San Francisco Stories and Tips

From the Golden Gate Bridge to Union Street

San Francisco Photo, San Francisco, California

The best way to reach the Golden Gate Bridge is from the Trans Bay Terminal (on 1st Street – near Market Street) with bus 70 or 80 ($2.85 every 30 minutes) or traveling with Muni 30 from Union Square until Chestnut and Laguna and from there Muni 28 until the bridge base. A short ramp gave access to the bridge and even from the very beginning, awesome views of the bay creates a symphony of cameras’ clicks. Walking across the bridge is free and easy: it is flat and the winds cool down the crossing crowds. The first massive column is just five minutes away from the entrance and the second one is a fifteen minutes walk from the first. The traffic is heavy, pedestrians, cyclists, teams of workers painting the bridge and narrow maintenance vehicles fiercely compete for the limited place, but the views compensate for everything.

San Francisco, the East Bay, Marin County, and Alcatraz appear behind a graduated mist, which increases with the distance. Back from the bridge, there are two options of interest: the Presidio and the Golden Gate Promenade. The Presidio is big enough to justify at least a whole day, but if the temptation is too big, there is a free bus – called PresidiGo – with forty stops covering the main sights in it. The second option – the promenade – keeps the bay in constant sight but with a total length of 6.4km it may be a bit too much to walk after crossing the bridge (another six kilometers round-walk); however, Muni 29 travels parallel to the promenade on Mason Street and enables a quick escape at all times. The promenade runs between the bay and Crissy Field – a former runway that has been transformed into a park.

The Warming Hut is an excellent place for a light snack and a natural exit point from the promenade after walking a quarter of it. Roughly half-way along the promenade appears the Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center which is worth a stop. After it, the walk is a bit monotonous but watch out as you approach the town for tourists on the extraordinary Segway Tours vehicles – an electric skate with two wheels sharing one axle. After such an arduous walk, a shopping or eating stop has been rightfully earned; luckily enough, some of the prime locations in town for it are nearby. Chestnut Street is a few blocks to the right along any of the north-to-south streets and Union Street runs parallel to it, for blocks further south. If already too tired for such a walk, Muni 22 from Marina Green (Marina corner Filmore) reaches both streets. Though late to wake up, both streets offer elegant stores and restaurants perfect for relaxing and enjoying a quiet afternoon and evening.

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