San Francisco Local Areas Worth Experiencing

San Francisco offers a unique mix of cultures as well as an amazing array of architecture, parks and spectacular views. Aside from the abundant hills upon which to get exercise, one can walk the neighborhoods to gain a sense of the diversity and beauty of this fabulous city. Historic Victorian homes can be found throughout the city, and walking is one way to gain up-close views.

North Beach
One might begin at North Beach, with a walk through the unique alleys and up and down the hills, spotting hidden architectural gems. Coit Tower, sitting at the top of Telegraph Hill, offers views of the city and is easily reached; known as one of the city’s steepest hills, it is worth the walk. Note that one pays an admission price to go up in the tower by elevator; otherwise it is free. The tower, built in honor of the San Francisco firemen, has an amazing story and fun history, as well as colorful murals that were painted as part of the Public Works of Art project, giving work to artists after the Depression. The base of the tower is free to walk, and the views are spectacular, even from the bottom. Look and listen for the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, a mysterious flock that lives there, as you leave the Hill by the eastern steps. Next, head over to Greenwich Street on the way to Grant Avenue, where you can relax at a cafe or enjoy a lunch; then visit Washington Square Park next to the Saints Peter and Paul Church. You might enjoy people watching or a game of catch right at this popular park, savoring the flavor of its residents that makes the city unique.

Under the Docks in California
San Francisco North BeachStuck in Customs / Travel Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

From North Beach, one can easily walk to Chinatown, with its shops and eclectic Chinese cuisine. One can even buy musical instruments from all over the world at a music center on Sacramento Street; Taiko drums, singing bowls and other traditional instruments can all be found within the shop. Explore the shopping and then get ready for your next adventure: The Stockton Tunnel, located between Powell and Grant. Transported to another world through its passage, the Tunnel introduces you to downtown San Francisco and Union Square, where streetcars and shopping await. Enjoy this tunnel for the sounds and echos that can be heard as you walk through, in this one-of-a-kind experience.

Chinatown Moon Festival 2012
San Francisco Chinatowndavidyuweb / / CC BY-NC-ND

Union Square
If modern day shopping is not your preference, you can board the cable car at Powell and Market for a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf. Or you could just walk through to the other side of Market Street for the next destination: SoMa, meaning South of Market.

I Heart San Francisco
San Francisco Union SquareStuck in Customs / Art Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

Once the site of the down-and-out and a funky place that be, SoMa is now peppered with fun and funky hotels, art studios, eateries, bakeries and much more. Walk the streets to discover its secrets. Soul food, burgers and ethnic delights can be found at reasonable prices and with friendly service. From SoMa head to the Embarcadero to Harbor 40 Pier, where your walk will end with a kayak ride on the beautiful waters of San Francisco Bay. Enjoy sunset from the water, as views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and skyline of this fabulous city abound; it is the perfect ending to a wonderful day of discovery.

San Francisco SoMaThomas Hawk / / CC BY-NC

Whether walking or cruising in a kayak, San Franciso offers fun, spectacular views, delicious breaks for food and a diversity that makes this walkable city truly unique.

Author Bio: Kevin Caldwell travels often and enjoys sharing his experiences and advice with others. You can connect with Kevin on Google+ to learn more about him.

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