Over the past few months, we have been to San Francisco several times; my wife and I were reminded how pedestrian- and bike-friendly is San Francisco. On our last visit to the City, we took our two bikes and parked just south of AT&T Park, where street parking can be had, for free, for two hours.
We peddled north along the Bay waterfront, past several commercial boat yards, and up to AT&T Park. Here, we joined the Embarcadero, and peddled along well-marked bike paths beside traffic. Keep a watch for San Francisco's fireboat fire station, with several huge fire boats at the ready! We took a break at the marvelous Ferry Building, locked our bikes to the bayside rail with scores of others, and took an ice-cream stop at one of the many eateries and shops in the Ferry building (renovated in 2003, it is a mecca for both locals and tourists seeking food and drink).
After our respite, we continued north along the bike trail, well-marked in bright green in many places, past Pier 39 (too crowded with tourists in our book), to Fisherman’s Wharf where we toured the World War II ships the USS Pampanito and the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. From there, it was just two more blocks to the historic Hyde Street Pier and its array of more than eight historic watercraft, highlighted by the 1886 three-masted schooner, Balclutha.
If you aren’t into biking, you can take much of this waterfront tour by hopping aboard the Embarcadero trolley which connects AT&T Ballpark north to Fisherman’s Wharf. Complete your waterfront tour with a snack from one of the many nearby eateries, then hope the Embarcadero streetcars back to your starting place!
How to get there: AT&T Ballpark is about 90 miles from Stockton, about 1.75 hours. Take Interstate 5 south to Tracy, I-205 west to I-580 and continue across the new Bay Bridge (the concrete sections were made in Stockton); once in San Francisco, take the first exit to the right (Essex Street), follow the signs to the Embarcadero, then go right to AT&T Ballpark.
What’s nearby: Just about all the attractions of SF’s waterfront, from the ballpark, to fireboats, the Bay Bridge, art on the waterfront, the Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and Hyde Street Pier. Just a bit further west, Ft. Mason, the Marina District, Chrissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge.
What to take: Good walking shoes, bicycles if a cyclist, snacks, drinks, sunscreen, a good map or GPS unit, camera and binoculars!
More info: For historic craft at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, go to http://www.nps.gov/safr/ or call 415-447-5000. For the USS Jeremiah O’Brien, http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/ and the USS Pampanito, http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm/, both docked at Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 45 in San Francisco.
For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; or contact me, [email protected]. Happy travels in the west!