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San Francisco Off The Beaten Path: 642 reviews and 1,111 photos

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Golden Gate Bridge and Lincoln Park Golf Course - San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge and Lincoln Park Golf Course

Lincoln Park Beaches / Pacific Coast Review

Originally a cemetery, in 1908 most of the bodies were moved to make room for a new 18 hole golf course. Lincoln park has grown to its current 193 acres by absorbing such military facilities as Fort Miley. Today Lincoln Park contains large tourist attractions such as the museum at the Legion of Honor, alongside small monuments like the USS San Francisco Memorial and the Monument for the first Japanese ship to visit the United States. From the beautiful public golf course there are views of the Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also see the ruins of the Mile Rocks Lighthouse about a half mile offshore, and the Sutro Baths and Fort Miley ruins can be explored on foot. Various trails wind through the park taking you past cliffs, overlooks, and even a few unofficialy clothing-optional sun bathing areas.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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Alamo Square - San Francisco
Alamo Square Architecture Review

For those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, the television show Full House was a cultural icon. Sure it seems like a stupid show today, but who doesn't remember the corny jokes and the 80s hair? Who doesn't remember the opening scene with the kids sitting in a park in a big city in front of their house?

Who knew that big city was San Francisco? Who knew that park was Alamo Square? The big mansions along Steiner Street (known as the Painted Ladies) form the backdrop for the opening sequence to Full House.

Alamo Square Park was established in 1858, and the famous Victorian mansions were constructed in the 1890s.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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USS San Francisco Memorial - Lincoln Park - San Francisco
USS San Francisco Memorial - Lincoln Park SF Views Review

Located at the area known as Land's End in Lincoln Park is the USS San Francisco Memorial, created in honor of the crew of this ship who died, were wounded, and who served during World War II. The USS San Francisco was a heavy cruiser built in 1931 and commissioned in 1934. During World War II, the San Francisco saw more combat than almost any other ship in the US Navy at such locations as Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa. On 13 November 1942, in a fierce battle near Guadalcanal, the San Francisco suffered at least 45 hits, lost its command bridge, and 100 sailors were killed including the commanding officer Admiral Daniel Callaghan. During the ship's repairs the heavily damaged bridge was removed and replaced, and the San Francisco returned to action for the remainder of the war. The bridge was saved and placed here at Land's End for the USS San Francisco Memorial, along with several plaques telling the history of the ship and listing its dead and wounded. Most impressive are the huge holes torn into the steel sides of the bridge from the direct hits by Japanese bombs and shells.

The USS San Francisco Memorial is at Land's End in Lincoln Park as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. From the city take Clement Street west to its end at 48th Street then a right on El Camino Del Mar to the large parking area.

Website: http://www.usssanfrancisco.org/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 31, 2008
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Crazy scrap iron thing with the city in the back - San Francisco

Crazy scrap iron thing with the city in the back

Legion of Honor SF Views Review

The Legion of Honor was constructed in 1924 to commemorate the 3,400 California soldiers who died in World War I. The building is a 3/4 scale replica of Paris' Palais de la Légion d’Honneur. It contains 4,000 years of ancient and European art in a beautiful setting overlooking the city, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. In the area around the Legion of Honor is a holocaust memorial featuring a man behind a fence in front of a pile of gaunt bodies, a big orange scrap iron tinker toy, and a monument commemorating the first Japanese ship to sail to the US. From the fountain in front of the museum you have a great view if the city in the distance.

The Legion of Honor is located in Lincoln Park near 34th Avenue and Clement Street. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m, admission is $10.00 for adults. First Tuesday of the month is free!!!

A short scene from the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo was filmed here. Other scenes from the movie include Fort Point, Mission Dolores, and Mission San Juan Bautista. In the film, Scottie says, "I'd been to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the art gallery." Madeleine responds, "Yes, that's a lovely spot, isn't it? I've never been inside, but it looks so lovely driving past."

Phone: 415-863-3330

Website: http://www.thinker.org/legion/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 31, 2008
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View from the cemetery over the Golden Gate - San Francisco

View from the cemetery over the Golden Gate

Presidio Chapel & San Francisco National Cemetery Churches Review

The original Spanish chapel at the Presidio of San Francisco was built of wood in 1776. After the US Army took over the Presidio, they constructed a new wooden chapel near the same site in 1864, during the peak of the US Civil War. Constructed in Spanish mission revival style, the modern Presidio Chapel was constructed by the Army in 1931. The chapel boasts a 103-year-old Philadelphia-cast fine bronze bell and a mural completed in 1935. Next to the chapel lies a large log of 800 year old Alaskan cedar that is being carved into an Interfaith Healing Pole, better known as a totem pole. The Presidio Chapel is now owned by the National Park service and operated by the Presidio Interfaith Center, an organization comprised of 22 local religious organizations of various faiths.

Next to the Presidio Chapel is the San Francisco National Cemetery. Laid to rest here are 30,000 Americans including Civil War generals, Medal of Honor recipients, and Buffalo Soldiers. The first burial at this cemetery was in 1854 making this the oldest US cemetery west of the Mississippi. The 28.34 acre cemetery is closed to new burials except those who have previously reserved lots.

Even more unique is the Presidio Pet Cemetery linked here: http://www.honan.net/PetCem/

Phone: (650) 589-7737

Website: http://www.nps.gov/prsf/historyculture/san-francisco-national-cemetery.htm

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 31, 2008
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Blowing sand at Ocean Beach - San Francisco

Blowing sand at Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Beaches / Pacific Coast Review

Ocean Beach is very cleverly named as it is indeed a beach along the ocean. Known for its cold water, strong undertow, and big waves Ocean Beach is a favorite for local surfers, but is best avoided by swimmers. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation, Area Ocean Beach also borders the city's Golden Gate Park.

Famous landmarks at Ocean Beach include the Cliff House & Sutro Baths and Seal Rock. The first Cliff House was built in 1858, but has been rebuilt numerous time to its present state as a popular restaurant. The Sutro Baths were built in 1986 at the base of the cliffs north of the Cliff House but burned in 1966; the ruins remain along the rocky coast. Seal Rock is also at the northern end of the beach and is known for the sea lions that frequent the area.

Ocean Beach stretches about 4.5 miles from Cliff House to Fort Funston along the Great Highway.

Website: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60713-d128875-Reviews-Ocean_Beach-San_Francisco_California.html

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 31, 2008
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Mexican Liberty Bell at Dolores Park - San Francisco

Mexican Liberty Bell at Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park MISSION District Review

Just down the street maybe two blocks from Mission Dolores is Mission Dolores Park. This 13.7 acre park marks the boundary between the Mission District and the Castro. Dolores Park has six tennis courts, a basketball court, two soccer fields, a children's playground, a run-down restroom facility covered in graffiti, and the whole thing seems to be a giant dog play area. The park also has a statue of Mexican liberator Miguel Hidalgo, and the replica of the historic Mexican "liberty bell."

In 1861 this land, which was once part of the Mission Dolores lands, was purchased and converted into a Jewish cemetery. This remained only until 1894 when it was moved to Colma (known as the City of the Dead due to the huge numbers of cemeteries that moved here from San Francisco). In 1905 the city of San Francisco purchased the land, which soon became a refugee camp for survivors of the 1906 earthquake.

During our visit, wandered down from Mission Dolores and up the central walking path past the bell, the statue of Hidalgo, and we enjoyed the views of the city. Despite some reports on Wikipeda and other sources the views of the Bay Bridge are not currently blocked by any new new structures. Also while we we there, we watched a massive group of thousands of Hells Angels cruising past on Dolores Street for a funeral for a deceased comrade.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 30, 2008
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Clarion Alley - San Francisco

Clarion Alley

Mission District Murals MISSION District Review

One of the most interesting aspects of the Mission District is the plethora of murals that cover buildings, walls, fences, garage doors, and other vertical structures of streets and alleys. The area was heavily settled by Latinos in the 1960s, and the Chicano Art Mural Movement of the 1970s began the murals that were often based on traditional Mexican paintings. Some of the the original murals and a wide variety of more modern murals are found on 24th Street, Balmy Alley, and Clarion Alley. San Francisco as a whole claims some 600 murals with the majority in the Mission District.

The Balmy Alley mural project began in 1971, and many of the original Mission District murals created by a group called Mujeres Muralistas are located here. In the 1980s a group of muralists called Placa created murals in Balmy Alley against the US government actions in Central America. Today Balmey Alley has over 30 murals.

Precita Eyes is a group of local artists that painted some of the murals; they give tours of some of the murals.

During our visit, we swung through Clarion Alley, and spent 10-15 minutes here admiring the murals. We saw the big Carnival Mural on Harrison Street, then we passed by Balmy Alley, but didn't spend much time here.

Other Contact: Precita Eyes is located at 2981

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 30, 2008
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Fort Mason Piers & Warehouses - San Francisco

Fort Mason Piers & Warehouses

Fort Mason Golden Gate N.R.A. Review

Fort Mason was established in 1860 and grew to huge importance as the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, supplying US forces in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean War. In the 1960s, Oakland Army Terminal became the main port of embarkation through the Vietnam War, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) took over the the fort in the 1970s. Today Fort Mason is the headquarters of the GGNRA, and is used for its open parks, the marina, and for cultural events in the old warehouses and piers. Fort Mason also has a hostel and many of the historic Army houses can be rented from the National Park Service.

Website: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/wwIIbayarea/mas.htm

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 17, 2007
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Grace Cathedral - San Francisco

Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral - Nob Hill Churches Review

Grace Cathedral was begun in 1928 and not completed until 1964. This massive church at the peak of Nob Hill is the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the United States. Grace Cathedral features beautiful stained glass, two labyrinths, and impressively detailed brass doors known as the "Gates of Paradise." Inside the church you will find a variety of unique features such as the multi-faith AIDS chapel and a mural depicting the United Nations.

The cathedral is free to visit, but a donation is requested. There is parking in the cathedral's garage and you will also find a gift shop and Peet's Coffee Shop.

Other Contact: 1100 California Street, San Fran

Phone: (415) 749-6344

Website: http://www.gracecathedral.org/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 16, 2007
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