Set on more than 50 hills, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is an atypical American metropolis. The fact that it belongs to San Andreas Fault, which predisposes it to a constant threat of earthquakes, was an essential criterion that determined the architecture to be built largely horizontally, avoiding as much as possible the skyscrapers, respectively their collapse in the case of strong shocks.
The biggest earthquake occurred more than a century ago, in 1906, when the city was completely destroyed both by its magnitude and by the fires that burst afterward. However, San Francisco has reborn in what today we can call a real American metropolis, inhabited by about 1 million people and visited by more than 25 million tourists.
Because I had heard a lot about him, and because I really wanted to visit, I gave it a few hours of the itinerary for the 10-day trip to the West Coast of the United States. Here’s what you can see in San Francisco if you have less than a day at your disposal:
Cross The Golden Gate Bridge
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that this is the place chosen by some to end their lives and tick this when you visit the city built on more than 50 hills: cross the famous reddish bridge, Golden Gate.
Depending on the time you have, you can choose a walk where you can see even the smallest details, you can improve your physical condition by crossing it on the two wheels of a bike or you can choose the most convenient and quick method, cross it by the car, and stop at one of its ends to admire it indefinitely.
There are many points from which you can have a beautiful view of the bridge that connects The Fog City to the town of Sausalito, but we landed in the north on the Golden Gate Heights, and we stopped in Vista Point. Although I didn’t enjoy the most serene sky, I took some beautiful photos of the bridge, and I was pleasantly impressed by its grandeur.
Its total length is 2.7 km and its height reaches 227 meters. The impressive construction, completed in 1933, is considered to be “the most photographed bridge in the world”.
You probably wonder why the red color for Golden Gate was chosen. Well, it was not the aesthetics that mattered the most, but the fact that it needed a strong color for the bridge to be visible to the ships that were going to pass under it, especially on the foggy days, in San Francisco Bay.
However, what we consider to be bright red is, in fact, in its official name, orange international. Initially, the U.S. Navy wanted to color the bridge in yellow and black stripes for even better visibility, but to be more aesthetically, it was decided that Golden Gate would be “dressed” in the famous red hue. Hm, how would the bridge look like if the first color version were accepted?
Visit Transamerica Pyramid
Take a look at the city’s Financial District for a few moments and measure with a glance the second tallest building in the city, as well as the most recognizable, Transamerica Pyramid. The 260-meter-high building was surpassed this year by another impressive tower, Salesforce Tower.
Although it has over 3000 windows, the design of the building allows them to rotate 360 degrees, so they can be washed from the inside, which seems very ingenious to me. In the past, it could go up to the 27th floor for a top view of the city, but this was banned after September 11, 2001.
Walk along the Lombard Street
The crookedest street in the world, Lombard Street has gained an international reputation and a well-deserved place in the Guinness Book. We already know that San Francisco is a city built entirely on the hills, so steep slopes have led to situations where the only solutions were that the streets have enough bend to facilitate the climbing of cars.
It seems that the Russian Hill is so steep that Lombard Street had to be very “straggling” and therefore extremely attractive for tourists worldwide.
Interestingly, you can walk up and down, using the over 500 steps on both sides of the street. I didn’t think too much about it, and I strolled down, among the hundreds of tourists in the corners of the world, especially Asia, but also among the multitude of trees and pastel-colored houses. A, and if your favorite flowers are hydrangeas, then you have another reason to love Lombard Street because here you will find a lot of them, in blue and pink shades. We didn’t see them in their best period, given that we visited the street in October, but during the summer I am convinced that the landscape becomes extremely colorful and beautiful.
If you’re out with the car, at the end of your visit, you must descend the wheel so you can feel on your skin what many locals are experiencing every day.
Although it’s only 180 meters long, you need a few minutes to cross it, especially as many tourists do the same thing every day so. Oh, and from the north side of the street, you can easily spot the famous Alcatraz prison that I really want to visit when I will spend more time in San Francisco.
Explore the streets
Even if you’ve already seen one of the prettiest, Lombard Street, that doesn’t mean you have to stop here. San Francisco is a charming city from any angle you look, and the fact that it is built on the hills contributes to its uniqueness. Walk on the streets, admire the architecture, look at people, and enjoy the trees.