Tag Archives: walking

Ten Ideas for taking San Francisco By Foot.

San Francisco is known as one of the more walkable cities in the US. Where ever your shoes take you there is bound to be natural beauty in all directions. Having spent a lot of time walking in The City by the Bay over the years, below are ten ideas for taking San Francisco by foot.

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge. Gravitate to where ten million other walkers, runners, tourists and cyclists go every year and head out onto the open International Orange painted bridge. Foggy or sunny, dawn or dusk, the half-plus mile journey one-way will be a bucket list type experience. If you are there on a sunny day, breathtaking San Francisco skyline and bay views await.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Just beyond the Golden Gate, walk Marin Headlands.. I know technically it’s not San Francisco, but the views of the city and beyond make this a journey worth taking up in the hills. Walk from vista point to vista point. On the nearby trail within the headlands, head out onto the open, steep path towards the still active lighthouse, where the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean come together. Wild landscape awaits.

Marin Headlands, Sausalito, California

Walk an off-the-beaten path neighborhood. Tourists flock to Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown, but places like Inner Sunset continue to be off the radar for non-locals. While roaming head into places like the 22nd & Irving produce and vegetable market. You’ll get a feel for what real life is like in the city and off the tourist track.

Walk up-and-down the Tiled Steps. Continuing on in the Inner Sunset neighborhood and visit the hidden gem, The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project. Walk up and down the 163-step staircase, where each step is mosaic masterpiece created by locals. Grand View Park sits up-top and views of the Sunset District and straight out to the Pacific are in view as you head down. If you’re a runner it’s a great place to test your endurance, as many people will probably go flying up-and-down the stairs as you’re visiting.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco

Walk through and around the Ferry Building. Head to the plaza in the back to check out the bay, watch ferries come-and-go and if you like to people watch. Locals use the ferries to get to-and-from work at rush hour times. Inside shop the marketplace. After walking for a while dine at the numerous cafes and restaurants. Recommended stops are Blue Bottle, Pepples Donuts and Far West Fungi. Three days a week your feet can take you through a local farmers market.

Walk up to the top of Telegraph Hill via the Filbert and Greenwich Steps. Checkout the homes, gardens and greenery as you’re moving along. Once up-top head to the top of Coit Tower to get panoramic, 360 degree views of the city. Rest up and hang out on the grass just behind the tower.

Walk/hike the California Coastal Trail.. Looking for a longer, half-day adventure? Start out anywhere along Ocean Beach with the Pacific Ocean in full view. Walk/hike the 8+ mile trails passing by Point Lobos, Baker Beach and countless park benches and vista points. Lots of stairs, landmarks, hidden gems and the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of your journey awaits. Lands End is a recommended spot to relax and soak in all the views.

Lands End, San Francisco, California, Golden Gate Bridge

Walk Lombard Street, don’t drive down the famous curved road. As you’re heading down or climbing up the famous red bricked road, closely check out the colorful Victoria mansions that line the street. Also capture the beautiful flowers all around and the skyline opportunities that await around the middle. As with most things on this list and in travel, you gain a greater appreciation and see a place more in-depth on foot then you could ever do so in the car.

Lombard Street, San Francisco skyline, California

Walk the Hayes Valley neighborhood with a coffee in hand.. Of course I’m going to work coffee into the list. 🙂 Within Hayes Valley, grab a shot of espresso at the outside Blue Bottle Kiosk and/or a pour over at the Ritual Coffee shipping container and walk the boutique style, tree-lined neighborhood streets. You’re bound to get lost in the moment, getting the feeling of being in a completely different town.

Walk into The Buena Vista. After all that walking outside, walk into the home of the original Irish coffee to unwind. Make sure to grab a seat at the bar so you can see the magic happen. Watch the white-coated bartender’s line up glasses on the bar and make what it seems like dozens of Irish coffees at once. There is latte art, and then there is the art of an Irish coffee!

What other places and neighborhoods in San Francisco would you recommend checking out on foot?

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on Foot.

I’ve spent lots of time in San Francisco over the years, but one thing I had never done was walk or run on the Golden Gate Bridge. This summer, I changed that, crossing something off my travel bucket list in the process.

I parked at the Vista Point just north of the Golden Gate in the evening and had this view of the bridge as I got out of my car. The well-acclaimed fog made its presence known on this evening.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

It was time to set out on the open bridge. The bridge was packed with cyclists, runners and tourists earlier in the day, but being close to sunset there would be long gaps of alone time.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

The Golden Gate Bridge recently celebrated its 75th birthday, opening for traffic on May 27, 1937. It connects the affluent Marin County and points northward with the San Francisco peninsula and city. It crosses over San Francisco Bay near where it meets the Pacific Ocean.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

I split time between walking and running, capturing photos as I moved along.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Turned around often to see how far along I was. Off in the distance on the walkway you can see the security cart that goes back-and-forth.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

I could definitely make out the San Francisco skyline across the way, despite the fog.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

I loved capturing scenic shots with the International Orange in view.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

After reaching the southern end, I made sure to checkout the bridge itself too.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Checkout the tourist and information center that sits here around the bridge plaza. I didn’t have a chance as everything was closed. Right in front of me were bike paths leading up to the bridge and underneath to the other side.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Some close up shots of the bridge. The bridge was painted the aforementioned International Orange to increase visibility of those passing underneath and to fit in with the natural beauty around it. The cold ocean waters in contrast with the warmly colored bridge, beautiful!

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

My love of travel signs definitely showed during this journey as I captured the different forms of signage on and around the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is part of U.S. Route 101 and California Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway).

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

The previously mentioned bridge plaza was for those driving the bridge southbound into San Francisco. You’ll see plenty of signage as you approach. The toll is currently $6 for a standard vehicle. Northbound is free of charge. It’s 7:19 p.m. right now, check.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

You’ll find signage giving some interesting facts about the bridge. The length of one International Orange painted cable is well over a mile long!

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

You’ll get the standard speed limit postings for motorists and…

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

…for cyclists as well! I set it off with my running, but could not get the picture in time. 🙂

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

The bridges walkway is split half for bikers, half for those on foot.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Here’s a big sign detailing other rules for pedestrians and cyclists. Watch out for those high winds! Also be prepared with warm clothes as it’s frequently windy and cool, as it was on this evening. If on a bike, make sure the cyclist speed sign doesn’t flash higher than 15. I definitely wasn’t running that fast haha. 🙂

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

I came across this rule and alert board immediately as I entered on the north end of the bridge. The bridge closes for foot and cyclist traffic at 9:00 p.m.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Really? Someone will make a U-turn? People must have for them to put up a sign. The bridge has six reversible lanes being adjusted as needed throughout the day. It wouldn’t be impossible to do a U-turn because north and southbound traffic are divided by small, manually placed lane markers.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

I completed the back-and-forth journey in about two hours.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

I was back where I started at the parking lot of the north end Vista Point. Parking is at a premium on both sides of the bridge, especially the south end, so get there early or late in the day to grab a spot quickly.

All the motorists have their lights on now and I was about to join them and head southbound back into the city. $6 check.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, California

It was a great time walking and running across and back on the Golden Gate Bridge. I can check something else off the travel bucket list. 🙂 When you’re in San Francisco, make sure to set some time aside to walk or bike the bridge. The scenery is unreal fog or not and it will be an experience you’ll never forget.

What other bridges have you crossed on foot or by bike in your travels?