San Francisco is well-known for a few iconic attractions, including The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Powell-Hyde cable car ride. When we visited earlier this year we loved all of those things, but San Francisco has a wealth of wonderful areas to visit. Last week I wrote about the California Academy of Sciences, and this week I’ll share some of our favourite destinations in the city.
A visit to any city isn’t complete without a trip to a bookstore. The choice in San Francisco was easy – we had to see City Lights. This bookstore came to national and international prominence in 1956 when its owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, published Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems. He was arrested on obscenity charges, but won in a landmark trial that defined freedom of speech in literature. The Beat movement had a strong connection with the store and its publishing arm; Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were all affiliated with it. Today, it has a great collection of interesting books, and this is where I did most of my shopping.
City Lights may have been known for the beatniks, but Haight-Ashbury is the street corner most associated with the hippies. In 1967, the summer of love brought young people from all over America to San Francisco. Wearing tie-dyed T-shirts and flowers in their hair, they ensured that Haight-Ashbury was immortalized as home of the hippie movement.
We visited the Mission District to see the great collection of street art. Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley are home to a number of murals, many depicting social justice issues.
Everyone rides on a cable car while in San Francisco, but the museum is worth a visit too. It holds several antique cable cars – one dating back to the 1870s – and obsolete equipment. We enjoyed the viewing area for the cables and equipment that run the cars in use today.