Yesterday I have the pleasure of playing tourist with my friend Lauren. We decided to head to Fisherman’s Wharf to see what the tourists see.
We were blessed with amazing weather; sunny skies with a high of about 78°. Anyone who lives in San Francisco knows that this is a rarity. As we traveled on the Market and Wharves F street car, I had the chance to catch glimpses of the famous landmarks of San Francisco; Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, and Alcatraz. Looking out onto the Bay, you could see clear across to Berkeley, Sausalito, even Richmond. I began to appreciate my city more and more.
We rode the street car to Pier 39, the mecca of commercialized tourist attractions in Fisherman’s Wharf. Walking around Pier 39, the view of the Bay was spectacular. It felt like every cold, foggy and miserable day I’d experienced in San Francisco was melting away into a distant memory.
Lauren and I continued to wander through the Wharf, taking in the sights, sounds and the food! We made our way to the Musee Mecanique, an arcade of old-fashioned coin operated games. The arcade used to be at the Cliff House, at Land’s End in San Francisco, where I had visited it in my youth. It was very nostalgic to be there, knowing that my parents had played on those same games as a young couple when they lived in the City.
As the day went on, we visited more tourist spots; Ghiradelli Square, Hooters, and the souvenir shops. We took in the commercialized tourist attractions, right alongside the more historic landmarks.
Our last stop on our adventure was the famous Buena Vista Cafe, home of the Irish coffee. This bar had been on my list of places to go while living in the City, so I was happy to be able to visit it. We ordered Irish coffees (which were delicious) and admired the view of the Bay from the bar. At this point, it was early evening and we could see the fog slowly creeping in through the Golden Gate. It was a reminder that San Francisco’s true nature is to be foggy, even on the days we get warm and sunny weather.
To finish our adventure we took a cable car home. Out of all the passengers on the car, it is safe to say we were the only locals. The cable car couldn’t take us further than Washington St near Chinatown, so we walked the rest of the way down Powell. We began to enter our San Francisco reality, leaving our tourist day behind.
We eventually worked our way to a friend’s house near San Francisco State, the neighborhood where we spend so much of our time. We both remarked that this area of SF seemed worlds away from Fisherman’s Wharf; that it as if we had spent the day in a whole other city.
Our adventure to Fisherman’s Wharf to play tourist for the day renewed my love of San Francisco. As a local, the city can quickly become a frustrating, hectic place. The allure of the City can quickly become tarnished by terrible traffic, MUNI breakdowns, and cold, damp weather. Sometimes it is necessary for locals to move away from the unsavory parts of the City and see what the tourists see.
Thousands of tourists flood San Francisco every year; my trip to Fisherman’s Wharf helped me understand why.