of charm and whimsy. The shops and restaurants do not interfere with the square's historic vibe, but make the square even more bustling with activity. On top of it all, it is a great place for chocolate-lovers to see where one of their favorite brands got its big start and to sample how it tastes today!

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point St
San Francisco, California, 94109
(415) 775-5500

Alcatraz

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by notso62 on January 12, 2006

From the years 1934 to 1963, Alcatraz was not a place people liked to visit. The once-federal penitentiary island in the middle of San Francisco Bay was home to a maximum security prison with notorious convicts, such as the gangster Al Capone and Robert Stroud. Thanks to the preservation efforts of the National Park Service, that has changed, and Alcatraz is now one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco.

Alcatraz Island has much more history than just the infamous prison that once operated there. In the 1800s, it became the West Coast's first US military fort. It is also home to the West Coast's oldest lighthouse.

Before the federal penitentiary took hold of the island, Alcatraz was also known for its gardens and nature. Today, the flora and fauna that flourish there isolated from the mainland are protected and researched intently by the National Park Service. Though the gardens are no longer curated, they serve as a reminder of the people who once thought of the island as a home.

Visitors board cruises that periodically make the trip out to Alcatraz from piers 39 and 41 on the mainland. There are several different type of cruises to suit different groups well, some historically minded, some more focused on nature. Tourists can pick and choose whatever trip would interest them the most.

Visitors of the island are welcome to tour the old buildings of the prison and the other parts of the island as well. It is open from 9am to 4:30pm and guided tours are available for those who wish to become more informed. There is also a very nice self-guided tour package that consists of a map and written guide that can be obtained for a $1 at the bookshop. By far the most interesting is the "cellhouse recorded tour," a taped 35 minutes in the words of former inmates and prison guards. You can put yourself in their shoes!

Perhaps the most underrated thing about Alcatraz is its impeccable view of the San Francisco Bay and city. You can see everything from here (fog permitting), and it offers a unique, unobstructed viewpoint.

It is recommended to make tour reservations a week in advance, especially during busier tourist times, like the summer months. Tickets are available at www.blueandgoldfleet.com

 

Alcatraz Island/The Rock
San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, 94133
(415) 705-5555

Golden Gate Bridge

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by notso62 on January 12, 2006

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizable man-made structures in the United States. It's hard to think of an America without the Golden Gate, but the bridge has only been connecting Marin County to points north since 1937. In under 70 years its iconic Art Deco shape painted "International Orange" has become timeless. The 1.7-mile span over the opening of the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean has been crossed by over 1 billion people over the years. It's impossible to say what San Francisco would be like without it.

I must admit I was quite disappointed with the Golden Gate Bridge before I went to visit it. For the week before I went to the visitor center and crossed over the bridge itself, I could never even see the structure due to the thick fog that forms around it each and every day. I had seen the orange structure in movies and television shows, but I was very dismayed when I could not see it for myself. The fog is formed by the warm and humid Pacific air meeting the cold water of the bay almost at the point where the bridge spans. This is the reason why the bridge was painted the orange color to begin with.

When I did visit the visitor center (open from 8:30am to 7:30pm each day) on the Marin County side of the bridge, I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting facts and history that surround the structure. I wasn't quite as let down about not being able to see the bridge anymore. What I found particularly interesting was the information about painting and work on the bridge, which is continuously ongoing. These workers brave the fog and extreme heights to keep the roads and structure safe without having to close it down ever for repairs.

When I finally did leave Marin County by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge itself, I was even more pleasantly surprised. Though you could not see the bridge unless you were on it that day due to the fog, it was quite striking to see the beautiful orange Art Deco towers emerging from the mist as you made your way over. Though I never did get to see the bridge in its entirety from the distance, the trip over it more than made up for this.

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco, California

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