On our second day in San Francisco we woke up to some bright and shiny weather, and were ecstatic to get outside and play!
Golden Gate Bridge: The most obvious tourist attraction in San Francisco was where we decided to begin our adventure. Despite the fact that we attempted to traverse the bridge at 10:30 in the morning, there was an unsatisfying amount of traffic. Instead of going over the bridge with the traffic, we decided to take a close exit and find some good photo opportunities. We took the McArthur exit (I believe that's what it was called! It was right before you would go through the entrance booths to cross the bridge ) and stopped at the first pull-off. There were some decent views of the bridge and Alcatraz, but we found much better views when we drove a little further to the second pull-off. This pull-off has a parking lot (no charge!) and looks deceptively unattractive as the viewing area is covered in wood chips. However, past the woods chips is a path down to the water with wonderful views of the bridge as well as access to the only civil war fort on the west coast. Go here for good pics!
Chinatown: Chinatown was awesome! It was full of bright colors, fascinating shops, and exotic eateries. Grant is the street you definitely want to hit up when visiting here. It is the most crowded for a reason. It has a kite shop, bakery, quite a few restaurants, uncountable knick-knack stores, and a wonderful little tea shop, which provides great gifts for mom. Tucked away, Ross Ally has a small fortune cookie factory where you can watch them make the cookies at record speed and purchase some of their delicious creations. Sacramento Street holds Clarion Music Center at which John and I had a blast testing out our musical skills on the foreign instruments housed there. If you are wondering where to park, I would recommend the Golden Gate Garage. On the weekend it is only $7 for the whole day and has a shuttle which can drop you off close to Chinatown. It is definitely another world you will have a fun time exploring!
The Crooked Street: The quickest attraction of our trip. It is exactly what it sounds like. Traversing down the side of a hill, it curves back and forth in a zig-zag fashion. While a little bit of a scary and steep drive, it provides some spectacular views.
Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39: If you want to find some entertaining street performers, this is it! From steel drum bands, skeleton men, and silver and gold egg-crate dancers they pretty much have it all. We parked at Anchorage Mall and were able to get validated by purchasing candy from the Candy Barrel. Of course there are other options of validation. If you are a seafood lover, Fisherman's wharf will be your haven. Plenty of seafood restaurants, crab stands boiling crabs right on the street, and of course the Sourdough Bread Company with their famous bread and clam chowder. Pier 39 was like walking down Disneyland's Main Street. Lots of music, shops, entertainment, and dessert stalls. If you walk to the end you will find some great ocean views and, most likely, a mass of seals sunbathing on the docks.