San Francisco is a place where one could spend a day, a week perhaps even a lifetime and not have enough time to see it all. 

This itinerary is designed for those who want to see a lot in just one day.  It uses Muni transit so purchasing a One Day Muni Passport is recommended.  These can be purchased at SFO airport (Info Desk at baggage claim), the cable car turnaround, and many Walgreen's Drug Stores.

This link will provide a map to the route. 

 In brief the sights included are:

  • Chinatown

This route starts at Portsmouth Square -- the "living room of Chinatown." When Chinatown was first built in the 1800's only men were allowed into the county due to exclusionary laws keeping Chinese out. Men were granted entrance to work on the railway but their families were not. As a result the dwelling spaces were constructed primarily as single rooms.  After the 1906 EQ Chinatown was rebuilt in much the same way. As a result, the living spaces in Chinatown are very small. Hence Portsmouth Square is a true gathering place for the community.

The route has you wandering about Chinatown ... feel free to adlib. The Fortune Cookie Factory is on Ross Alley which runs from Washington to Jackson between Stockton and Grant. Grant Ave is the touristy part of Chinatown. Stockton St is much more the community street with markets, stores and restaurants/bakeries. The crossing streets are a combination of both.

  • North Beach

You'll then pass City Lights Bookstore ... home of the beat generation ... Jack Keroac and Lawrence Ferlingheti etal.
Upon crossing Broadway the neighborhood becomes Italian as you head into North Beach. The route goes up Grant, the center of the Upper Grant neighborhood. 

  • Coit Tower

It's a puff up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower but worth it for views. There is a charge to take the elevator up the tower.  The views from the top are terrific although the windows are glassed in and that does impact photos.  At least go into the tower and see the murals.

  • Filbert or Greenwich St. Steps (going down)

Both streets are steps running from Telegraph Hill to Sansome St.  Interesting little houses and amazing foliage and flowers.  Keep an eye and ear out for the Wild Parrots!

  • The Embarcadero

At the foot of the steps, turn left and walk to the Embarcadero.  If you are getting a bit foot sore you can choose to catch the F-Market & Wharves historic trolley and cruise past and through the next couple of stops to the end its line at Beach and Jones. 

  • Pier 39

This is a purpose built tourist trap.  Depending upon your tolerance for such things, wander through.  But be sure to catch the sea lions which congregate on the west side of the Pier. 

  • Fisherman's Wharf

While once the hub of fishing activity in San Francisco, it's much more a tourist haven now.  T-shirt and souvenier shops line most streets.  If you're getting a bit of that "coldest winter ever spent" experience, there is plenty of opportunity to stop for a sweatshirt. 

  • Hyde Street Pier

Follow Jefferson Street to Hyde and turn right onto the Hyde Street Pier.  This is part of the National Maritime Museum and has some interesting boats.  There is a charge to board the ships but none to walk the pier for a look.  There are some good views of the bay and back toward the city from there as well. 

  • Aquatic Park

Aquatic Park runs along the bay from Hyde Street to Van Ness.  Enjoy the stroll and look for hardy swimmers (members of the South End Rowing Club most likely) in the cove.  Continue out Aquatic Pier for good views of the bay and back toward Ghirardelli Square. 

  • Fort Mason

Head up the hill into Fort Mason.  There are some great views from the top of the hill. You'll drop down right at Safeway which has a deli if a picnic sounds appropriate.  There will be plenty of spots not far along to enjoy one if the weather is cooperating. 

  • Marina Blvd

Enjoy the walk along Marina Blvd taking in the Golden Gate Bridge and Marina Green.

  • Crissy Field

Enter the Presidio at the end of the Marina Green.  It is possible to walk to the Golden Gate Bridge but this route does just an abbreviated look.  If a picnic is planned, head to the stand of trees about 1/4 mile along.  There are benches there and it makes a lovely, somewhat wind protected spot.   

  • Palace of Fine Arts

Enjoy the Palace of Fine Arts -- built for the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915 celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal and heavily bid on by SF city fathers to host. The city was just rebuilt after the 1906 EQ and was eager to show to the world that it was "back in business." The Palace was designed by Bernard Maybeck, a well know architect. It's the only building remaining. The Exposition went from the Palace to Fort Mason ... from the Bay to Lombard St.  

  • Marina District

From the Palace walk east to Divisadero Street and turn left onto Chestnut, the commercial center of the Marina.  Walk along Chestnut to get a feel for a local neighborhood. While the Marina has been "Gap'ed" there are lots of unique shops and restuarants along here.  If it's not a picnic sort of day there are lots of restaurants on Chestnut to pick from for lunch. 

  • Alamo Square

At Fillmore St. give your feet a break and get a 22-Fillmore bus heading up the hill (right). You'll see a bit of Cow Hollow on Union Street, pass the Mrs. Doubtfire house on Steiner at Broadway and then head through Pacific Heights. (The bus detours off Fillmore for a few blocks due to the steepness of the Fillmore hill. Up until about the 1940's there was a gravity car on Fillmore.)  Get off the bus at Hayes St. and walk up to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies. A very ubiquitious view but still pretty.

  • Civic Center

You can walk down Hayes or catch the 21-Hayes into Hayes Valley and Civic Center.  Hayes Street is the commercial street of Hayes Valley which, like Chestnut, has many unique shops and restaurants.  This neighborhood has flourished since the razing of the elevated freeway damaged in the 1989 EQ. 

Jog over to Grove St. to pass Davies Symphony Hall (opened in 1980) then along Van Ness and the War Memorial Opera House (where the UN charter was written). The building next to the Opera House is a twin .. the Veteran's Building. They were opened in 1932 ... total cost $6.25 million. The addition on the back of the Opera House was finished in 1978 -- $5.5 million!

Tours of the Performing Arts Center Theaters are given on non-holiday Mondays on the hour from 10-2.  $7.  "Glimpse" (brief) tours of the Opera House are given on a drop in basis, Tuesday - Thursday during the summer, $1. 

City Hall is across Van Ness from the Opera House.  Free tours are given regularly.  Fifth largest dome in the world. City Hall, Opera House and Veteran's Building were all designed by Arthur Brown, Jr. a well known architect who went to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, hence the French designs.

  • Cable Car ride to Hyde/Beach (passing the crooked part of Lombard St.)

The route ends at Market where you can catch any bus or the F-Market & Wharves trolley back downtown. If you get off at Powell St. you can top off the trip with a cable car ride.  Take the Powell/Hyde Street cable car to get to the crooked part of Lombard. 

  • Ferry Plaza

The F-Market & Wharves will continue on to the Ferry Building.  Plenty of mouth-watering options await here!!