After selected posts about my favorite places in San Francisco, this one will reveal my other Must-See in this beautiful city. In San Francisco you can find unique spots everywhere, in the well-known districts as well as in smaller neighborhoods:
Alamo Square is a subset of the Western Addition neighborhood and is located between Webster Street and Divisadero Street, and between Golden Gate Avenue and Oak Street. This area is characterized by Victorian architecture and is known for its “Painted Ladies” – very impressive Victorian houses facing the park on Steiner Street.
The Castro District – commonly known as The Castro – was one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States and has been one of the most lively for several decades. Having transformed from a working-class neighborhood through the 1960s and 1970s, the Castro remains one of the most prominent symbols of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activism and events.
China Basin is a neighborhood built on landfill along the San Francisco Bay and includes famous AT&T Park – home of the San Francisco Giants – numerous restaurants, and the Caltrain railroad station. AT&T Park is a basketball stadium primarily used for hosting Major League Baseball games. The China Basin Park right next to it is a popular pre- and post-game gathering spot for Giants fans young and old. There you can also stroll along the Giants History Walk while enjoying breathtaking views of AT&T Park and the Bay.
The Dogpatch is an industrial neighborhood that historically housed the city’s slaughterhouses. It got its name from the packs of dogs which strolled around looking for food. It is one of the few remaining industrial sectors of San Francisco and you can find many abandoned warehouses and factory buildings there. Recently, the area began to shed its gritty, working-class roots and transform into a young neighborhood with focus on biotechnology and healthcare.
The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco along the bay. It starts near the AT&T Park and travels north under the Oakland Bay Bridge and past the Ferry Building at Market Street, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 before ending at Pier 45.
This district is named for the intersection of Haight and Ashbury street, and is known for being the origin of the hippie subculture. During the 1960s and due to the availability of cheap rooms and properties for rent or sales (property values had dropped because of the proposed freeway), the bohemian took root. In the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury district offered a concentrated gathering spot for hippies and thereby drew attention from all over America. The opening of the Psychedelic Shop in 1966 offered hippies a spot to purchase marijuana and LSD. The neighborhood’s fame reached its peak when acts like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and many more moved to this area. They immortalized the scene in song like “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” which spread over the world. Today, Haight-Ashbury is still a vivid neighborhood with loads of hip shops and cool cafes.
The Mission District – known as The Mission – is the heart of San Francisco’s Latino culture. Around the 24th street, you will find a colorful collection of authentic restaurants, taquerias, Mexican bakeries and markets. Mission Dolores at 16th and Dolores Street is the oldest structure in San Francisco where many Spanish pioneers are buried onsite. The palm tree studded Dolores Park is my personal hotspot to view the sunset over San Francisco – the small park on the hill offers the perfect panorama over the cityscape.
Potrero Hill is a residential neighborhood in the south of San Francisco. It is known for its views of the San Francisco Bay and city skyline and was my perfect home for several weeks. It’s close to many destination spots due to having two freeways and a Caltrain station. And it’s one of the sunniest neighborhoods in the city – that fact makes Potrero Hill perfect to enjoy outdoor weekend brunch.
The Twin Peaks are two hills with an elevation of about 925 feet (282 m) near the geographic center of San Francisco. Except for Mount Davidson, they are the highest points in the city. Each peak has its own name: Eureka Peak/North Peak and Noe Peak/South Peak. 70 ft (21 m) below the Eureka/North Peak you can find the vista point known as “Christmas Tree Point” which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city and the bay area.
Union Square is a public plaza bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets in downtown San Francisco. You can find many boutiques, fashion superstores, shopping malls, hotel and all kind of entertainment within several blocks around the plaza. The Union Square itself is ringed by Macy’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Levi’s stores along with colorful flower stands and street performers. You can also take the cable car from there either to Market street or down to Fisherman’s Wharf.