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San Francisco is divided into si

San Francisco is divided into six zones:  Downtown, Midtown, Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest.

Many of San Francisco's famous attractions, including North Beach, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, and Union Square, are in its northeast quadrant. Golden Gate Park is in the city's northwestern section.



If you do not want to wait in line for a cable car, you may wish to consider taking a Muni bus. You may board lines 15-Third or 30-Stockton at the corner of Kearny and Market Streets. Lines 15 and 30 travel through Chinatown and North Beach, two of San Francisco's most colorful neighborhoods. Line 15 terminates at Bay and Kearny Streets near PIER 39; line 30 operates on North Point Street from Columbus Avenue west to Van Ness Avenue and serves The Anchorage, The Cannery and Ghirardelli Square.



Alcatraz Island (Northeast)

the notorious former federal prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, is accessible to the public through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Blue and Gold Fleet.

To reach Alcatraz Island, you travel by ferry from Pier 41 at Fisherman's Wharf. The ferry ride will take you approximately 20 to 25 minutes. The ferry is easily reached from the Union Square by bus lines 15-Third or 30-Stockton or by cable car Powell-Mason line.

Once you arrive at Alcatraz Island you must walk up a steep hill. There are no elevators. There is an accessible, interactive computer program of the island's history available for those unable to make the walk uphill.

415-705-5555 or visit the ticket booth at Pier 41, Fisherman's Wharf. The ticket booth is open Monday through Sunday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Call 415-705-5555 for an update on extended summer hours.



Golden Gate Park. (Southwest)

John F. Kennedy Dr. west of Stanyan St.

415-263-0991 for walking tour info. Open 24 hours. Free guided tours:  Sat. at 11 and Sun. at 11 and 2.

Muni Buses 5-Fulton and 21-Hayes; N-Judah light-rail car.

Bordered by the Great Highway on the west, Lincoln Way on the south, Stanyan Street on the east, Fulton St. on the north.

The 1, 017 acre park contains a dozen artificial lakes; a world renowned collection of trees and other plants; miles of roads, bridle paths and foot trails.  The park extends three miles from Fell and Stanyan Streets to the ocean. 

In addition to the Asian Art museum,  there is a bison paddock, a restored Dutch style windmill,  an equestrian center, a trotting track, tennis courts, archery fields, golf course, a polo field stadium,  and an outdoor music concourse which offers concerts all year. 

The Visitor Center is located in a Beach Chalet on Great Highway and features murals with scenes of the city during the Great Depression, as well as mosaics and wood carvings. (Daily:  10-dusk). 



Palace Of Fine Arts (Northwest)

3601 Lyon Street (Adjacent to the Exploratorium)


San Francisco's rococo Palace of Fine Arts is at the western end of the Marina. The palace is the sole survivor of the many tinted plaster, lath and chicken wire buildings built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the world's fair that celebrated San Francisco's recovery from the 1906 earthquake and fire. The Palace of Fine Arts was recast in concrete and reopened in 1967. The massive columns, great rotunda dedicated to the glory of Greek culture, and swan-filled lagoon have been used in countless fashion layouts and films.



Exploratorium (Northwest) 

Inside the Palace of Fine Arts is the city's science museum.

Baker and Beach Sts.

415-561-0364 for palace tours; 415-561-0360 for Exploratorium info.

The Exploratorium has a camera on top of their roof that brings live images from the Marina, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Palace of Fine Arts and many more attractions. Viewers have the ability to control the camera in order to view particular attractions.

For information on upcoming exhibits, call 415 EXP-LORE.



San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art ( Southeast)

151 3rd St.


Admission charged,  but free 1st Tues. of each month and  1⁄2-price entry Thurs. 6-9. Memorial Day-Labor Day, Fri.-Tues. 10-6, Thurs. 10-9; Labor Day-Memorial Day, Fri.-Tues. 11-6, Thurs. 11-9

The architect Mario Botta designed the striking facility, completed in early 1995, which consists of a sienna brick facade and a central tower of alternating bands of black and white stone. Inside, natural light from the tower floods the central atrium and some of the museum's galleries. Works by Matisse, Picasso, O'Keeffe, Kahlo, Pollock, Warhol, and other 20th-century artists form the heart of the diverse permanent collection. Programming includes traveling exhibits and multimedia installations. 



Yerba Buena Gardens (Southeast)

Between 3rd, 4th, Mission, and Folsom Sts

Sunrise-10 PM. 

The two block heart of the South of Market Street redevelopment area includes the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Sony Metreon entertainment complex,  and the Moscone Center convention facilities. 

Rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens contains a Looff carousel, a high-tech, interactive arts and technology center for children, gardens, a playground, an ice-skating rink, and a bowling alley. 

The waterfall memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. is the focal point of the East Garden in the block between Mission and Howard streets. Water surges over large, jagged stone columns, mirroring the force of King's words that are carved on the stone walls and on glass blocks behind the waterfall. Above the memorial are two restaurants and an overhead walkway to the rooftop area.



Asian Art Museum (Southwest)

Tea Garden Dr. off John F. Kennedy Dr., near 10th Ave. and Fulton St.,

415-668-8921 or 415-379-8801.

$s off with Muni transfer, good also for same-day admission to the M. H. de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor Museum in Lincoln Park; free 1st Wed. of month. Tues.-Sun. 9:30-4:45, 1st Wed. of month until 8:45.

The museum's collection includes more than 12,000 sculptures, paintings, and ceramics from 40 countries, illustrating major periods of Asian art. On the first floor are special exhibitions as well as galleries dedicated to works from Korea and China. On the second floor are treasures from Iran, Turkey, Syria, India, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Japan, Afghanistan, and Southeast Asia.



California Palace Of The Legion Of Honor (Northwest)

34th Ave. at Clement St. 

415-863-3330 for 24-hr information.

$s off with Muni transfer, good also for same-day admission to Asian Art and M. H. de Young museums.   Free 2nd Wed. of month. Tues.-Sun. 9:30-5.

Spectacularly situated on cliffs overlooking the ocean and the Marin Headlands, this landmark building is a fine repository of European art. The lower-level galleries exhibit prints and drawings, English and European porcelain, and ancient Assyrian, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art. The 20-plus galleries on the upper level are devoted to European art from the 14th century to the present. Two galleries are devoted to the  Rodin collection, and a third with works by him and other 19th-century sculptors. An original cast of Rodin's The Thinker welcomes the visitor in  the courtyard.



Chinatown (covers about 16 square blocks)

Delicious smells waft out of restaurants, fish markets, and produce stands. Good-luck banners of crimson and gold hang beside dragon-entwined lampposts, pagoda roofs, and street signs with Chinese calligraphy.

Grant Avenue and Stockton Street are the main thoroughfares and are lined with tearooms, shops and temples, Christian missions, Chinese schools, theaters, and grocery stores. Be sure to visit  the district's narrow side streets also.  At No. 56 Ross Alley west of and parallel to Grant Avenue between Washington and Jackson Streets visitors are welcome to  watch fortune-cookie bakers in action. Three flights of stairs lead up to Tin How Temple, at No. 125 Waverly Place, where elderly ladies can often be seen preparing "money" to be burned as offerings to various Buddhist gods or as funds for ancestors to use in the afterlife.   Visit Chinatown as you would like people to visit your home neighborhood.  Be open to learning from those who welcome your presence, and  leave an impression of warmth and good will behind.



Chinese Historical Society of America  (Midtown)

644 Broadway, Suite 401


Mon 1-4   Tues-Fri 10:30-4  Sat hours vary.


Documents the role of the Chinese in the settlement of San Francisco and the West through a series of exhibits.



Cannery (Northeast)


East side of the block bordered by Jefferson, Leavenworth, Beach and Hyde Streets

Formerly a Del Monte fruit cannery; it houses specialty shops, art galleries and restaurants, linked by arcades, bridges and balconies.



Ghiardelli Square (Northeast)


Between Beach, Polk, Northpoint and Larkin Streets within walking distance of the Cannery and Fisherman’s Wharf, this 2.5 acre site houses the former Ghiardelli Chocolate factory, a woolen mill, apartments, and other buildings that have been refurbished to house specialty shops, bakeries and international restaurants.  Many mimes and “human statues” perform next to the square.


The  Metreon ( Southeast)


Daily 10-10

SONY entertainment center at Fourth and Mission Streets in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  The center features an interactive play space called: “Where the Wild Things Are”; an Adventure zone called Airtight Garage; and     “The Way things Work in Mammoth    3-D”. 


Coit Tower (Northeast)

Telegraph Hill Blvd., at Greenwich St. or Lombard St.,


Admission charged.  Daily 10-6:30.

Among San Francisco's most distinctive skyline sights, the 210-ft-tall Coit Tower stands as a monument to the city's volunteer firefighters. From the Tower there is a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the East Bay, and surrounding areas.

Inside the tower, Depression era murals depict economic and political life in California.  The government commissioned the murals and paid 25 artists $38 a week each to paint them.  The radical Mexican painter, Diego Rivera inspired the theme of the murals:  the exploitation of workers.  At the time they were painted, there was widespread friction between management and labor along the waterfront and elsewhere in San Francisco.



Golden Gate Bridge  (Northwest)

Lincoln Blvd. near Doyle Dr. and Fort Point 


Daily, 24 hrs for cars and bikes, 5 AM-9 PM for pedestrians.

Muni Buses 28 and 29 to San Francisco side.

The suspension bridge that connects San Francisco with Marin County impresses visitors and locals alike with its  750-ft towers, and simple but powerful Art Deco design. Nearly 2 mi, long,  the Golden Gate was completed in 1937 after four years of construction, and was built to withstand winds of more than 100 mph.

This landmark is a symbol of San Francisco and the Bay Area. The Bridge is an architectural marvel, and is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. The two towers are purposely out of alignment in order to compensate for the curvature of the earth.

Because it is frequently gusty and misty , walkers should wear warm clothing.   The bridge offers unparalleled views of the Bay Area.  



Bay Area Discovery Museum (Northwest)

Off US101 at 557 McReynolds Road

(In  Golden Gate National Recreation Area at the north end of Golden Gate bridge.) 


Tues-Sun. 10-5  (6/15-9/15)   Tues-Thurs 9-4; Fri-Sun 110-5, (rest of the year) Call for holiday schedule.

Admission charged.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This museum features hands-on exhibits for children. Children can climb on a fishing boat and fish;  learn to ride a unicycle;  create clay animation movies; crawl through an underwater tunnel; decorate a doll house,  to name a few of the choices.  There is a Tot Spot storybook environment for children 1-3. 


Cable Car Barn & Museum (Downtown)

1201 Mason St. at Washington St.

415 474-1887

Daily 10-6 Apr-Sept.  10-5 rest of year


Contains models, photographs and memorabilia chronicling  the history of San Francisco’s early transit system, including the first cable car built in 1873. 

Underground viewing room shows mechanics of the system.



California Academy of Sciences (Southeast)

in Golden Gate Park


Daily 9-6  (Memorial Day weekend - Labor Day) 10-5 rest of the year.

Admission charged.  Free to all first Wed. of the month.

Consists of:

1)  Morrison Planetarium

415 750-7141

Admission charged.

Houses a 5,000 pound star projector, built specially for the planetarium.  Under a 65 foot dome star shows are given Sat, Sun. first Wed. of the month and holidays on the hour 11-4.  Mon-Fri. at 2:00.  Call for program titles and to confirm hours. The Planetarium also features Laserium, a laser light and music show.


 2)  Natural History Museum

Includes Wild California Hall; Simson African Hall; Hall of Gems  and Minerals.  There are also Far Side of Science Gallery  and Earth and Space Hall in which  visitors can safely experience a simulated California earthquake on a “shake table.”  Life Through Time and the Age of the Dinosaurs are also popular exhibits.


3)  Steinhart Aquarium

Houses some 14,000 aquatic animals including octopuses, alligators, turtles, reptiles, sharks, sea anemones and sea horses.  Sharks of the Tropics are housed in a re-created tropical reef habitat.  Sharks are fed daily every two hours 10:30-4:30.  Penguins are fed at 11:30 and 4:00.


Embarcadero Center (Downtown)

between Clay & Sacramento Sts. on Drum Street


The Embarcadero Center is one of the most vital urban centers in San Francisco. It is a city in itself  with five high rise towers and the Old Federal Reserve Bank building connected by elevated walks, escalators and stairways.  More than 140 shops and restaurants  are available to residents and office workers and to the numerous visitors.  A five screen movie theater, luxury hotels, and the observation SkyDeck  complete the picture.  Live music and festivals are frequently found at the Center. In late November, 17,000 white lights are turned on to outline the towers. 



Nob Hill (Downtown)

between Clay, California, Jones and Powell Streets


A century ago the railroad erected mansions, and today the wealthy live there in penthouses.  Among the famous landmarks are the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins Hotels and the newer Renaissance Stanford Court:  three of the most luxurious hotels in the world.  Nearby Grace Cathedral is modeled after Notre Dame in Paris and Huntington Park contains a replica of the Tartarughe Fountain in Rome.  Classical and art nouveau apartment buildings line the downtown side of the steep hill. 



Pier 39  (Northeast)

The Embarcadero at Jefferson Street

415 981-7437

Cable car transport to Union Square every 20 minutes.

San Francisco's version of the old-fashioned boardwalk, this two level marketplace designed to look like a village by the sea,  features over 100 specialty shops and   restaurants. Children enjoy the Venetian Carousel.  Teens hang out at the Cyber Station Family Games Arcade.  The Bungee Trampoline and the big screen multimedia Turbo Ride in hydraulic seats are other prime attractions.  A giant screen with surround sound shows two films:  The Great San Francisco Adventure and the Living Sea.  The famous California 1000 pound sea lions perform on K Dock.  Musicians, mimes, actors, and jugglers entertain on outdoor stages. 



Underwater World ( Northeast)

Pier 39  at the Embacadero and Beach Street.

415 623-5300.  Daily 9-8.

Admission charged. Discount for public transit riders.

Clear acrylic tunnels give visitors  the same close look a diver would have at such marine life as sharks, jellyfish, rays and eels.  Guided tours last an hour.



USS Pampanito (Northeast)

at the end of Taylor Street and Pier 45


Daily 9-8 (mid-May-mid Oct.)  Sun-Thurs 9-6 rest of the year).  Admission charged.

A World War II submarine that saw action in the Pacific theater.  Self guided tours.  Stooping through low bulkheads is required to tour the sub. 



San Francisco Maritime Park (Northeast)

Hyde Street Pier

415 556-3002

America's only floating national park features the world's largest collection of historic ships from the annals of  San Francisco's history. Programs, exhibits and events focus on living history at this floating museum. For more information, call 561-6662.



Fisherman's Wharf  (Northeast)

At the end of Taylor Street

Ripley’s Believe it or Not; and the Wax Museum  are two attractions in this area. 

Millions visit this part of San Francisco each year to gaze across the piers, take in the local scene, and enjoy the numerous  fine restaurants.



San Francisco Zoo  (Southeast)

Sloat-Great Hwy.

415 753-7080

This world-renowned zoo is home to over 1,000 exotic, wild and domestic animals housed on dozens of acres. Be sure to visit the primate center, penguin island and the children's petting zoo. 



Golden Gate Railroad Museum (Southwest)

Hunters Point Shipyard


has one of the most extensive collections of historic, operating, railroad equipment in the west. Famous trains such as the Daylights, Overland Limited, Cascade, Sunset, Lark, Del Monte, California Zephyr and City of San Francisco are on display, as well as the museum's "star," steam engine SP 2472. The GGRM now offers Rent-A-Locomotive and special events programs allowing guests to actually operate a full sized locomotive.



Japan’s Center (Southwest)

Boundaries are:  Post, Fillmore, Geary and Laguna Streets


Underground parking is available.

A five acre complex containing Miyako Hotel; the offices of the Japanese consulate; and the Peace Pagoda which stands in the central plaza.  Music, dance, tea ceremonies, and martial arts presentations are given on many weekends.  Call for schedule of events and times.  The area has restaurants, shops, art galleries, movie theaters, and Japanese baths.



Japanese Tea Garden (Southwest)

8th Avenue and Kennedy Drive


Daily 9-6:30   (Mar-Sept)  9-5 (rest of the year).  

Admission charged. 

Landscaped with bridges, walks, ponds, miniature waterfalls, statues, and pagodas.  The garden is spectacular when the cherry blossoms bloom in the Spring.



Strybing Arboretum (Southwest)

9th Avenue and Lincoln Way


Mon-Fri. 8:30-4:30 Sat, Sun 10-5  Free guided tours daily at 1:30  Sat, Sun. 10:30. 


More than 7,000 species of plants from around the world are displayed.   Within the 70 acres are demonstration gardens, a Mediterranean collection, a New World cloud forest collection, the Garden of Fragrance for the visually impaired, and the Moonviewing Pavilion and waterfall. 



Mount Tamalpais State Park

Mill Valley, California


Daily dawn-dusk.  Parking fee.

The park covers 6,300 acres of picturesque coastal hill country.  Triple peaked Mount Tamalpais rises above it.  Hiking and bicycling trails and a winding road lead to the summit.  The view is unparalleled.  There is a visitor center at the summit.

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