Alamo Square was laid out in 1857 under Mayor James Van Ness. The square is located on a hill above central San Francisco. The small park is surrounded by Victorian houses that survived the fire after the 1906 earthquake. The houses are all painted in different colors and therefore affectionately called "Painted Ladies". Prostitutes used to be called "painted ladies" because they used very colorful make-up. The view from Alamo Square to the skyline of San Francisco is one of the most popular photo opportunities in the city.
The first Cable Car Line went into operation in 1873. During the earthquake of 1906, all Cabel Car Lines were destroyed. Later Cabel Cars where replaced by trams and busses, only on steep trails the Cabel Car remaind. In 1947 operation should end, but a referendum rescued the Cable Cars of San Francisco.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in the United States. The famous suspension bridge with a main span of 1,280 m was opened in 1937. The red-painted steel bridge is 2,737 m long, the two pylons are each 227 m high. The Golden Gate is the gateway to San Francisco Bay. The bridge spans the port approach and connects San Francisco with northern California. Highway 101 runs over the Golden Gate Bridge, the famous ocean road runs from Los Angeles to Olympia in Washington State. Whoever wants to drive over the bridge has to pay a toll. The Golden Gate Bridge is the symbol of San Francisco.
Many Chinese came to America to work on the railway construction or as gold diggers in the gold rush of 1849. San Francisco was the largest port on the Pacific coast therefore one of the biggest Chinese communities of the United States originated here. Chinatown is one of the top sights in San Francisco because it gives you the feeling of stepping onto another continent. Chinese characters, Asian architectural elements, lanterns and foreign smells make Chinatown a great experience. On the corner of Grand St. and Bush St. is the Dragon Gate with the inscription: Tianxia wei gong "What is under the sky belongs to everyone". A quote from Dr. Sun Yatsen. At 743 Washington Street is the old Chinese Telephone Exchange post office, which looks like a pagoda.
Chinatown is roughly located between California Street - Powell Street - Vallejo Street - Columbus Ave. and Kearny Street. In the shops you can find kitsch from China but also many exotic specialties. The restaurants in Chinatown are rather cheap, the quality is accordingly. If you want to eat well, you should get advice. There are guides that offer culinary tours through Chinatown, see link.
One of the main attractions of San Francisco is Lombard Street, every tourist who has a car or a motorcycle drives down this street. The Lombard Street on Russian Hill had a downhill grade of 27%. In 1923 the street was converted into the most twisting road in the world. The free edges of the curves were planted with flowers, this added the title of the most beautiful street of San Francisco.
The road network of San Francisco was thrown over the topography like a grid. This resulted in extremely steep roads. The steepest street is Filbert Street, with 31%. In the photo you can see Hyde Street with a view towards the harbor.
Lillie Hitchcock Coit donated a high amount of money to make San Francisco more beautiful, after her death in 1929. The 64 m high observation tower named after her, was built on Telegraph Hill in 1934. From Coit Tower you will have the most beautiful view of San Francisco and the Bay Area.
The "Hippie district" was world famous for the "Summer of Love" in 1967. The musicians of Jefferson Airplane, Greatful Dead, Janis Joplin and many more lived here. Today the area around the Haight / Ashbury intersection is still an alternative district with many street festivals and hippie culture stores, even if the Generation of the "Flower Power" slowly disappears.
"The Castro" is the center of the gay and lesbian scene of San Francisco. Since 1967, the district has become a meeting point for homosexuals and trend-setters. Many good restaurants, bars and shops make the district interesting for anyone who is not homophobic.
The "Mission District" is an urban district with street art on the walls and many small cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. The lively neighborhood still has the harsh charm that "Haight/Ashbury" has already lost.
Alcatraz is a legendary prison island on San Francisco Bay. The crossing is worthwhile because of the view of the skyline. A lighthouse was the first structure on the island, later a fort was built. The famous prison was built on the Rock in 1911 and was closed in 1963, because the reinforcement in the concrete was corroded. Cruise ships depart from Pier 33. See link for prices and departure times.
Welcome to San Francisco
The Bay of San Francisco served as a mission and military base for the Spaniards from 1777 onwards. After the independence from Spain, the city belonged to Mexico. After the "Mexican-American War" in 1848, California became part of the USA.
Today, San Francisco is known for its easy-going West Coast mentality, the "Flower Power" and the "Summer of Love". In the nearby "Silicon Valley" almost all major Internet giants have their HQ's, like Google, Oracle, Apple, eBay, Amazon and Facebook.
Most famous Landmarks of San Francisco are the "Golden Gate Bridge" and the "Cable Cars".
San Francisco and Northern California
The north of California is cooler and rougher than southern California. There is a lot to discover in the "Bay Area" and even in San Francisco there is a lot of nature, such as Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach and sea lions in the harbor. Those who have a little more time for Northern California should check out the Redwoods, Yosemite National Park and 17 Mile Drive. For wine lovers, the Napa Valley has become an attraction. The wine towns now also offer excellent restaurants.