Chuck & Honie's Mini-Tour of San Francisco

  • Overview map of the tour (193 KB)
  • Detail map, step 1 (272 KB)
  • Detail map, steps 2-11 (284 KB)
  • Detail map, steps 9-16 (225 KB)
  • Detail map, steps 17-20 (291 KB)

    1. Start by going North on Hwy 1 where it splits off from Hwy 280 as Hwy 280 heads over the hill toward downtown San Francisco. Go straight ahead at the light, continuing on Junipero Serra Blvd. Bear right at the light at the messy intersection of Sloat, Junipero Serra, Portal and Portola. You should be on Portola, headed up the hill almost directly toward Twin Peaks. After some meandering through the neighborhoods, you come around the flank of Twin Peaks and before you is a gorgeous view of San Francisco, with a convenient parking area at which to stop.

    2. Continue down Portola as it turns into Market Street. You must go just past Castro Street and turn hard left at the next intersection and circle back to Castro/Divisadero. Continue straight on Divisadero past Fell Street and turn right on Hayes Street to Alamo Square. This is another wonderful view of the modern SF skyline set behind a row of small Victorian houses often featured in postcards. You can get out at Alamo Square to walk around the park and enjoy the view and breeze.

    3. Continue the journey North on Divisadero across Geary Street and up over Pacific Heights. At the top of the hill (Broadway) the road drops off in a classic SF hill and the view of the bay is spectacular (if you can take your eyes off the drop-off beneath your wheels!).

    4. Near the bottom of the hill you pass Union Street, and a detour can be made for shopping if you are so inclined. (Note that the parking is difficult on Union Street, but there are two underground garages available.)

    5. Turn right on Lombard Street, and follow it straight across Van Ness Street and straight up the hill to Hyde Street. Cross Hyde Street (trying to miss the passing cable cars) and proceed down the "Crookedest Street in the World." You can stop here if you can find a parking place. A good view can be had from the bottom of the crooked part, and the parking is easier at the bottom.

    6. Continue straight down Lombard Street, across Columbus Ave. (which cuts across at an angle) and proceed up the hill in front of you (Telegraph Hill) to Coit Tower. Here there might be a wait for a parking place at the top, and if you feel like walking instead of waiting, you can park on the side streets and walk. However, the wait is not usually too long, and the driver can stay with the car as the line clears and let the passengers walk on ahead to enjoy the view. Dont miss the great murals inside the tower itself.

    7. Come back down Telegraph Hill and if you want to take a detour to Chinatown, turn left on Stockton, proceed down to Columbus. Turn left on Columbus and proceed past Broadway to where Columbus turns into Montgomery and turns slightly to the right. Park down in this area or cut right on any side street to get closer to Grant Avenue. (There is a parking garage under Portsmouth Square, between Washington and Clay on Kearney.) You can go up to Grant Avenue and walk up and down. An interesting side trip here is to walk over to California Street and ride the cable car. There are often places available on the cable car even at the intersection of California and Grant, but you can always walk back down to California and Market to wait in line. The ride goes up the California Street hill and all the way to Van Ness, where you have to get off and re-mount for the return trip.

    8. Reverse your direction to head northwest on Columbus Ave to Bay Street. (If you didn't go into Chinatown, turn right off Lombard Street onto Columbus Ave. and head northwest to Bay Street.) Here you can continue straight into the Fisherman's Wharf area if you don't want to walk back from the Municipal Pier.

    9. If you are going on to the Municipal Pier, turn left on Bay Street and proceed west to Van Ness Ave., where you turn right towards the parking area above and approaching the Municipal Pier at Aquatic Park. Stop here and take a walk onto the pier for one of the most wonderful views in the world. You get the Bay, the Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and of course, San Francisco. You can also walk back to Fisherman's Wharf, the Cannery, Ghirardelli Square, and Pier 39 and so forth if your legs can take it.

    10. Get back on Bay Street and proceed west to Laguna Street and turn north (right) and enter the lower part of Fort Mason. Here you can park and have a great lunch with a great view at Green's Restaurant. The food is good, the view is great, and there is parking almost all the time! This is a unique feature for most of the sightseeing places so far on your tour!

    11. After lunch, leave Fort Mason on Marina Street, past the yacht clubs and onto the elevated road headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Be sure to stay in the right lane so that you can get off just before the toll plaza, taking a right turn down the hill and another sharp left turn to go toward Fort Point. You can stop anywhere along here where you find a parking place and take in the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. If the view seems familiar, maybe you saw it in the great Alfred Hitchcock thriller, "Vertigo." Also proceed another quarter mile to Fort Point for another great view of the bridge from directly under the south end.

    12. Retrace your steps to the toll plaza and head over the bridge in the right lane to the view area at Vista Point. Stop here for another great view.

    13. Leave Vista Point heading immediately off to the right towards Sausalito. (You can take a detour to Sausalito if you want, of course.) As you leave Hwy 101, be prepared to turn sharply to the left under the highway, through a tunnel back toward San Francisco. Now take the right turn up the hill to the Marin Headlands. There is parking here and there along the road, and all the views are great. A lot of automobile ads are shot along these stretches of road, with the bridge and city in the background.

    14. Soon after the first views of the bridge and ocean, there is a trail (actually a fire road) heading to the left down the hill to Kirby Cove. The trail is about a mile and a steady descent to the cove itself. The view at Kirby Cove is also wonderful, but one must be in pretty good condition to make the walk in comfort. Have some good walking shoes if you decide to make this side trip.

    15. Proceed up the road for about a mile to several parking places (some with benches for sitting) for a monster view of the Pacific, the Golden Gate Bridge, the City, and so forth.

    16. Now head back down the headlands road to the bridge, and proceed back across, staying in the right lane. Immediately after the tollbooth turn right onto Lincoln Blvd and head West along the coast. Here there are several places to stop and look over the scene.

    17. One can take a detour to Baker Beach and a short walk to the beach. Ansel Adams took one of his most famous pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, and the view is worth a detour.

    18. Back on Lincoln Blvd, proceed on to the Palace of the Legion of Honor. One can also stop anywhere along here to take in the views. The museum is also worth a look if you have time, and features Rodin's "The Thinker" in the entryway, visible without having to pay an entrance fee.

    19. Leave Lincoln Park to the South on 34th Street and turn right on Geary Street. Follow this West right on down to the top of the bluffs overlooking Seal Rock. You can stop at the Cliff House or any of the parking lots to take in the view of the Pacific.

    20. At the Cliff House, Geary turns south and becomes the Great Highway, and one passes the end of Golden Gate Park. One can turn left into Golden Gate Park for more sightseeing, or head straight South on the Great Highway, turning left (east) on Sloat Ave and then right (south) on 19th Ave. This leads right back to the intersection of Junipero Serra, where the tour began. We hope you enjoyed it!

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