A full day in downtown San Francisco is definitely spent jammed with fellow tourists from all over the world. We met folks from the UK who had just finished a tour of the southwest (Las Vegas was said to be 41°C) and thronged the carnivals of the city on a Sunday at Union Square and later at Stockton.
One tip for ourselves is to get to pier 39 early in the day. There were hardly anyone on the boardwalk and the views to the seal colony were unobstructed (ie no photo bombing). The sun is low and the seals are busy sunning themselves.
Also recommended is to take a walk along pier 41 all the way to Forbes island. Great views of Alcatraz and the gate bridge.
Yet another tip is to board the cable tram at the Powell-Hyde turnaound. Yes it took us 45 minutes to get on the tram with the long snaking queue, but once onboard you can stand on back end of the tram (smile and strike a conversation with the conductor) and view the city as the tram ascends.
See how Alcatraz seems to become rather large in proportion to its size compared to where you see it from the pier? Have you wondered why?
You can probably get the same views walking up Hyde street, but the feeling is definitely different! And next time, take the Powell-Hyde line to get to the top of Lombard street. The other line (Powell-Mason) stops at the bottom and it’s a long and arduous walk up!
Look out for our journalog in July!