About Martha C
Lives in Mill Valley, California
Since Aug 2007
25-34 year old female
I love to travel to destinations where I can sample lots of great food, see beautiful sights and be exposed to cultures that I might know nothing about!
Historic sites, Islands, National Parks, Nature & wildlife areas
Landmarks & points of interest
Piers & boardwalks
Architectural buildings, Monuments & statues, Observation decks & towers, Landmarks & points of interest
Historic walking areas, Neighbourhoods, Landmarks & points of interest
Kick off your visit to San Francisco with one of the most iconic destinations the city has to offer. Originally a pelican nesting ground ('alcatraces' is Spanish for 'pelicans') and then a 19th-century military fortress, 'The Rock' is most famous for its stint as a maximum-security prison. From 1934 until 1963, this imposing fort in the middle of the bay housed some of America's most notorious criminals, from Al 'Scarface' Capone to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Today, visitors can explore the cell blocks, listen to an audio guide with firsthand accounts from guards and inmates, and enjoy some of the most stunning views of the San Francisco skyline.
A day on the waterfront is not complete without a visit to the Ferry Building. It's a great stop for lunch, where everyone can eat a different type of cuisine if desired! Make your way down the main hall and sample from several food and beverage shops, then head out behind the building to get an amazing view of the Bay Bridge.
San Francisco's main shopping hub, Union Square is surrounded by shiny shops, restaurants and hotels. Peruse posh Nieman Marcus, stroll among the luxury shops on Maiden Lane, and even pop into an art gallery (or several). From up-market designers to affordable brands, there's something for everyone in Union Square.
San Francisco is home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, which has been a bustling area since the late 1800s. It is filled with interesting shops, restaurants, tea houses and so much more. Be prepared to sample lots of new ingredients that you may have never come across before.
You can't visit San Francisco and not see this famous crooked street! If you take the cable car up here, walk down the steps along the street to get some great photos of the view up the hill. The flowers that line the road are beautiful and the Victorian houses along the street are impressive too.
Pier 39 is in every San Francisco travel guide for a reason: It's a city staple. The bustling waterfront area is definitely a classic tourist spot — very busy and full of people looking to buy their SF souvenirs — but it's also loads of fun and a classic San Francisco attraction. An aquarium, street performers, shops, a carousel, and myriad eateries are just the tip of the iceberg of things to do here.
The most iconic structure in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is not to be missed. Hopefully you'll hit it on a clear day so you can see it in all its glory, but even shrouded in fog it's a magical sight. To get a real sense of its beauty or scale, walk or bike its 1.7-mile span.
Tucked between the waterfront and a hillside, quaint and lovely Sausalito is reminiscent of a picturesque Italian village. It's got loads of cute shops, plenty of waterfront restaurants, and oodles of charm.
The views from this iconic tower — and its perch on Telegraph Hill — are spectacular day and night. Named for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, one of the city's many famed eccentrics who left a bequest for 'adding beauty to the city,' the tower features incredible WPA murals by famed artist Diego Rivera.
San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood saw its height of popularity during the Summer of Love in 1967, but is still a haven for alternative lifestyles. Expect lots of colorful houses, funky cafes and shops filled with tie-dye and other '60s throwbacks.
Within its 1,017 acres, San Francisco's famed park boasts everything from playgrounds and picnic groves to windmills and wild bison. That's to say nothing of the museums to explore, lakes to row and gardens to stroll. Golden Gate Park is a place where you could spend a couple of hours or the whole day (or several!) if you chose. You can admire art at the DeYoung Museum, sip tea at the Japanese Tea Garden, be amazed at the California Academy of Sciences, and so much more.
A city mainstay, the Cliff House has been watching over the Pacific and thrilling guests since 1863. It's now part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area and serves up classic dishes like Clam Chowder, Trout Almondine and the stellar Cliff House Bistro Burger - along with a side of stunning views. Before or after you dine, walk along the ruins of the old Sutro Baths, which were originally built in 1894. The buildings are long gone there, but it's still fascinating (and photogenic!) to walk through their remnants and learn all about old San Francisco.