Bayside Beat

See the Sights of San Francisco

The precipitous hills in San Francisco make it a city best explored by public transport. Grab a Muni Passport, and ride the buses, streetcars, Metro, and—of course—the historic cable cars.

The front seat of a cable car affords a great view of the city

One of the best ways to get familiar with the city is to ride the Powell-Mason or Powell-Hyde cable car from Market Street. This takes you through Union Square, up over Nob Hill, through Chinatown, down to the waterfront at Fisherman’s Wharf. Stop off at Chinatown to soak in the unique atmosphere of the largest Chinatown outside Asia. And if Chinese food sets your mouth watering, there are nearly 200 authentic Chinese restaurants to choose from.

If you prefer seafood, then you’ll love Fisherman’s Wharf. Even if you’re not hungry, just stroll around the waterfront looking at the fishing boats and watching sea lions basking in the sun. Out in the Bay lies Alcatraz (the Rock), once home to notorious criminals, including Al Capone.

Alcatraz—former exclusive residence for notorious criminals

To visit Alcatraz, it’s advisable to book the ferry tickets online because they usually sell out about a week in advance. You’re left free to wander around the Rock and the former federal prison. Budget about two and a half hours for the trip, and be prepared for changeable weather.

If you can't get tickets for Alcatraz, take one of the many boat trips around San Francisco Bay. They take you around the Rock and out to the Golden Gate Bridge, another iconic symbol of the city.

Just a few ideas to get you started exploring this fascinating city.