Free Afternoon in San Francisco with no car
June 21, 2017 5:11 PM   Subscribe

I've got a bunch of time to kill tomorrow afternoon in San Francisco. I'm staying on 7th Street at The Carriage Inn and my current plan is to just walk up the hill to the water, but is there something else I should be doing? I don't mind taking a taxi, but walking would be ideal.
posted by yerfatma to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That's my neighborhood!

There's a lot of fun stuff to do near you. You're also right by Civic Center station, from which you can get pretty much anywhere in the city via a short public transit trip.

Most of the big museums in the city are within three blocks of you: the MOMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (contemporary arts museum), the Asian Art Museum, the Jewish Museum. You're also right around the corner from Cellarmaker, an excellent craft brewery with a really fun, intimate atmosphere. You're also close to Sight Glass, a fancy coffee shop that's much loved among SF tech people.

It looks like Yerba Buena Gardens -- a small park between the Metreon and YBCA -- is having a free classical concert tomorrow afternoon, if that's the sort of thing you're into.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:36 PM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

You say "walk up the hill to the water" -- there is a much flatter route to the water by going right up Market Street towards the Ferry Building - at the Ferry Building there are a lot of food oriented shops and eateries open regular hours, and a Farmer's Market on Thursday 10am - 2pm. You could also take the F Market streetcar up Market Street, which will then make a turn by the Ferry building and continue towards Fisherman's Wharf. The great free-entry Musee Mechanique at Pier 45 has a lot of coin-operated antique amusements (everything from games to moving model scenes to player pianos).
posted by larrybob at 5:54 PM on June 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ooh, I would love to be in your predicament right now!

Last time we were in San Francisco we realized that accessing the bus system is really easy now that Google Maps will give "how to get there by bus" directions. If you're interested in 1,000 acres of green space and more museums/cultural attractions (de Young Fine Arts Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden), it's about a 40-minute bus ride and $2.50 exact change from where you are out to Golden Gate Park. The park runs all the way to the Pacific Ocean beach to the west. There's also Green Apple Books (San Francisco's best used book store) out that way.

If you do want to go to the Embarcadero, I agree it's much easier to walk northeast along the relatively flat Market St than to walk up and down the crazy-steep hills! Then you can turn left and follow the Embarcadero as far as you like. The Exploratorium is at Pier 15; City Lights Booksellers & Publishers is 8 blocks inland along Broadway.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:15 PM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't think you can go wrong. The city is not very big, and it's a blast to walk around.

Just to give you an idea of what's feasible, Fisherman's Wharf (with Musee Mecanique) is about an hour walk north from where you are, and then Golden Gate Bridge is about an hour and a half walk west from there. (Bring a jacket.)

I walked to Golden Gate Bridge and walked across on foot, and I cannot recommend it enough. Biking it is nice, but if you've got the time, walking it will really give you a sense of the scope of the bridge.

Bear in mind: you can't go wrong. You just can't. But here's what I'd do:

1. Take BART over to Powell St. station. Market St. is... not the most scenic walk in the world.

2. Ride the Powell-Mason cable car from the Powell turnaround to near Washington Square. (I have not run into a single person who will acknowledge that the cable cars are cool and fun. Fuck those people)

3. Walk from there up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower. Climb, observe. Marvel at America's working class history!

4. Walk east down the Greenwich St. stairs. (Yes, directly east. They're a little hidden.) And then all the way to the Embarcadero.

5. Walk northwest to Fisherman's Wharf. Do Musee Mecanique; play some Galaga, listen to an orchestrion, put a quarter in a racist diorama.

6. Walk west from there towards the Marina district. Veer south towards Chestnut St. if you're hungry, stay along the water if you're not.

7. Stop by the Palace of Fine Arts and look at that.

8. Walk through the Presidio

9. Hike up to Golden Gate Bridge

10. Walk across it

11. Take a freaking Lyft line back home already

Take a jacket. The bridge will be cold and windy, and possibly foggy (= humid and colder).

Don't let the fog keep you from going out on the bridge. There's really nothing like being out on that bridge when it's covered in fog. It's eerie. You'll be able to take a picture home of the cables disappearing into the sky.
posted by billjings at 11:44 PM on June 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

My absolute favorite thing to do in SF is to walk up a hill. My favourite hill in the city is Corona Heights over in the Castro - it's beautiful and the view is spectacular. It's not part of the regular tourist circuit - you can think of it as a best-kept-secret of the city.

If you do head there an obvious next stop is the Castro neighbourhood itself. A couple of fun hidden gems there: Five Star Chocolate Truffles & Coffee sells delightful handmade truffles (for $15ish you can get one of each of all of the flavours). The Castro Fountain is a brand new ice cream place with great ice cream and incredibly exciting milkshakes.
posted by simonw at 12:13 AM on June 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's going to be pretty hot today. If I could, I would hang out at the Asian Art Museum, in Civic Center, which is my favorite art museum here, or at the Exploratorium, which is right on the water. Just below Market on 8th at Trinity Place is a recently opened amazing public space that you have to be told to look for. It's so close to you that I would be sorry if you didn't at least walk through it.
posted by janey47 at 5:37 AM on June 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's going to be a lovely day -- might be a good afternoon for a burger and a beer lunch on the water at Red's Java House. It's Thursday, so the Ferry Plaza Farmers market will be going until 2 p.m. -- a wonderful place to nibble your way through (stone fruits, ahoy!). From there, I'd just walk and walk up Embarcadero, eventually cutting up to Telegraph Hill and up to Coit Tower via the Greenwich Street steps for more views and possible parrot sightings. Wander around North Beach, rest your legs on a bench in Washington Square Park, and then maybe a glass of vino at Marion's Bohemian. That's what I'd do.
posted by missmobtown at 7:42 AM on June 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older Oregon Measure 37 & 49 -- How to use them, for...   |   Controlling one light switch with another? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.