Playing tourist in San Francisco

I arrived in San Francisco this week on Tuesday, well in advance of Friday’s BlogHer conference in San Jose, to spend a bit of time seeing the sites. Although I’ve been visiting San Francisco for almost 20 years on business, I rarely get a chance to just be a tourist.

Tuesday was hot (for San Francisco) and sunny, and I did the Barbary Coast walking tour: from Union Square through Chinatown and North Beach to Embarcadero, then over to Fisherman’s Wharf. Along the way, I climbed Telegraph Hill (whew!) and took the elevator up Coit Tower for the most amazing view of the city and beyond. Unfortunately, I didn’t (yet) have a camera with me so none of the views were captured. I ate dinner at Scoma’s on Pier 47, a somewhat pricey but nice seafood restaurant right on the pier that I remember from a visit years ago. It was crowded with a huge wait for groups, but I was able to snag a little table for one without a wait, and enjoyed a beautiful dinner of seared ahi and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Heading back to my hotel near Union Square, I spent a chilly (by now) 30 minutes waiting for the cable car — forgetting that walking up to the first stop past the terminus would have saved me the wait.

Wednesday was cool and foggy in the morning, which made it a great day for shopping. My prize purchase of the day was a new digital camera, a Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital Elph, although I had to experience a particularly stupid sales process through Circuit City. That was the end of the day already and I had a business meeting in the evening, so I didn’t get a chance to start snapping until Thursday.

Thursday was also cool and foggy to start, but eventually the sun came out and it warmed up. I took the F train along Market and Embarcadero all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf on a wonderful old wooden streetcar that rattled and shook very much like a wooden roller coaster, only not so much. I was going to take the Powell-Hyde line back, but it was out of order and they offered a free shuttle up to the Cable Car Museum where we could catch the other line to Union Square; I stopped in at the museum and was absolutely fascinated, since it’s really more than a museum, it’s the actual motors and sheaves driving the entire system. Very cool, you can walk underground and see the cable as it spins out to the rest of the city.

I had a meeting that evening in South San Francisco before heading down to San Jose for BlogHer, and I arrived early so spent a bit of time walking around Sierra Point, snapping some more photos.

My first efforts with the new camera can be found here.

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