San Francisco – 49 Miles Scenic Drive part 3

Spoke to a friend H* on at the new year’s eve party about SF as he was living there. We arranged to meet up for drinks when I arrived in SF but it never materialized cause of the schedule and commitments I had. I did however take his advise to try out renting a mini car to drive the city. Mini cars are excellent for me cause it’s a comfortable size for a petite girl and comes with a GPS! Cars notice me cause I’m unusual and were all very courteous! Changing lanes were a breeze and I had so much fun driving compared to Singapore cause the motorists were not impatient and selfish. I also had some people walk up to take pictures of me in the vehicle cause they thought it was so cute!

Anyways… H* recommended that I have to do the 49 mile Scenic drive (drop me note if you would like a copy of the map) if I was in SF as it’s the best way to see all the best of what that area has to offer. 49 is a special number in SF cause the city measures 49 square miles and became well-known due to the gold rush of 1849. Some locals would have done the drive but rarely complete it as it was relatively to get lost or distracted with detours and most tourists never heard of it. I endeavored to do the whole 49 miles and not only managed it…. I even did some detours to see other parts of the city after the drive. Many locals which I’ve spoken too were pretty impressed and most can’t believe that a tiny little asian girl could do that drive in mini car especially since my car was open top and it is still spring weather! I have to concede that while the drive can be done in one sitting… for the most rewarding visit… drive the entire loop one day, and return another day to explore specific landmarks. It was a blessing that the days were cool and clear when I was in San Francisco since the city is known for it’s heavy fog.

There is way too many places to see and to do on this drive so I’ll just roughly skim through to the places I consider real nice. The ride starts from the City Hall or the United Nations Plaza. Here a couple of museums including the Asian Art museum. But if you are a Modern Art Lover the one you shouldn’t miss is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). I drove through Japantown and stopped at Chinatown for lunch. Most of the scenery on this drive I used the video camera rather then the digital camera as I could only focus on using one of them.

Look out for the Transamerica Pyramid – the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline on the way. You might have seen the building in the TV series Charmed or movies such as Zodiac or the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill. Next up is North Beach and the Fisherman’s wharf areas which I covered in the previous posts. Driving past The Cannery and Ghirardelli Square which was an old chocolate factory that has been converted to a shopping mall. The Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, known for its world famous ice cream sundaes is located here.

The coolest thing about driving in SF is being able to drive down Lombard Street… better known by most people as “the crookedest [most winding] street in world.” It’s actually not as hard as it looks to drive down this stretch as the speed limit is only 5 mph (8 km/h) on this down hill street. A little know fact is that in SF there is another street competing for “the crookedest in the world” title…. and it’s also located in SF. The section of Vermont street between 20th and 22nd Street is steeper than Lombard but has less turns.

I toured the Marina Green… home to the St. Francis Yacht Club and the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

If you love boats and yachts then give this place a look since the Golden Gate Yacht Club took part in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup.

Will continue the journey in the next post!


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