Exploring San Francisco, Part 1

Begin at the Ballpark

DougMcConnell.jpgFor those of you looking to experience the best of San Francisco while you’re here this fall, Doug McConnell walks us through the San Francisco scenic waterfront. Doug is cofounder of OpenRoad.TV, and this post is the first in a series of three that explores the highlights and history of San Francisco’s beautiful coast line. Thanks Doug for leading our adventure.

Geographically, San Francisco is a small town, but it's so environmentally and culturally diverse, it can take a long time to explore … and it's worth every hour you can give to the effort.

If I have just one recommendation to give you, and that's tough, I urge you to follow the reborn waterfront of the city, all the way from the ballpark north past the Ferry Building and west through Fisherman's Wharf, the Presidio, and Lands End and the new Cliff House. This entire stretch of history and spectacular scenery has changed dramatically since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. It's one of the nation's greatest urban transformation stories in the past half century.

For those of you who remember San Francisco before the ground shook in October 19 years ago, much of the City's eastern bay front, north and south of the Bay Bridge, was grey, dark, and dingy. The huge and multi-level Embarcadero Freeway stood between the City and the water's edge. Following the quake, the freeway came down, the light streamed in, and the money and creativity began to flow. Entire neighborhoods emerged to the south, packed with restaurants and nightlife. North of the Bridge, the old Ferry Building, one of the City's most iconic landmarks, was restored and renewed as an epicenter of epicurean delights. Old trolleys from around the world arrived and began to ply the modern waterfront, swinging down Market Street and heading toward Fisherman's Wharf.

Doug McConnell
Cofounder of OpenRoad.TV, The Traveler's Video Guide to the American West

Part 2
Part 3

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