This morning we woke up and got the free shuttle bus to Larkspur ferry terminal. The $11 ride was more entertaining than the night time excursion as we got to see a variety of different sites on the journey. First we saw San Quentin prison, home to the infamous cult leader Charles Manson, if you look closely at the picture below you can see the prisoners in their orange uniforms out in the prison yard.
Closer towards the city we passed Angel Island, a hiking island perfect for the outdoorsy types.
And of course Alcatraz, but that’s a different day…
Arriving at the ferry terminal we walked into the financial district and got the metro to The Castro. The Castro is one of the most famous LGBQT areas in the entire world. The streets and shops are decorated with countless rainbow flags, LGBQT specific shops and the rainbow honour walk, a Hollywood walk of fame style pavement that recognises LGBQT campaigners, honouraries, civil rights activitists and members from all over the world, including a couple of Brits.
The area was also a buzzing nightlife hotspot which we didn’t get to experience as we visited during the day but checking out the shops and soaking up the community atmosphere was a privilege to walk around.
We then walked South on Castro street towards Dolores Heights and turned East onto 19th street towards Dolores Park.
This park is a must visit when visiting San Francisco, ordinarily this park on a weekend or on a sunny day would be packed full with local musicians, performers, stoners, families and salarymen enjoying the view of Downtown. However on a cold, foggy Monday mid-day we were virtually the only people there.
We subsequently walked all the way up Dolores Street onto 24th and started from the top of the famous Latino neighbourhood of the Mission. If you want to experience Hispanic culture, creativity and persona you’re in the right place when your in The Mission. This neighbourhood is a far cry from Fishermans Wharf and should be taken with a pinch of salt. The district is crowded with Mexican and Salvadorian restaurants and bars, cinemas, theatres, thrift shops, liquor stores, graffiti, streer vendors, performers and musicians. It is a bustling block of every type of person you could possibly meet.
If I could recommend a place to eat I would choose Gracias Madre, a 100% vegan, organic, gluten free Mexican restaurant.
In the late afternoon we got the metro to Powel street and window shopped in and around Union Square, the very centre of San Francisco, home to huge department stores, restaurants from every corner of the world and mine and Georgia’s preferred favourite; the Irish district.
Bar crawling every Irish bar in sight we eat some more Mexican food before deciding to get the Ferry back. This itinerary allowed us to avoid most tourist traps and get a feel of the real San Fran. We’ll definitely be back before we go as I can’t keep away from Shrimp tacos for more than a couple of days!