Saturday 25 July 2015

If you're going to San Francisco

The best way to get an overview of a city you don't know is to take a guided bus tour. There are several options from competing companies in San Francisco. I chose the Big Bus tour because it crosses the Golden Gate Bridge as part of its circular route.

Unfortunately, the day I took the tour it was cloudy and chilly so the conditions were not ideal for photos. The ticket cost $45, which I find a tad expensive, but I saw a lot of interesting things and places that I wouldn't have otherwise seen. It also gave me a good idea of which areas I'd like to visit and which I'd prefer to skip.
There are also several cruise tours of the Bay on offer, with varying routes and durations. Most of them announce "spectacular views" of the city skyline, Alcatraz, and the two bridges (Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge).  The ticket prices for those are also quite hefty, so I didn't bother.  There is a cheaper option, however, which I found by chance.
Yesterday was my last day in San Francisco. After a late lunch I had several hours to kill before my train back to San Jose, where I'm staying with my nephew and his family.  I took an electric streetcar (not to be confused with the city's cablecar system) on a whim to see where it would take me. I ended up at the Ferry Terminal, so I went in to see what options they had. I was told the best trip for sightseeing was the Sausalito ferry. It costs $20 return ($14 if you have a public transport Clipper card). Starting near the Bay Bridge, it goes past Alcatraz to the pretty coastal town of Sausalito. On the way, you get a great view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. On the way back it goes closer to Alcatraz island and shows down to show you to take photos.
And that's for less than half the price of a cruise tour that offers more or less the same thing.

That's the Tip of the Day, folks.

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Be nice :-)