Walking Through San Francisco: Part 2

There’s nothing quite like walking through parts of San Francisco I have never seen or just haven’t seen in a while.

San Francisco painted ladies
UNSPLASH Alex Le Moëligou

With my boyfriend visiting the Bay Area, a trip to the City By the Bay was in order. We decided to spend a long day in the city, where the August weather was perfect for wandering through its hilly streets. Walking between six to seven miles, we observed the different cultural and historical landmarks of San Francisco. Below is the detailed guide of the route we took, may you try out it for yourself!

1.  Start at the Glen Park Station BART and take the 44-O’Shaugnnessy bus to the front of the California Academy of Sciences.

The glorious science museum sits inside Golden Gate Park, right across from the De Young Museum (check out JST’s exclusive interview). The exhibits range between topics of evolution, earthquakes, marine animals (there is a massive aquarium on the bottom level), and ecology (think walk-through biosphere with rainforest animals and plants). Admission is on the pricy side at $29.95 for adults, but students and riders of public transportation get discounts. Take a moment outside, and have a drink or lunch in the gardens afterward.

2. From the Academy, walk to Strawberry Hill and Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. 

Take a seat on a nearby bench to observe the individuals on paddleboats or those with rows glide through the serene lake. Sitting is definitely a good idea at this point, especially after all the post- museum walking!

Golden Gate Park
UNSPLASH Antonio Gabola

3. Stroll to the top of the Park through the incredible amount of greenery…

And find yourself in the Conservatory of Flowers, where couples and families are relaxing and picnicking on the grass.

4. Next stop: Haight Street.

The hippie epicenter boasts Amoeba Music, countless thrift stores, psychedelic shops, and of course, the infamous intersection of Haight and Ashbury. Famous during the 60s for being a hotspot of “hippie love,” the street is now a go-to for the city’s best finest vintage and second-hand steals.

San Francisco Haight

5. Proceed to Ben and Jerry’s right on the corner of Haight and Ashbury for a sweet treat before continuing onwards to Alamo Square Park.

From Haight, turn left onto Pierce and hike a few blocks to reach the park. Displaying the most perfect view of San Francisco, the elevated area reveals sites of the city’s famous building. The Painted Ladies (opening credits of Full House, anyone?) are right next to the park, where happy dogs run free.

San Francisco painted ladies

6.  Begin the long trek back to the Union Square BART station by walking down Hayes Street, a complete, cultural departure from that of Haight Street.

Hayes Street boasts the hipster atmosphere and is full of cool bars, restaurants, and unique shops like Flight 001 (read our Top Picks at Flight001), which sells cute plane gear for jet setters. During our trip, we strolled past a casual Google event for young entrepreneurs in the area. And you know what that means: food trucks are abundant here, working to serve the after-work crowd.

7.  From Hayes, cruise on over to Market Street, which leads to Civic Center station. 

Note: Market Street, between the Civic Center and the Powell Street BART stations, can be a little sketchy in the evening; I was definitely glad to be walking with company.

As I rode on the BART back home, the summer skyline was a clouded tangle of orange and pink. It’s only in San Francisco that you can walk just one block and experience an entirely different atmosphere and environment. That fact alone brings a smile upon my face and is sure to bring one upon yours too.

Amanda Purcell

Amanda has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her secret travel tip: visit places during off season. She loves walking around cities that she's never been to before, especially if she can't speak the local language.

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