Sight seeing in San Francisco

Trip Start Mar 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, July 19, 2008

We drove into San Francisco which is built on 43 hills. The original Spanish name for San Francisco was Yerba Buena, meaning "good herb" or "good grass". It has the highest number of homeless inhabitants per capita of any major city in the United States...maybe because of the good grass ?
We walked down Market Street visiting the United Nations Plaza, Civic Center Plaza to the San Francisco City Hall. It is the biggest building in the world that is actually not attached to the ground, it rests on top of 600 base isolators made of rubber and stainless steel - for earthquake protection. San Francisco's is world famous for cable cars, they were invented in 1873. They survived two World Wars, fire and earthquakes.
Before having lunch at Mo's burgers at the Moscone Center we passed the Contemporary Jewish Museum, The Metreon, Yerba Buena Garden for the Arts. To get a view of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge we went to Pier 2, then walked up along the coastal line to the Ferry Plaza and browsed the stalls. We cut through the Embarcadero Plaza to see the Transamerica Pyramid. It's the tallest building in San Francisco. California Street was one of the many steep streets that we viewed. It's amazing how they park their cars on those steep streets by parking perpendicular to the road or turning their wheels towards the curb.
We made a pit stop at the Levi Strauss Visitor Center then made our way up the pedestrian stairway known as the Filbert Street Steps to Coit Tower. There were magnificent views of Alcatraz, San Francisco Bay and the city. We made our way down Filbert Street through Washington Square in Little Italy to China Town for steam cake. Apparently it is one of North American's largest Chinatowns and is also the oldest one in the United States. It is one of the largest and most prominent centers of Chinese activity outside of China.
Before heading home, we stopped at Union Square. The name "Union Square" stems from the fact that the area was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the Civil War. Today, this one-block plaza and nearby area is one of the largest collection of department stores.
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