Have you ever been a tourist in your hometown? Not a ‘tourist for the day’ as in lets go ride a cable car, but an actual tourist on vacation? It’s a strange but an exciting and proud feeling. I had the chance to be a tourist in San Francisco this summer. We were there from Denmark for our wedding and had family and friends visiting from around the world. So we had a few days of play and the chance to show people around.
Being a tourist, while also playing tour guide, in San Francisco gave me a sense of pride. It was my chance to show my city off. It also gave me an opportunity to visit landmarks that I have never visited, for example Alcatraz. I know, everyone goes to Alcatraz on field trips growing up in the Bay Area but not me! I found every excuse not to get on that boat when I was a child and the rest of the class was going on their way. One bad experience in the Bay and I never went back out. It took many years and even then I was nervous about it. Back to the topic, Alcatraz was probably one of the coolest landmarks I have seen in San Francisco. Should you visit, you must do the self-guided tour. It’s worth every penny. The history is just fascinating and the views are breathtaking.
Other sights I will never get tired of are the Trans America building,
Golden Gate Bridge, City Hall and my favorite Saint Peter and Paul Church in North Beach. This is known as the Italian part of the city. Back when the Italian immigrants were going to America, including my parents and their families, this is where they resided. A beautiful area located in the middle of the city, with the popular Washington Square Park, easily accessible to the cable cars, Pier 39, the Marina District and so much more. Its now a bit touristy but there are many Italian restaurants, bars, cafes and shops that can be found here.
Of course while in San Francisco during baseball season I have to go to at least one game to see my World Series Champions, the Giants, at AT&T Park. A visit wouldn’t be complete without some garlic fries and a cold refreshing beer.
Thanks to my dad, who should be a Bay Area tour guide, we found a new gem right outside of the city, the Devil’s Slide Trail. It’s a 1.3 mile (2km) trail for hikers, runners, walkers and bicyclists overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It starts in Pacifica and ends in Half Moon Bay. On the way back I decided a stop at Rock Away Beach in Pacifica was necessary. After all I had to show my new family my old stomping grounds. As always it was full of people either catching some rays, surfing, talking a walk or just listening to the random guy playing his guitar somewhere along the beach. It holds many memories growing up in the Bay Area.
Should you make your way across the Bay Bridge and you are looking for another amazing view take the Treasure Island exit. A hidden gem, where you can get a beautiful view of San Francisco. On the 4th of July or New Years Eve you can see a spectacular fireworks show or if you’re in the mood for some shopping you can visit the flea market the last weekend of every month.
Last but not least I need to give homage to South City. This is where I spent the majority of my youth and young adulthood. While its best qualities are that its close to the airport and only a few minutes away from SF yet still considered part of the Peninsula and they have amazing taquerias, there there isn’t much else to see with the exception of Sign Hill of course. It was still the best place to grow up and holds the most amazing childhood memories I wouldn’t trade for the world.
These are just a few of my favorite places in the Bay Area. Where ever you choose to go you won’t go wrong. It’s a beautiful city with an abundance of culture and variety that you are bound to have an amazing experience.