San Francisco – One

San Francisco … The City by the Bay … is a wonderful travel destination. In these two photo galleries I’ll show you most of its landmarks, iconic sites and points of interest. So grab your pencil and an airplane ticket. Let’s go!

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1 Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is unquestionably the most recognizable suspension bridge in the world. Since 1937, most people walked along Crissy Field near Fort Point in Presidio park to get this view. Or they drove, walked or rode a bike across the nearly 9,000 foot length. But in 2012 the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion opened. It offers a splendid observation area, bike and walking paths plus educational exhibits.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94129
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2 Lyon Street Steps View in San Francisco, California

If you are an athlete, you will love the challenge of running up and down the 288 steps at the intersection of Broadway and Lyon Streets. For everyone else, you will love this spectacular view of the manicured hedges leading into the Cow Hollow neighborhood, beyond the Palace of Fine Arts and into San Francisco Bay.

Broadway & Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94115
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3 Palace of Fine Arts Beside Lagoon in San Francisco, California

In 1915, in preparation for hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition world’s fair, ten magnificent yet temporary structures were built on 630 acres in today’s Marina neighborhood. This dome building alongside a lagoon, called the Palace of Fine Arts, is the only one that remains on the original site. It was reconstructed in 1965.

3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123
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4 Palace of Fine Arts Weeping Women in San Francisco, California

The entrance to the Palace of Fine Arts was originally built in 1915 to simulate ruins from ancient Roman or Greek architecture. I was mesmerized by the tall colonnade leading to the main domed pergola. The sculptures on these Corinthian columns, designed by Ulric Ellerhusen, are called the Weeping Women.

3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123
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5 The Cannery Del Monte Plant No. 1 in San Francisco, California

After the 1906 earthquake, Del Monte Foods rebuilt their fruit and vegetable processing facilities into Plant No. 1 which at the time was the world’s largest cannery. After it stopped operations in 1937, it became a warehouse that was scheduled for demolition until it was purchased in 1963 by Leonard Martin. Today, The Cannery consists of over 30 shops and restaurants contained within the original brick walls.

2801 Leavenworth St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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6 Couple on Rented Bicycles at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California

Numerous tourists rent bikes to ride around Fisherman’s Wharf and pass the numerous historic piers along the waterfront on Embarcadero. More adventurous cyclists go across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. But don’t try navigating the hills of downtown San Francisco. It is far less strenuous to ride a cable car.

496 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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7 Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, California

Hyde Street Pier offers tours of several ships that are part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park run by the National Park Service. On the left is Balclutha, a three-mast, full-rigged ship that was built in 1886. In the middle is the C.A. Thayer, a schooner from 1895. On the right is Eureka, a paddle steamboat that went into service as a ferry in 1890.

2905 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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8 Fisherman’s Wharf Sign in San Francisco, California

The Golden Gate Bridge is the most iconic symbol of San Francisco but a close second is this Fisherman’s Wharf sign. It was first installed on the corners of Jefferson and Taylor Streets in 1968. Over time, it was getting rusted and corroded so $115,000 was spent in 2013 to give it a complete facelift.

2820 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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9 Fresh Seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California

If you like seafood, then head to Fisherman’s Wharf where fishermen began docking and selling their fresh catch during the 19th century. Today, the area is mostly a tourist attraction. The street vendors serve ready-to-eat nibbles in plastic cups. If you don’t want to share your snack with pesky seagulls, then enjoy your Dungeness crab and clam chowder from a family restaurant or dine at one of several national chains.

2809 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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10 Bushman at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California

Since 1980, David Johnson, better known as the “World Famous Bushman” has sat on a plastic milk crate at Fisherman’s Wharf while hiding behind eucalyptus branches. When a tourist walks by, he jumps out with a scary sound. His victims are startled while a watching crowd laughs.

236 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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11 Laffing Sal at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco, California

A must visit but hard to find attraction along Fishermans Wharf is Musée Mécanique, a collection of over 200 antique penny arcade games, nickelodeons, music boxes, fortune tellers, and vintage pinball. My favorite is Laffing Sal, a six foot somewhat creepy animated figure who delighted or scared children at Playland on the Beach from 1940 to 1972. The free museum is located at Pier 45, Shed A.

45 Sausalito - San Francisco Pier 41, San Francisco, CA 94133
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12 Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California

Most people know Alcatraz as the federal penitentiary that operated from 1934 until 1963. What they are surprised to learn is that starting in 1853 it was a U.S. Army fort equipped with over 100 canons, 10,000 muskets and 150,000 cartridges of ammunition. The lighthouse, the first along the Pacific coast, was built in 1854. “The Rock” is now managed by the National Park Service.

[37.825862, -122.421393]
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13 Marine Terminal Ticket Booth at Pier 41in San Francisco, California

A delightful way to experience San Francisco Bay is on a cruise and there are lots of options: sail for dinner, a brunch, an hour or for several hours. You can also buy a ticket at the Marine Terminal at Pier 41 for a ferry to several nearby locations. Regardless of which option and fleet you choose, you will enjoy the scenery and experience.

41 Vallejo - Pier 41, San Francisco, CA 94133
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14 Forbes Island Restaurant in San Francisco, California

If you are eccentric and rich, why not build your own floating island as a residence? That’s what Forbes Kiddoo did in 1980. But then it spent years at different dock locations before mooring between Pier 39 and 41 in 1999. Since then, it has been renovated from his home with three state rooms and a waterfall hot tub to a gourmet, underwater restaurant with its own 40 foot lighthouse, sandy beach and palm trees outside.

2 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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15 Spyhopping Gray Whale Mural by Wyland in San Francisco, California

This mural of two gray whales by Robert Wyland, the famous marine artist, is number 60 in his series of 100 life-size Whaling Walls. It shows an adult female and her calf “spyhopping” which means the mammal maintains its head above water for up to several minutes. The artwork is located across from Pier 39 on Embarcadero. It was dedicated on September 5, 1994.

1789 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133
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16 Pier 39 Entrance and Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco, California

Since it opened in 1978, Pier 39 has grown into a large collection of shops, chain restaurants, snack kiosks and entertainment venues along either side of a long wooden boardwalk. It is definitely designed for tourists and especially for families with kids.

Pier 39, Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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17 Pier 39 Sea Lions in San Francisco, California

Perhaps the most popular activity at Pier 39 is watching the sea lions sleep, lounge, jostle and bark on floating platforms. These half ton mammals first arrived in 1989 and at their peak in 2009, over 1,700 of the California Sea Lions had taken shelter on the docks. It is definitely a fun photo opportunity. However, after a few minutes, their loud noises and odor might send you walking.

Pier 39, Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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18 Grays Off the San Francisco Coast Mural by Wyland in San Francisco, California

This mural called “Grays Off the San Francisco Coast” was painted on the side of Pier 39 in 1994 and dedicated on the same day as another Robert Wyland mural across Embarcadero. It is a tribute to the critically endangered gray whales that swim along the Pacific Coast during their annual migration from Alaska to the Baja California Sur.

Pier 39, Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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19 Aquarium of the Bay Entrance in San Francisco, California

The Aquarium of the Bay next to Pier 39 along Embarcadero predominately features marine life from the San Francisco Bay. In addition to delighting about 600,000 visitors a year with their exhibits of 20,000 aquatic animals, they are also partners with The Bay Institute to help protect and restore the waters around San Francisco.

2 The Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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20 Floating Sea Nettles at Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, California

These Pacific sea nettles floating in a 740 gallon tank are mesmerizing to watch. It seems their bell-shaped bodies illuminate colors while their long tentacles, which can reach ten feet, dance and sway in the water. Their scientific name is chrysaora fluscescens. They can be found along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Canada and also at the Aquarium of the Bay. They have three large exhibit areas that showcase over 20,000 marine animals from the San Francisco Bay.

2 The Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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21 Ferry Building Clock Tower in San Francisco, California

This 245 foot tower has four, 22 foot clocks that have been ticking away the time and playing the notes of Westminster Quarters since the Ferry Building was built in 1898. Once an incredibly busy and essential terminal for transportation across the bay, it now only provides ferry service to Oakland, Larkspur and Tiburon. After a renovation in 2003, it also contains office space, a market and, during three days a week on the plaza, a farmers’ market.

One Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111
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22 Soma Sculpture by Flaming Lotus Girls in San Francisco, California

If you ever wondered what two neurons look like when they communicate, then find this sculpture called “Soma” at Pier 14 along Embarcadero. Created in 2009 by the Flaming Lotus Girls, a group of volunteer artists that are sponsored by the Black Rock Arts Foundation, this interactive artwork lights up at the push of a button. Then you can ponder the “foundation of the human mind” while staring at the Bay Bridge.

Pier 14, San Francisco, CA 94105
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23 Bay Bridge View Along Pier 14 in San Francisco, California

Over 40 piers cover the waterfront along Embarcadero. The odd numbers are northwest of the Ferry Building and the even ones start on the other side. Most tourists restrict their visit to those along Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. But take a quiet stroll along Pier 14. It offers spectacular views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, better known as the Bay Bridge. This western section is about 4.5 miles long and connects downtown San Francisco with Yerba Buena Island.

Pier 14, San Francisco, CA 94105
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24 Getting a Shoeshine in San Francisco, California

Sometimes the simplest services are the most fun to receive and one of them is getting a shoeshine by a professional shoeshiner who has never met a shoe he can’t sparkle.

5 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
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25 Cable Car on Powell and Market Turntable in San Francisco, California

This is cable car No. 24 being reversed on a manual turntable at the intersection of Powell and Market. This transportation system started in San Francisco in 1873 and grew into 23 lines by 1890 but only three remain today. Nearly seven million tourists a year thrill to the iconic bells and rumbling sounds as the cars climb and descend the steep hills of the city.

Powell & Market Streets, San Francisco, CA 94102
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26 Glass Rotunda Ceiling at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, California

While power shopping around Union Square, you must go inside Neiman Marcus and gaze at this stunning glass ceiling that covers a four-story atrium. If you want a more leisurely experience, have afternoon tea or a meal at their Rotunda restaurant. It is a bit expensive but this view is worth it. The dome is all that remains of the City of Paris department store that was built in 1896.

150 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
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27 Victory on Dewey Monument at Union Square in San Francisco, California

In 1898, Admiral George Dewy decisively won the Manila Bay battle during the Spanish-American War. In tribute to the Naval hero, a monument was erected in the center of Union Square in 1903. On top is “Victory,” a nine foot sculpture by Robert Aitken. The Goddess of Victory holds a trident in one hand, which is often associated with Poseidon and Neptune, and a wreath in the other.

333 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94108
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28 Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco, California

Power shoppers can spend days trying to visit the oversized stores of their favorite retailers around Union Square while also discovering specialty boutiques. If you have energy to spare, cross Market Street and explore the Westfield San Francisco Centre. This upscale shopping mall has over one million square feet containing about 175 stores. That should give your legs and credit card a workout.

865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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29 Nordstrom California Flagship Store in San Francisco, California

The Nordstrom California flagship store has 350,000 feet of retail space on several levels of the Westfield San Francisco Centre. The shopping mall’s nine floors are traversed by the nation’s first spiral escalators. I, of course, was fascinated by their elegant design leading up to the glass dome.

865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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30 Old United States Mint Building in San Francisco, California

During the Gold Rush in 1849, it was challenging to convert mined gold into coins. So, in 1852, Congress established the San Francisco Mint. In 1874, this imposing stone, classic revival building with fluted columns began manufacturing coins. It earned the nickname “Granite Lady” after surviving the 1906 earthquake. The mint operations moved in 1937. The Old Mint is now available for special events but may become the San Francisco Museum at the Mint in the future.

88 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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31 Chinatown’s Dragon Gate in San Francisco, California

Walk beneath this Dragon Gate at the corners of Grant Avenue and Bush Street and you are entering San Francisco’s Chinatown. It was established in the mid-19th century, making it North America’s oldest Chinese community. It is also one of the densest in population with over 100,000 people living within about a one mile square radius.

Bush St & Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
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32 Maneki-neko Beckoning Cat Display in San Francisco, California

These waving porcelain cats are called Maneki-neko in Japanese. I assumed they were another souvenir for tourists visiting Chinatown. But by tradition, they supposedly give good luck to the owner. And when they are placed in front of a store with a moving left paw, which the four were doing in this display, they are beckoning customers to come inside.

447 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
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33 Chinatown’s Trademark Pagoda Tower in San Francisco, California

During the 1906 earthquake, approximately 14,000 Chinese immigrants were killed when Chinatown was destroyed. The city tried to have them rebuild in a less desirable location but they refused, hired an architect and created buildings that appeared Chinese. An example is this pagoda tower on the corner of Grant Avenue and California Street. It was built in 1910 as the Sing Chong Bazaar but now is a food court.

717 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108
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34 Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, California

The original Saint Mary’s Cathedral, which was called the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception when it was built in 1854, has a handsome brick bell tower. Below the clock is the inscription, “Son, Observe the Time and Fly from Evil.” It was rebuilt in 1909 after being destroyed by the 1906 earthquake fires. Although it is still called a cathedral, it is now a parish church. The new cathedral for the Archdiocese of San Francisco is located in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Please see its photo elsewhere in this gallery.

660 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108
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35 Telegraph Hill Neighborhood View in San Francisco, California

This view of the Telegraph Hill neighborhood was photographed from Russian Hill on the corner of Hyde and Lombard Streets. At this intersection, you will grip the steering wheel down eight sharp turns known as the “Crookedest Street.” Then follow Lombard until you reach Coit Tower on the right. In this image you can also see two sections of the Oakland Bay Bridge.

1092 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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36 Lombard Street Crooked Street in San Francisco, California

In the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco is a tourist novelty nicknamed the “Crookedest Street.” For one block, Lombard Street requires a car to make eight hairpin turns down a red brick, one-way road that descends at a very steep 27% grade. Trust me, no speed limit signs are required here.

1000 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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37 Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, California

The Coit Tower is 210 feet tall and is visible throughout San Francisco because it was built on Telegraph Hill. It is named after its eccentric benefactor, Lillian Coit. On top of the fluted, concrete structure is a wonderful observation deck with stunning views. This 1933 art deco building in Pioneer Park was designed by Arthur Brown Jr. who is responsible for several local landmarks.

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133
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38 Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco, California

The twin towers of the Saints Peter and Paul Church, which was built on Filbert Street in North Beach in 1924, rise 191 feet above the elegant rose window. This was the parish for New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio. The church performed his married in 1939 and his funereal sixty years later. However, they refused to conduct his wedding to Marilyn Monroe in 1954 because his first marriage had not been annulled.

666 Filbert St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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39 Outdoor Restaurant in North Beach Little Italy in San Francisco, California

The North Beach neighborhood is the Little Italy of San Francisco. Near the intersection of Broadway and Columbus Avenue are several Italian restaurants that offer extensive menus of traditional dishes. Some of them, like the Colosseo Ristorante pictured here, also offer outdoor seating with overhead heat lamps to keep you warm on chilly evenings.

414 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
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40 North Beach Jazz Mural by Bill Weber in San Francisco, California

This outstanding 30 by 50 foot mural called “Jazz” was painted in 1987 by an accomplished Bay Area artist named Bill Weber. It covers two sides of a three-story building on the corners of Columbus and Broadway in the North Beach neighborhood. Featured are three musical legends: Teddy Wilson on the piano, Gene Krupa playing the drums and Benny Goodman with his signature clarinet.

606 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
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41 Strip Club Marquees in North Beach in San Francisco, California

The North Beach neighborhood is transitioning from a history of Italian immigrants to the home for young professionals. But since the 1960’s, Little Italy has also been populated with several strip clubs with large, vintage neon marquees that still compete for customers.

552 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
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42 Columbus Tower and Transamerica Pyramid Buildings in San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s tallest icon is this 853 foot, white and winged, four-sided building at the end of the financial district: Transamerica Pyramid. On the right is Columbus Tower. Also known as Sentinel Building, this copper-green, flatiron building was built in 1907. Its tenant is American Zoetrope, a film studio founded by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Since 2000, this location has produced some of the highest awarded and biggest box office films.

900 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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43 Transamerica Pyramid Building in San Francisco, California

The Transamerica Pyramid building in the Financial District is the city’s tallest building at 853 feet. But even if it did not have that distinction, its unique pyramid shape with two elevator wings and its bright white quartz façade would have earned it icon status on the San Francisco skyline. It was built as the headquarters for the Transamerica Company but the insurance firm’s executives no longer occupy the building. However, they still use an image of the skyscraper as their logo.

600 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111
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44 Wells Fargo Museum Stagecoach in San Francisco, California

This stagecoach is part of the free Wells Fargo Museum on Montgomery Street in the Financial District of San Francisco. It is one of several exhibits that pays tribute to the Gold Rush era. This location is where the company opened in 1852 and it still serves as the senior executive headquarters for the nation’s fourth largest bank. I passed this exhibit countless times because Wells Fargo and its processor Norwest Bank was my client for over thirty years.

420 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94104
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45 Painted Ladies Victorian Houses in San Francisco, California

During the late 19th and early 20th century, thousands of Victorian row houses were built in San Francisco. Many that survived the 1906 earthquake were subsequently painted with bright colors during the Colorist Movement in the 1970s. The most famous are The Painted Ladies, also nicknamed Postcard Row, on Steiner Street across from Alamo Square Park.

Alamo Square Park, Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94117
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46 Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, California

Saint Mary’s Cathedral, which was built in 1971 in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, has a bold, modern design that is uncharacteristic of most Roman Catholic churches. It is the third church in San Francisco to be called St. Mary’s. The 1854 original is now called the Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral. An image of that church near Chinatown is also available in this photo gallery.

1111 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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47 People Overlooking Downtown at Twin Peaks in San Francisco, California

It is fun to drive the winding road to the top of Twin Peaks. The real reward is the spectacular view of San Francisco. Eureka Peak, also called North Peak, offers the best observation point at an elevation of 925 feet. On a clear day you can see the local neighborhoods, down Market Street, through downtown and as far as the bay.

501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94131
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48 Golden Gate Bridge in Fog in San Francisco, California

The Pacific Ocean meets the San Francisco Bay beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It is also here where the ocean’s marine layer of water vapor collides with the different air temperatures of the bay and the land. This result is almost a daily pattern of rolling fog or clouds that often swallows the bridge with an eerie yet beautiful result.

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