Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

I left my heart in San Francisco

The old Tony Bennet song goes “I left my heart in San Francisco” well this is where artist Claes Oldenburg  and Coosje van Bruggen got the inspiration for this beautiful bow and arrow sculpture called Cupid’s Span. This place is where Claes  and Coosje symbolise the place in the song.  The 60 foot high and nearly 130 foot wide sculpture is made of stainless steel and fibre glass and sits in Rincon Park which is along the Embarcadero in San Francisco between the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge looking up Folsom Street.  Rincon Park is a two acre oasis with spectacular views of the bay and a very popular place for people to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This sculpture really ads a fantastic dimension to the park.

J Town SFO

San Francisco is known around the world for its fantastic China Town but not many people are aware of its Japan Town which is just as fascinating and a great place to visit.  The whole precinct makes you feel like you are in Japan, the paving the landscaping and even the architecture is very Japanese.  The precinct centres on a large shopping and exhibition plaza which is full of Japanese stores, from nick knacks, clothing, music and DVD and plenty of eateries.  The food is sensational, whether you want a simple piece of sushi or a full Teppanyaki experience. The area has a huge five tiered pagoda which although made of concrete is pretty impressive.  Like Japan the area is very popular during the cherry blossom season when the whole area comes alive with blossoms.

Raygun Gothic Rocketship

No aliens have not landed in San Francisco, but someone passing the bayfront along The Embarcadero might think otherwise. Standing at 40 foot the Raygun Gothic Rocketship is a pretty impressive piece of artwork on display in the bay city. 

Some say the Raygun Gothic Rocketship (RGR) is an 80 year old vessel that has a duty of scientific discovery and exploration. Reports say she has crash-landed on the frozen seas of Mars, gathered specimens from every last one of the 400 volcanoes of Io and charted the caves of Mongo. While others might try and diffuse the myth by saying shiny silver retro themed rocket ship is the work of dozens of bay area artists, but we like the earlier.  Hope they brought back some cheese from the moon! Read the rest of this entry »

San Francisco’s Street Car Trams

When you think of trams in the beautiful US Pacific city of San Francisco you think of the old cable cars that head up and down the steep streets. Well there is another very unique tram travelling the streets of San Francisco, the Tram or Street Car as they are known. The cars returned to the streets of San Francisco in 1979 and have now grown to quiet a fleet. Many of the street cars have come from cities around the US where they are no longer in use. Some have even come from overseas including Melbourne Australia, Kobe and Hiroshima in Japan and Blackpool in the UK. After painstaking restoration, and painting usually in the original city’s colours the trams have been returned to service.


A golden gateway

The burnt orange Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s best known and loved icon. Spanning 4200 feet across San Francisco Bay the bridge built in 1937 carries six lanes of US 101, 67 metres above the water. Construction started in January of 1935 and cost 35 million dollars to complete, taking just over four years to complete and it remained the longest suspension bridge until 1964 when it was surpassed by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which links Brooklyn with Staten Island. The bridge colour is officially called International Orange and was painted this colour to stand out in the thick fog which San Francisco harbor readily sees. Around 120,000 vehicles use the bridge on any given day which is controlled by a toll. Pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to use the bridge on the eastern side which faces the city during daylight hours. The walk is about 1.7 miles long and can get busy especially on sunny weekends when it is a very popular pastime. Just remember it might be a nice day but it’s sure to be windy crossing the bay and the fog can roll in very quick. Many tourists visit the historic Roundhouse which houses a giftshop and historical information centre. There are a wealth of books, memorabilia and other interesting items on the Golden Gate Bridge which make great souvenirs. The Roundhouse can be found on the southern side of the bridge. The northern side of the bridge also has a popular and moving tribute, The Loan Sailor Memorial located near the Vista Point parking lot is an important US Navy Memorial.

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A trip to the ‘Rock’


Alcatraz Island or the Rock as it is commonly known is one of the major tourist sights in beautiful San Francisco. Located in the centre of San Francisco Bay the island has had a long history as a fort and more notably both a military and a federal prison, becoming home to many of the most notorious criminals of the USA before it closed in 1963. Today the island is administered by the National Park Service and ferries leaving Pier 33 near Fisherman’s Wharf offer trips and tours of the facility. The island has an abundance of wildlife and rare plant life and is nesting grounds for many birds. The island is free to visit although ferries are the only way to get to the island, which have a transportation charge, booking should be made in advance as only so many people can be transported a day. The tour thought the grounds and the prison facility is accompanied by a fantastic audio tour which really give you a first hand experience of what the prison was really like- its quiet eerie.

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Levi Strauss & Co visitors centre


Way back in 1853 a Bavarian immigrant called Levi Strauss and his tailor Jacob Davis designed his first pair of riveted blue jeans. Little did they know they were making what would become the most recognisable and one of the most loved clothing brands of all time. Today Levis is sold in over 160 countries and are the no 1 brand for jeans and casual pants, and the company is still privately owned by descendants of Levi Strauss. On Battery Street, San Francisco, the home of Levis is the Levi Strauss visitors center. The complex has six pavilions each showing a different aspect of the companies business. The display was opened to celebrate the company’s 150 anniversary and has proved very popular. The centre houses many historic jeans including many very rare and historic examples. There is heaps of advertising material including print, film and video from the 150 plus years of trading and a great insight into how jeans are made. The best thing about this centre is its free.

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A trip out to the imfamous Rock


One of the most visited tourist spots in San Francisco is Alcatraz Island or the rock, best known for its imfamous federal penitentary. The island over the years has been a fortress, a prison, a light house outpost, a site of native American occupation and now is part of the Golden Gate National park. Interstingly the island gets its name from teh Alcatraces, which was the Spanish name given to the brown pelicans which were common in the area when the exloreres first found the area. The only way to get to Alcatraz is by a ferry operated by Alcatraz Cruises, LLC. They are located on The Embarcadero near the intersection of Bay Street – near Fisherman’s Wharf it is suggested to pre book as the trips fill up regually. Read the rest of this entry »

I left my heart in San Francisco

YouTube direct

San Francisco is one of the world’s most beautiful bayside cities. The Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, the Trolley Cars and Alcatraz this city is an amazing holiday destination. Explore the city, the waterfront, the great food, the parks and gardens and meet the friendly people. This week’s You Tube of the weeks shows some of the beautiful sites all set to an amazing soundtrack.

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Hop aboard the trolley


Since 1873 the cable car has been servicing the streets of San Francisco, and still today remain one of the city’s much loved icons. Originally built to safely transport people up and down the steep slopes of San Francisco Streets the cable car is still an integral part of the city’s transport system. Fares are 3 dollars for each trip but the best way to see the sights is to buy a 9 dollar all day pass or for longer stay a Three day or Seven day pass. Here you can jump on and off when ever it suits. There are three lines in operation, The Powell Mason, which runs to Nob Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf from the City. The Powel Hyde line also goes towards Nob hill and passes Russian Hill and ends up at Aquatic Park near the Ghirardelli Square on the Waterfront. The third line is the California Street line which runs east west from the financial district through Chinatown to Nob Hill. A great way to learn about the cable car system is visit the Cable Car Barn and power station which can be found at 1201 Mason Street its open most days and gives a great insight into this great transportation system.

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