We’re telling you what to see in Francisco whether it’s your first time or you’re looking for more fun things to do.
This iconic American city has so much history, personality, and fun stuff to do. We grew up visiting “the city” and have made a lot of great memories here and have lots to share to entice you to visit San Francisco.
We’re sharing our very best San Francisco travel tips, tips for how to get around San Francisco, the top San Francisco attractions you have to see, free things to do in San Francisco, and fun events in San Francisco that happen throughout the year.
What to See in San Francisco – Episode Transcript
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we are taking you with us to the beautiful city by the bay San Francisco,
3 (1m 4s):
San Francisco is one of America’s most famous cities. It’s in countless movies, tons of TV shows and for really good reason, it’s amazing. All of us grew up just about an hour and a half drive from the city as they called it. And we’ve all taken so many trips to San Francisco over the years, it will always hold a very special place in my heart.
1 (1m 25s):
It will always hold a special place in my heart to actually one of my earliest memories and California was going to the golden gate bridge with my family. And since then I’ve been back so many times. There’s just so much to do and see in San Francisco and it’s constantly changing and evolving. So no experience will ever be the same to you. And you can do something different with each visit.
2 (1m 46s):
Fun fact for you guys. When I was a kid, my family used to go to San Francisco pretty much almost every other weekend. And in order to get into San Francisco, you have to drive over the bay bridge. And I know that you’re not going to believe this, but I used to be afraid of bridges knew I was at danger ninja about Bridget and I would cry so hard and I’d be sitting in the backseat and my mom would have to hold my hand. As I cried, as we drove across the bridge, I got over that fear. I’m good. I’m good. Now
4 (2m 22s):
Fun fact, but good segues Ana, because first thing we’re going to talk about is tips. And you know, the first thing on our tips is getting into the city, which involves taking one of two bridges, either the golden gate bridge or the bay bridge because San Francisco is on a peninsula. So you need to take bridges, regardless of which way you get it.
3 (2m 42s):
Golden gate bridge is that iconic red bridge. Like you see it in any postcard, any movie, you know exactly where you’re at golden gate, you don’t need to worry about having cash on you. In fact, I think even for the bay bridge now in a post COVID world, they’re not accepting cash. So you’re in luck who carries cash these days, right? There’s a fast track. You can pay online, they take your license plate. It’s pretty easy. I think the golden gate is around $8. Bay bridge is around five to seven, depending on what kind of car you have, what time of day you’re going, but just know that there are fees involved with both of those bridges
4 (3m 13s):
And the fees are going into the city itself. So when you’re actually leaving, it’s not a two-way toll. It’s one way. So whether you going golden gate or bay bridge, if you’re going in, that’s when you can expect to pay the toll, when you’re going out, no tools,
1 (3m 29s):
Good tips and great that it’s a cashless system now because who carries cash with them anyways,
2 (3m 34s):
You know, years ago, when this had to have been 2003, 2004, my best friend, Josh talked his way out of not paying for the toll to get over the bridge, because back then they didn’t have like pay online or get an invoice. And so he cried that he didn’t have any cash and the guy was like, it’s cool. You can go. I should have
3 (3m 52s):
Try that because I once did not have cash. And they just mailed me a ticket.
4 (3m 57s):
I remember that Zana, that story with Josh, we were in San Francisco with them and we’re like, fuck it. Let’s just go drive across the golden gate bridge. So we did leaving San Francisco and then we came back in and then we realized, oh crap, we don’t have any cash for the toll. So
2 (4m 15s):
4 (4m 16s):
Yeah. And we got out of it at that point, but do keep in mind since it is not cash, if you don’t have the California fast track system, which most likely if you’re a visitor, you do not. You have to go onto a specific California website to pay that toll within 48 hours. So if you don’t, you’re going to find your license plate, your state’s DMV records, and they will send you a hefty fine via mail. Like Kim, God,
3 (4m 42s):
They will train.
2 (4m 44s):
Yeah. It’s not 2003, 2004, where you can talk your way out of it anymore. So moving right along to the next one, San Francisco can be very cold and be very windy. So bring a jacket or a sweater just in case. And if you feel so inclined gloves,
3 (5m 0s):
It’s cold and windy. Most of the time there.
1 (5m 3s):
Yeah. A lot of people think San Francisco, California, nice sunny weather, but it can be quite cold and windy there. And actually Kim and I went with Kim’s grandpa to San Francisco at one point, and we did not bring our sweaters or jackets because we were coming from the central valley. It was super hot. And when we got into the city, Kim and I were freezing and grandpa scolded us and had to buy us sweaters to keep us warm.
2 (5m 29s):
Are you telling me Brett? It was unprepared. I have never heard this story before.
1 (5m 36s):
I was 13 years old, Diana calmed down.
3 (5m 38s):
This is how she became the prepared woman. She is today.
2 (5m 41s):
She’s like, I learned my lesson when I was 13 and I was never going to repeat that shit again
1 (5m 46s):
4 (5m 47s):
At San Francisco again, by the bay, by the ocean. So there’s always that Marine layer it’s known to be foggy, cloudy, even when the sky is clear and it’s sunny, you still have that chill. You still have that wind. So no matter summer, winter fall always have a jacket handy. Cause you never know when you’re going to need it in San Francisco.
3 (6m 8s):
It is however warm in September and October. People think of summer as being like may and June and July, but actually September and October are the warmest months in San Francisco. I’ve been out there even once in April when it was like 85 degrees. So it can surprise you sometimes too. It is by the coast
4 (6m 26s):
Fun fact. I’ve actually been to San Francisco walking on the golden gate bridge when it has snowed. Yes, yes, yes. It can happen very rare, but do keep that in mind, spoiling being always unpredictable in San Francisco, but another tip, just something to really keep in mind. San Francisco is along a major fault line in California, which means it is prone to earthquakes. It gets a lot of them. The last major, major earthquake was in 1906. The other past most recent notable one was in 89. When the San Francisco giants were playing the Oakland athletics there across the bay, rivals in the world series, they had another earthquake and it’s notable for the fact that it happened on a world series game day.
4 (7m 14s):
But do keep that in mind when you are there, that there may be slight tremors. I will not say you’re going to be there during the big one, but slight tremors are always common in San Francisco.
3 (7m 24s):
I have never felt an earthquake in San Francisco, but it’s funny. Whenever anybody goes there, you know a friend that’s going, everyone’s like, whoa, that could be the big one. The big one. It’s a big one.
1 (7m 35s):
I always hear that too. And I’m laughing because that’s how everyone freezes it.
3 (7m 39s):
Yep. The big one
4 (7m 41s):
It’s overdue. You never know
2 (7m 43s):
The good news is the infant structure is built a lot differently than it was when the major earthquake of 1906 took place.
1 (7m 50s):
That is true. Zena, I guess the city’s prepared now. So let’s talk about getting around the city.
3 (7m 56s):
It’s a very walkable city, even though it’s very big, you can walk in many, many places. You know, when I was younger, we would just walk the city for hours and hours and hours. Yeah.
4 (8m 6s):
You know, it’s funny, Kim is you said that the city is big and San Francisco is a big city in that sense, but it really is on a small plotted area of land, just a tiny little peninsula in Northern California. So there’s lots of different areas of the city to be seen, but everything to an extent is in a close proximity. So you can walk from one neighborhood and site to the next. And if something’s a little bit farther, you can either take the bus. The muni, the cable cars at San Francisco is famous for. So there’s lots of mass transit opportunities as well within the city to get you from a to B. But walking in San Francisco is just something that has to be done just as well.
1 (8m 49s):
And I don’t know if people know this or not, but San Francisco is very hilly.
3 (8m 52s):
Oh yeah. You could walk up and down some big Hills.
1 (8m 55s):
Yes. And fun fact. Did you guys know that the San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system?
3 (9m 4s):
That’s cool. I’m still bummed. I haven’t actually been on a cable car in all my years of life.
2 (9m 10s):
1 (9m 11s):
Yeah. I did that, the cable car with my mom, my sister, my niece. And we had a great time. And if you don’t have a chance to do the cable car, I would also recommend doing like a hop on and hop off to her because that’s super fun. And you can always walk between the destinations. And it’s just a great way to get a layout of the city.
2 (9m 30s):
Hop on, hop off tours are always a good idea. And you get that background and knowledge that you might not get otherwise, but going to cable cars. Yeah. You know, Lisbon, Portugal is the one city in the world that like, it just felt like San Francisco because it’s also very hilly and they have cable cars. So I did ride the cable cars there and they also have a replica of the golden gate bridge because yeah. The designer built the one there and the one in San Francisco. So it looks the same.
4 (9m 59s):
Yeah. And the cable cars aren’t really meant to take you very far in terms of transportation. They are pretty much primarily to take you up those very, very steep Hills. So you don’t have to do the walking. If you want to get on San Francisco’s Metro system, it’s called Bart. That stands for bay area, rapid transit. Now there’s not really that many lines or stops. It’s not as comprehensive as what you would find in New York. It’s pretty much very few spots, but it takes you from one spot in the city to the next, pretty much in a straight line or district. So it’s not as vast as encompassing as New York. So do keep that in mind, but it gets you from one area to the next.
2 (10m 40s):
And if I’m not mistaken, Bart goes underwater too. No,
4 (10m 43s):
Yes. It goes under the bay to get you to the east bay, to Oakland, to Berkeley, et cetera. So it does get you across. But in terms of within San Francisco city limits itself, very few lines, pretty much just one straight path throughout the city. So let’s talk about what there is to do in San Francisco. That makes it so special. We touched upon this first, when we were giving tips and going over the golden gate bridge, but the golden gate bridge is San Francisco’s. Most iconic landmark, no trip to the city would be complete without seeing it visiting it. So we have to talk about golden gate bridge, number one, right off the bat.
3 (11m 23s):
Love it. It’s beautiful.
1 (11m 24s):
When you’re driving into San Francisco, you can always see the golden gate bridge in the distance. And it’s so beautiful to see. And once you actually get to it, you can walk or bike across it for free, which I would recommend doing, but that’s not where you’re going to get the great views to get really good views of it. You’re going to want to cross into Sausalito, which is another town and get your pictures of the golden gate bridge on the other side. But remember, if you do plan to drive back into San Francisco, there will a toll fee associated with
4 (11m 55s):
That. Yeah. And the golden gate bridge is just such a famous landmark for many reasons. At the time of its opening in 1937, it was both the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world at the time. And so it has a main span of 4,200 feet or approximately 1300 meters pretty close to that and a total height of 746 feet. So really, really tall. And it’s part of California’s famous highway 1 0 1 as well as California highway one, which is famous for its scenic coastal route. So lots of notoriety with the golden gate bridge.
4 (12m 35s):
And what makes it even more interesting is it does span and is pretty much the dividing line that separates the San Francisco bay from the ocean. It runs parallel to that. So literally when you’re driving on the bridge, one side is the bay. The next side is the mighty Pacific ocean.
1 (12m 51s):
Wow. Mr. Historian, looking at you coming in hot with all those facts,
4 (12m 55s):
Got to come in hot with the facts and the golden gate bridge. I love the golden gate bridge for sure. But you were saying some good spots for it was crossing over to the other city of Sausalito on the other side, but one other spot where you can get really, really good views is in Presidio park. Now Presidio park was originally a area of San Francisco that was four to five by the Spanish when the Spanish controlled California. And it eventually became a U S military Fort just as well, although it’s no longer a military Fort, but you can get amazing views of the golden gate bridge from Presidio park. So that is not to be missed as well.
3 (13m 34s):
And then to piggyback off of the golden gate bridge, the golden gate park, probably San Francisco’s most iconic landmark of the city. It’s huge. It’s bigger than central park in New York city. It’s often compared to that, it’s over three miles east to west and about half a mile north to south. So it’s a huge, and there’s so much stuff in it. It’s not just a greenery park.
4 (13m 57s):
Yeah. You just mentioned how it configures those city blocks and how long it was. So it is in the shape of a long rectangle throughout the entire city. And I know you said it’s bigger than central park, but it’s about 20% larger. So it’s really, really large in comparison. But within golden gate park, there’s so many different places to see within it. And one of my personal favorites and I would recommend to any visitor going to golden gate park in San Francisco in general is go to stow lake. Do you remember stow lake Cena?
2 (14m 31s):
I do. We used to get KFC and eat at the park, which was a treat because my dad did not buy fast food. He cooked.
4 (14m 40s):
Yeah. So when we were kids and would go to San Francisco, this is where our parents would always take us to have a picnic. We would go to stow lake, get KFC with
3 (14m 49s):
4 (14m 50s):
KFC. What’s better than some fried chicken in the park.
3 (14m 53s):
It is a very odd choice for a picnic food.
4 (14m 56s):
You’re hating all my childhood here now. Can I at KFC and still like, but Brittany, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about it? Cause there’s lots of other stuff to do there, then just picnic. Why don’t you tell us about the highlights?
1 (15m 7s):
I actually, hadn’t gone to stow lake until I met Jamal and he actually took me on a date at stow lake and we went on a little picnic and then on the lake itself, you can rent peddle boats, you know, the boats where you’re peddling in the water and going around the lake. So Jamal and I did do that and they’re not too bad for like two people. It’s about $30 an hour, which isn’t crazy expensive, especially for San Francisco. And there might be an option on Viator to see if you can get it cheaper. And you can also, if you don’t want to do the pedal boat, you can bike around stow lake as well. And there’s nice waterfalls and it’s just a really nice lake to just get some scenery in.
4 (15m 46s):
Yeah. And if you don’t have your own bike and aren’t bringing it to the city, you can rent the bikes that are at stow lake. They’d go for $8 an hour or you can rent a bike for $32 a day and explore all of San Francisco on a bike or all of golden gate park on the bike. For that matter.
3 (16m 3s):
Another place in golden gate park that holds a special place in my heart is hippie hill. It was super famous in the sixties for the summer of love and famous for its counter culture revolution, which I’m sure our historian can give more information on, but this place, even though it was famous for these things in the sixties and San Francisco’s heyday with the hippies, it is very much still what it was. Then I’ve been there a couple of times for four 20, where everyone gathers and celebrates marijuana culture. It was, it was much more accepted in San Francisco long before it even became legal in California, a few years back. So it’s called hippie hill and it fits its name very well.
4 (16m 45s):
Yeah. And that counterculture revolution that you were talking about, Kim was basically the mass protests in the sixties for racial justice, as well as protesting the Vietnam war, the political establishment that was prevalent during that time in the United States. So it’s famous for that counterculture and what some people deem as the hippies of the era took place right here in hippie hill in golden gate park. But I just want to throw this out there, even though marijuana is now legal in California, it is still illegal to smoke in the park. However, San Francisco police do not necessarily enforce that policy, that the police do turn a blind eye to marijuana usage in the park, even though smoking is illegal in the park.
3 (17m 34s):
Yeah. And it’s just a fun place to hang out. You’ll see people sitting on the Hills with the, have their dogs, our kids even you’ll see people playing music. It’s a really great place to sit and people watch for a little bit.
4 (17m 45s):
I love my, some people watching and San Francisco is definitely a good place to do it and no better place than hippie hill. Another very famous highlight of golden gate park is going to be the Japanese tea garden. You
3 (17m 57s):
Seem very pleased by that.
4 (17m 59s):
I am pleased by the Japanese tea garden. One Japanese tea gardens are awesome. And I had a real appreciation for them after we got back from our trip from Japan. So it made me appreciate the one in San Francisco even more. And I never knew this of my times visiting, but doing some research later on, I discovered that the tea garden in golden gate park is the oldest public Japanese tea garden in the United States. And it was built in the 1890s. So super, super old. And it’s rumored that at these tea gardens, it was the introduction of the fortune cookie in America. So the fortune cookie isn’t really even like Chinese or anything like that.
4 (18m 39s):
It supposedly was invented at the Japanese tea garden here. So fun fact. Yeah, but the tea garden is not free to enter, even though it is in the park. There is a fee of $10 to $12 for adults depending on the season and time of year. And obviously children are going to be lower prices than that. And you can still actually have tea in the tea house. So Kim that’s right up your alley. You’d like to do high tea tea and the Japanese tea garden at golden gate park.
2 (19m 8s):
How cute. Yeah.
1 (19m 9s):
Another highlight of golden gate park is the California academy of science and it’s a huge museum. The cost is about 35 to $37 and there’s so many different aspects of it. They have a planetarium and in the planetarium they have a 75 foot dome that displays one of the most accurate digital universes ever created. So it’s super cool to watch if you haven’t gone and seen it, go check it out. They also have an aquarium and it’s one of the most biologically diverse and interactive aquariums on earth. They have over 40,000 live animals and it represents over 900 unique speakeasies. And it’s just super amazing.
1 (19m 51s):
So the whole experience, it’s like a day trip and it’s so worth the money
3 (19m 56s):
I always wanted to do that. I can’t wait until I can go back to San Francisco. This is definitely on my to-do list.
4 (20m 1s):
The California academy of science is one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco. We used to go to the planetarium at the academy all the time when we went on our trips as kids, you remember that Zayna
2 (20m 13s):
They do. And I remember going there when we were in NYSP, which is national youth sports program, which unfortunately has been defunded, but it was for a children’s summer camp. And they took us to San Francisco for that big field trip. As long as you didn’t get X amount of strikes on you for misbehaving
4 (20m 33s):
Random facts on that one for the NYSP though. But yeah, very correct. But I was wondering if you were going to throw in the fact that you always remember seeing the albino crocodile, the very rare albino crocodile that is housed at the California academy of science.
2 (20m 50s):
I actually don’t remember that, but can you share what the albino crocodile looks like?
4 (20m 54s):
Albino crocodiles are extremely rare. They have one here at the California academy and his name by the way is Claude. And I remember seeing him as a child and he is still there and active. So do check out the albino crocodile. I don’t think you’ll see any other one in captivity anywhere else in the world.
2 (21m 13s):
Wow. I didn’t know that you even knew his name was claw.
1 (21m 16s):
Yeah. Jamal and I took a visit to Claude and like 2009, I think. How old
2 (21m 20s):
Is this Claude fella?
4 (21m 22s):
I don’t know his age, but he’s old. I remember seeing him as a child. I’m surprised that you don’t remember him Zeno.
2 (21m 27s):
I don’t. And I feel so sad that I don’t.
1 (21m 30s):
So those were some of the highlights in golden gate park. And so now we’re going to talk about fishermen’s work.
3 (21m 36s):
Another iconic tourist attraction of San Francisco. I went here many times with my family. I remember that one of the biggest places within fisherman’s Wharf is pier 39 tons of shops and restaurants. For those that like clam chowder, it’s really known for their sourdough bread bowls and their clam chowder inside. I don’t eat clams, but I hear it’s very, very good.
1 (21m 59s):
Oh, it’s so good. It’s one of my favorites.
4 (22m 1s):
I know you don’t like seafood Kim, but you’re about to tell me all these years of living by San Francisco, you have never eaten a clam chowder bull and sourdough bread in San Francisco on the pier.
3 (22m 13s):
I said, I don’t like clams. So yes I have tried it. And they do also make chili bread bowls for anyone that doesn’t like clam chowder, like the normal people like me.
4 (22m 24s):
I don’t know about that. You’re the abnormal person on that one, but yeah, pier 39 is incredibly famous. It has lots of shops, lots of restaurants, but this is also where you’re going to find lots of street performers. So they have something at pier 39 called the Smartwater stage. They have lots of magicians comedians, acrobats performers. And they’re always on that stage in that area. So you’re always going to find live entertainment there as well, but they have so much more stuff. They have an aquarium, virtual 3d ride simulators and some of their most famous residents, the sea lions who wants to pick up and tell us about the sea lions here.
3 (23m 4s):
No trip to pier 39 is complete without seeing those damn sea lions.
1 (23m 12s):
Yeah, I think you can hear them before you can actually see them, right? Zaina that?
2 (23m 16s):
Or smell them
4 (23m 18s):
That you can. So at the pier, it’s famous for having a pack of sea lions that are residents of the area. I don’t know if pack is the official scientific term of what you call a bunch of sea lions, but it’s really interesting. They didn’t always use to be there. They started arriving in vast numbers and around January of 1990, shortly after that 1989 earthquake, I told you about the Loma Prieta that took place the world series, and they don’t know why they arrived, but their numbers started from 10 to 50 and due to plentiful herring supply, which is fish in the area, the available dock space in the marina started protecting the sea lions there.
4 (23m 59s):
And now they have a wild population that’s grown to more than 300 and they are now continuous residents of the area there. So you will always see the sea lions just living on the docks.
1 (24m 11s):
You know what we haven’t talked about yet at fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli square, Ooh, who hasn’t been to Ghirardelli square and gotten a Sunday.
2 (24m 19s):
Ooh, I love your deli.
4 (24m 22s):
I love Ghirardelli. So Ghirardelli is a famous chocolate and ice cream shop in the area. And I’m sure outside of San Francisco people see Ghirardelli as a brand throughout the United States, but it originated in San Francisco here and beyond just the actual ice cream and chocolate shop there. Your deli square itself houses space for over 40 specialty shops and restaurants. So beyond just getting ice cream, it is its own shopping district within fisherman’s Wharf itself.
1 (24m 53s):
I wonder if they still get free samples of like a chocolate when you enter.
4 (24m 57s):
I wondered as well. Maybe we need to go back and find out.
3 (25m 0s):
I think it’s our duty to go and find out
1 (25m 2s):
Or report back to our listeners. Once we find out
4 (25m 5s):
Continuing on with fisherman’s Wharf though, we want to touch upon pier 45. So again, just keep in mind, just like with golden gate park, there’s lots of things to do within the park itself. Fisherman’s Wharf is a district, so we’re going over things to do in the area. So there’s pier 39 and there’s also pier 45. And this is a famous pier for housing, two old military Navy ships, the USS Pam Pitino and the S as Jeremiah O’Brien and they’re now actual national historic landmarks. And so these ships are now memorials and museums. So they’re worthy to check out. And even if you don’t go in and do the museum tour, they’re definitely cool to see the old military ships.
1 (25m 51s):
So one of the places you can visit off of the coast of San Francisco and you can see from fisherman’s Wharf is Alcatraz and Alcatraz is super famous. Have you guys been,
2 (26m 2s):
I have, yeah. In sixth grade, the big field trip for sixth grade is going to Alcatraz.
4 (26m 7s):
I’ve been Alcatraz just as well. And also on that sixth grade field trip.
3 (26m 11s):
Well, I got gypped out of that sixth grade field trip.
1 (26m 15s):
What the hell?
3 (26m 16s):
But it’s a spooky place. So I don’t know if I want to go.
1 (26m 20s):
So you haven’t been Kim. I have
3 (26m 22s):
1 (26m 23s):
So Alcatraz was a prison and it’s now a museum and you can take a ferry to the Alcatraz island and the tour costs about $40 for adults. And it’s something that you would want to book weeks in advance because the tourists can sell out weeks ahead of time. And it has housed Al Capone and many other famous prisoners. And a few prisoners have actually escaped Alcatraz. And they thought that this was the perfect prison because one it’s an island and to the surrounding waters, as we have already mentioned are freezing cold. And so the thought was one they’d never be able to live if they did escape in the water because they thought that they would die from like hypothermia.
2 (27m 9s):
It was also infested with sharks.
4 (27m 11s):
Yeah, the San Francisco bay and the ocean just right outside the golden gate bridge is notorious for having a lot of great white sharks too. So beyond the cold water, it was thought that the Marine life would get them to if not the hyperthermia, but Alcatraz is just sitting there, this perfect island in the middle of San Francisco bay, you can see it from any spot within the city along the water. So it’s just so iconic. But after a while, they decommissioned it as a prison. And again, now it is a museum. And if you’re interested in learning more about the one official escape that they have recorded on the island, I forgot the name of the movie, but Clint Eastwood is the star in that movie.
4 (27m 57s):
And it is unconfirmed. If the people who escaped, lived or died, no bodies were recovered. So to this day, it’s still a mystery.
2 (28m 6s):
It’s a mystery of two brothers who ended up escaping and they never found them. And they assumed that they died, but they also thought that like they escaped somewhere in south America because the mother would get like a birthday card each year and flowers were sent when the father died or something. I don’t know. It’s just, it’s so fascinating. There’s so many things that you can look up Al Capone died there. I think it was from syphilis
1 (28m 29s):
That he got in hot spring
2 (28m 31s):
That he got in hot Springs, Arkansas. We have an episode about that, but anyways, just super fascinating. And I remember when I was there, like I said, I went in sixth grade, there was a prisoner there signing his book. He wrote a book and I remember they had him at a table. He was finding the book and he kept telling everyone like X amount of years ago, I made a mistake. Just interesting stuff.
1 (28m 52s):
The one other thing too is I did say that there is a tour and the ferry boat ride and the tours are conducted over a headset. So you can walk through and see the prison cells. And it’s such an amazing story. And it’s just so fascinating. Like some of the ways that prisoners try to escape and what they try to do to hide that they were going to be escaping and how they carved their knives and how they made it look like bodies were in their bed so that no one would look for them. It was a pretty crazy story.
2 (29m 20s):
So moving right along, we are going to take you now to the palace of fine arts.
4 (29m 27s):
Yeah. And the palace of fine arts is located in the marina district. Now the palace of fine arts were constructed in 1915 for the Panama Pacific exposition, which was held in San Francisco in order to exhibit works of art. And it’s not an exhibit hall anymore to exhibit any art, but the buildings there are so beautiful that they are still a tourist attraction just to go see the buildings that were built for the exposition.
1 (29m 54s):
Yeah. There are classical European style stone buildings with beautiful columns and a giant stone Ridge Tunda so definitely check it out. And lots of movies have been filmed in this location for all of those star wars fans. They had some of the sets designed after the architecture at the palace.
4 (30m 11s):
Yeah. So they obviously didn’t feel many scenes of star wars at the palace, but some of the cities and the star wars universe were designed after the structures at the palace of fine arts
1 (30m 21s):
Moving along, we’re going to take you next to the Exploratorium.
3 (30m 25s):
The Exploratorium actually used to be at a former exhibit hall at the palace of fine arts, but it has since moved. And it’s now at pier 15 and 17 in the Embarcadero area of San Francisco. It’s a super cool interactive science museum. Science is super cool guys. And this one, the way they’ve done it up is really cool.
4 (30m 45s):
Yeah. And the Exploratorium was founded by Frank Oppenheimer, who is the youngest brother of J Robert Oppenheimer, who was the lead engineer for the Los Alamos project, which was the research team that actually created the first atomic bomb. So the lead guy who created the atomic bomb for the us government, his brother, Frank, is the person who founded the Exploratorium. But I love this museum. It costs about $30 for adults, 29, 95 for the day ticket. But there’s so many cool interactive science things that are at the museum. And it’s just really amazing to see and experience.
2 (31m 28s):
So if there’s anything that you do in San Francisco, I hope you do the Exploratorium. I also grew up there going there almost every other weekend. It’s super fun and it is not to be missed.
3 (31m 39s):
Another San Francisco attraction is the quite tower it’s super old built in nineteen thirty three, two hundred and ten feet tall for everyone, not in the U S at 64 meters. It has a taught viewing deck 360 degree views of the city and the bay. It’s super pretty. You know, we love to go up on top of buildings and have these amazing views. It’s really pretty, definitely worth the trip up. If you’re wondering what neighborhood it’s in, it’s in the Telegraph hill neighborhood. And that’s actually a cool thing about San Francisco is it’s separated into all these different little neighborhoods, even though it’s not too far apart, easy to get to each one, they’re their own little neighborhoods. So this is Telegraph hill,
2 (32m 18s):
Quite tower is it’s very, just it’s synonymous with San Francisco. And you’re going to see this in a lot of movies. So it really is just a tower that gives you 360 degree views of the city, but you should still do it. It’s iconic in San Francisco. And that’s really like, that’s what it is. It’s just an iconic place.
1 (32m 37s):
And if you love an easy day, you can do a scenic hike to the tower. I would definitely recommend it. I’ve actually done it before. And I would recommend it because parking at the tower is very, very limited. And there’s a line of cars waiting to reach the law. And it can be very long so you can spend more time just waiting to park in that lot. Then it would take you to just, you know, hike it, why not? It’s an easy day. And once you get to quite tower, if you do want to get to the top of the tower, there is an entrance fee of about $9, but it’s super affordable and it’s cheaper for seniors and childrens. And you can also pay for additional fees if you want a guided tour of the inside of the tower and see the painted murals on the inside.
4 (33m 18s):
Yeah. And if you don’t want to do the long hike up and you don’t want to sit in the line of cars to park, you can take muni, which is the name of the bus system in San Francisco’s number 39 line. And it travels between Coit tower and fisherman’s Wharf. So you could either do Coit tower and then take the bus to fisherman’s war or vice versa. But definitely if you want to get there, use muni bus 39, that will take you to it
2 (33m 45s):
And moving right along. We’re now going to take you to union square. Now, this is one of my favorite places because it’s a huge shopping district. Not because of that. That’s not my reason. And it does have a four stories. Macy’s and again, that’s not the reason why, but I met Donald Trump. Yes. Our president, Donald Trump in that four story Macy’s with Jamal. And not only did I meet him, I swindled him. So this is a good story. This is back in 2005. So obviously like he’s not our president just yet. And I’m with Jamal, my best friend. And one of Jamal’s really close buddies.
2 (34m 24s):
We’re coming down the escalator and there’s a lady down there waiting for us to get off of the escalator. And you can see that she works there. She has perfume in her hands. So you know that she’s like going to try to sell you something. So as soon as I get down, she holds out the perfume and she’s like, oh, have you tried Donald Trump’s new cologne? And I’m like, no. And it didn’t smell very good at all, by the way.
4 (34m 46s):
It definitely didn’t smell good. I can agree with you on that one saying,
2 (34m 50s):
Yeah. So she basically said that if you buy the cologne, you get to meet Donald Trump. Not only do you get to meet Donald Trump, you also get a free copy of his book that he just wrote and he will find it for you. And I’m thinking to myself, I don’t want this cologne. So I asked her point blank. Oh, okay. Well, if I buy this cologne, can I return it same day? And she laughed because she knew where I was going with that. And she’s like, yeah, actually, you know, it is refundable. And I was like, great, I’ll buy a clone please. So I bought a cologne and I got in line to meet Donald. Did you get the book for free? Yeah. So you get the book for free purchasing the cologne. So I’m waiting in line behind like these velvet ropes and my best friend, Josh comes over to give me something.
2 (35m 33s):
And as he like comes over and goes under the ropes, he looks around and realizes no one stopped him. And I’ve already shown my receipt for the perfume to get into the line. So he doesn’t have to prove that he bought the perfume or the cologne, I should say, because he’s already there in line. Right. So as he’s standing there, we look at each other and laugh and I’m just like, dude, just stay here and meet Donald Trump and get a book yourself. And he’s like, okay. So then we wave over Jamal and Anthony, so they can come discreetly, get in line as well. And they do one at a time. So there we are. Four of us, I’ve only purchased one cologne, every single one of us got a book, got to meet him, got his autograph.
2 (36m 14s):
I know. Right. And then I returned to the cologne. So we got four books for free. We all met Donald Trump and I didn’t even pay a penny for the cologne because I got it returned. So I did shake his hand because I knew that he hates shaking people’s hands. Cause he’s kind of a germaphobe. And then Jamal, tell us about your experience.
4 (36m 31s):
Yeah. Well, I just want to say before I mentioned my experience, we always talk about liking to fuck things hard when we get a good deal. And we did a little fucking hard on that one. I will say, you know what, returning his cologne and getting the free autograph. Yeah. Quadruple, fuck them hard, I guess. But anyway, so we got in line and Zane and I shook his hand along with our friends who were with us and I asked if we can take a photo and then you guys say, I have an infamous scoff. He scoffed at me and was like, oh, we got a line. Let’s move it along. That was his response to me then. So politics aside, I don’t think he’s grown to be a nice person with time either.
4 (37m 14s):
He was always kind of the way he is even back then too. And I can attest to that from firsthand experience. That was my Donald Trump adventures in San Francisco while he was promoting his clothing fashion line or whatever it is that you want to call at, Macy’s in union square.
1 (37m 32s):
Good story guys.
3 (37m 34s):
Just the kind of stuff you can see in union square. It’s such a bustling area of the city.
1 (37m 39s):
So now we’re going to a different part of the city. We’re going to Lombard street and super interesting. It’s actually part of us highway 1 0 1 and its claim to fame is it is the world’s most crookedest street. And it has like eight different switchbacks. It receives approximately 2 million visitors a year, 270 cars go down an hour. And there’s just so much traffic on the street due to it being such a famous street that there’s actually talks about regulating how many people can go down the street at a time and possibly charging a fair to drive down to the street. Now
4 (38m 18s):
They’re thinking about doing that because Lombard is a big street in San Francisco, but this one specific spot of Lombard is on such a steep hill that they can’t make it a straight road. They have to make it a crooked road. Like Brittany said, pretty much switch. And this portion of it, that switchbacks paved in these beautiful bricks. It’s not just asphalt. It’s not concrete. It’s beautiful brick laid road and people actually live on this street. So the people who live on the street on the area that everyone wants to go to are pretty much to an extent tired of everybody, seeing it as a tourist attraction, even though here we are promoting it as such, because it is such an iconic place in San Francisco, definitely a must see.
4 (39m 5s):
So maybe by the time you listen to this and go, they may have instituted that fee. But as of now, they have not, but it is a sight to see. So do check it out. If you can drive down it, if not, and you are walking walk down. It’s really cool.
2 (39m 20s):
I wonder like in order to get to your garage, cause it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Lombard, but do you get in the garage from the main Lombard street or a back alley? Cause can you imagine going out shopping and doing your things and then coming home and you’re like, oh shit, I really gotta pee. I gotta pee. I gotta pee. And then you have to wait like 30 minutes to go down the Lombard street to get your car to your driveway.
4 (39m 42s):
That’s a good question. You know, I’m trying to remember how the houses look. I don’t know, but I imagine some of the garages are in the front
2 (39m 50s):
Lombard street. You’ll recognize it. It’s in all the movies. It’s an iconic place to see. So from Lombard, we are going to take you to twin peaks.
3 (40m 2s):
I love this landmark in San Francisco. What it is are two large Hills on the top of the city. So very specifically 925 feet. There’s only one mountain Mount Davidson. That’s higher at 928 feet. So they’re super high. You get a beautiful overlook of the city. You can see the golden gate bridge, the bay bridge, the whole city, the water it’s gorgeous. Only caveat is that as San Francisco can be, if it’s foggy, your view is not going to be visible. So watch the weather on the day you want to go up. Luckily it’s only about a 20 minute drive from downtown. It’s a free open air, natural attraction. So it doesn’t cost anything, but it’s so pretty.
3 (40m 44s):
When you get a nice clear day and a beautiful view,
1 (40m 47s):
I’ve actually never been to twin peaks. So the next time I’m back in the city, I’m going to have to go check it
3 (40m 51s):
Out. Yes you will.
4 (40m 52s):
I’ve been to twin peaks a couple of times, as you heard, obviously not with Brittany since she hasn’t been, but I like this spot a lot to come because of its prominence and elevation. It’s the one spot where you can really see an entire view of all of San Francisco, the surrounding bay area, the whole peninsula itself, the one caveat, like you said, can’t be a foggy day, but when it isn’t a clear view, it’s absolutely amazing and breathtaking up there. No better views of the city than from there.
3 (41m 22s):
Next place in San Francisco that I’m super excited to talk about is baker beach. Why do I love it? Because it’s clothing optional.
1 (41m 32s):
It’s a bit nippy out there in San Francisco though. Huh?
3 (41m 35s):
Pay you get a nice day and just strip on down. You can also have dogs out there. So I’ve seen some interesting people with their dogs and bearing it all. It’s free. It’s a free beach. You can pull up your car. I have never had any trouble finding parking. So that’s great. I’ve definitely seen people swim there. And the really, really cool thing about it is not just all the naked people running around, but it’s right under the golden gate bridge. So you have gorgeous views of the golden gate bridge, right above you on the beach. It’s a great place to take pictures, hang out. It’s a super chill place and, you know, get a nice tan, no tan lines.
4 (42m 10s):
Yeah. And what I really like about baker beach also is that this beach is on the ocean side. A lot of the stuff in San Francisco is on the bay side. So this is actually on the ocean side. So really, really cool in that area. But if you are going to bear it all, get a little nippy out on the beach and get in the water, do be careful for two reasons. One water’s freezing and San Francisco and two, going back to what we were talking about about Alcatraz. There are a lot of great whites in that area, along the beach. So they’re not known to have lots of shark attacks, but do have that in the back of your mind, that is a very prominent, great white shark area, baker beach.
1 (42m 51s):
So I think that pretty much sums up most of the activities and sites to see in San Francisco with the exception of one more site, which is you guys know, we love to go visit houses like randomly. When we were in Boulder, we saw the Jon Benet Ramsey house. When we were in Arkansas, we were considering driving by bill Clinton’s house.
3 (43m 12s):
When we were in Chicago, we saw the family matters house.
1 (43m 16s):
2 (43m 16s):
Like lifetime achievement for me right there to see the matter his house. Oh my God.
1 (43m 23s):
So growing up, I watched full house all the time and you could actually see the full house house in San Francisco.
3 (43m 32s):
It’s still there. It still looks just as cool.
4 (43m 35s):
It’s still there. And there’s a big green park across from the area. So lots of people not even necessarily go look at the house, although they do it is a nice area within the city just to escape, sit and relax and have a good time. So do go check that out for sure. If that’s something that you’re into, but we talked about the things to do and see, and San Francisco, I, can’t not mention this being such a big baseball fan, San Francisco giants fan. If you’re in the city in San Francisco, do yourself a favor and go check out a San Francisco giants game. Right now we know with COVID going on, there is no live sporting events, but once all this is behind us, rest assured one of the best things and fun activities you can do in San Francisco is check out a San Francisco giants game.
4 (44m 24s):
They have in my biased opinion, one of the most beautiful ballparks in the entire country. And you would be remiss if you didn’t go.
3 (44m 33s):
I absolutely agree. I think the park is the most beautiful park that I’ve ever been to. I love that you can walk around the whole thing. My favorite place to sit. I’ll tell you guys, but just don’t give away the secret to everybody, but it’s actually in the 300 section. So it’s on the third level at the first baseline, even though it’s in the third level, you still have a great view of the players. You have all the action in the first baseline, more so than the other side of the park. You can see the kayaks down below. So when they hit home runs, which they do all the time, the people in the kayaks will go get the balls. And it’s a whole little experience in the water over there. You can see the bay bridge, the golden gate bridge, the whole steady and the game.
3 (45m 13s):
It’s a beautiful place to sit in the park and the seats are fairly cheap to,
4 (45m 18s):
Yeah. I love the San Francisco giants ballpark. And what Kim’s talking about about the kayakers, the ballpark is right along the water. And when they hit home runs, if they’re hitting it out of right field, it lands in what’s called McCovey Cove, which is part of the bay. So bunch of people in kayaks are just sitting out there waiting for a home run ball. And if it splashes down in there, you should see the mad dash of everyone in their kayaks trying to go catch that ball. It’s a quite a sight to see that’s for sure.
3 (45m 49s):
I think that McCovey Cove could actually be a really good experience for somebody coming in the post COVID era, where you can’t attend the actual game. If your social distancing and your kayak out there, a lot of people bring TVs too, or little radios. You know, everybody has a TV on their phone now. So that’s actually a really great idea if you’re coming to San Francisco in 2020, or even 2021, if this is still going on,
4 (46m 11s):
That is a really good idea. I might just go rent a kayak and listen to a game from the outside and McCovey cope
3 (46m 17s):
Episode. It’s just making me want to fly to San Francisco right now. Another event that I love so much in San Francisco is the San Francisco gay pride parade and festival it’s insane in San Francisco. It’s a whole weekend long event on Sunday, there’s a parade. And then they closed down the streets and the parades turned into musical stages. And it’s just a huge festival. It’s so much fun. It’s free everyone. There is so nice. It’s honestly like one of the craziest parties in San Francisco. Super fun.
2 (46m 48s):
It is fun. It is wild. I’ve been to, I don’t know if it’s several or just one. I can’t remember, but I know that I’ve been to it. And what I remember also is they have like so many porta-potties in the port-a-potties are so
3 (47m 0s):
Grown. Are they not gross?
2 (47m 3s):
That’s true. That is true. But pride parade and festival is not to be missed. It is a wild time. It is a great time. Like Kim said, people are so friendly. People are walking around naked sometimes too. Like it is. Yeah.
3 (47m 18s):
Yes. I remember one year, I think it was my first year ever going to any pride festival and it was the San Francisco pride and my friends and I, I was with two other girls and we friends with these people who had pastries that they were giving out. So what do we do? We take our shirts off. We put pastries on we’re walking around pride and everybody that we would pass. Cause there’s a lot of tourists in San Francisco. Everybody would say, can we take a picture with you guys? So the three of us were like the star of the gay pride festival. And we have a lot of random photos out there with strangers.
1 (47m 51s):
Is that going on our story post?
3 (47m 53s):
You know, if I had the picture, I would do it, but they’re all on other people’s phones or cameras damn. One day we might find them.
1 (48m 3s):
So if any of our listeners happen to be at that same pride, Kim was that and you took a photo, send it into us so that we could post it on our stories for everyone else to enjoy too.
2 (48m 13s):
What year was this? Kim?
3 (48m 15s):
It was probably 2008 or 2009.
2 (48m 18s):
We have it. If you went to pride in 2008 or nine
3 (48m 23s):
With three topless pastries, girls let us know
1 (48m 28s):
Another wild event. And this is the last event we’re going to talk about in San Francisco is the bay to breakers, race. And Kim and I actually went and did this race when we were 12 years old, my mom and it’s an annual foot race in San Francisco, typically on the third Sunday of may. And a lot of people wear costumes or if they don’t wear a costume, they choose to wear no costume at all and run the race. No,
3 (48m 55s):
That is so San Francisco.
1 (48m 58s):
Yes. And the complete course is 7.4, six miles long. So when my self Kim and my mom, as well as my mom’s friends went, my mom had never been before. She had no idea what to expect. So we’re on the sidelines, watching people race and people are coming down in their costumes. And then we see our first nude guy and Kim and I are 12 years old. And my mum was like, cover your eyes, cover your eyes. Don’t look. And then they just keep coming like nude person after new person. So Kim and I started keeping track of how many nude men and how many noodle women completed the race.
3 (49m 36s):
It was in the hundreds
4 (49m 37s):
I was going to say, do you remember the total?
1 (49m 39s):
It was hundreds of men. And I think two women
3 (49m 41s):
Super fun event though.
1 (49m 43s):
Yeah. Super fun event really gives you a feel for San Francisco’s culture. And it was a great time.
4 (49m 50s):
I just want to say to touch upon, as we’re closing out this episode here, you know, love it or hate it right or wrong. As you can tell San Francisco’s a very tolerant city and what they allow people to get away with. And certain things in terms of walking around naked for certain events, whether it be at pride or beta breakers or the non-enforcement policy smoking within golden gate park and other things. So San Francisco is a very, very unique city for its tolerance in that sense. And just for its sheer beauty and location within California and its surrounding area, San Francisco is not to be missed. I love it a lot. Did any of you ladies have any other final thoughts?
3 (50m 31s):
Just want to say that the many, many times I’ve been to San Francisco, I’ve never felt unsafe. Even walking around four in the morning, I’ve never felt unsafe. So yes it is a city and you have those city situations that you’ll find in every city. Very, very safe.
2 (50m 46s):
I just want to say that Jamal, you talking about Claude, the albino alligator piqued my interest. So I had to Google him as we were recording. And according to Wikipedia, he was hatched on September 15th, 1995, making him 24 years old. That is an old alligator. God bless you, quad.
4 (51m 6s):
Thank you very much saying that for a given our listeners, that tidbit of information that I did not know about,
2 (51m 11s):
I had no and now we know,
3 (51m 14s):
Well, that’s all we have for you today. Thank you guys for listening to our San Francisco episode, keep the mentors going with us. Follow us on Instagram, YouTube, a Travel Squad Podcast. We have a Facebook group called the Travel Squad mob. You can come in and join our communities there, tag us in the adventures that you’re going on. And please send us in those questions of the week.
2 (51m 35s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please share it with a friend that will enjoy it too.
4 (51m 42s):
As always guys, please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and be sure to rate and review us on YouTube just as well and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.
1 (51m 52s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. Make sure to pack your bags and grab your swimsuit. Because next week we are taking you to all three of Florida’s national parks.
4 (52m 3s):
It’s going to be hot by.
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