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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

A Full Day in San Francisco, Saturday, August 20, 2022

Since we had purchased the City Pass, we could ride the Hop On/Hop Off bus to explore the city. We arrived a little early, so we could get on the first double-decker bus of the morning and sit on top. The view from the top of the bus was fantastic. We started in an area called North Beach, which is not actually a beach, but an Italian neighborhood. We could see Coit Tower in the distance. When we had come last time with the children, we had walked around this area and up to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Riding alongside the traffic we saw the iconic trolley cars.

From there we traveled through Chinatown, the Financial District, and Union Square. As in all cities, lots of tall skyscrapers. Above are endless miles of overhead wires for the streetcars.

Continuing through the city, we pass City Hall plaza. The dome on this building is taller than the capitol building in Washington DC. The Dome shifted 4 inches during the 1989 earthquake. Next, we pass the colorful Haight/Ashbury neighborhood. At this point, our bus driver comes up to the top and describes what it was like because he was living here in the late 60s.

From there, the bus headed west to Golden Gate Park consisting of over 1000 acres. It is where you can find museums and gardens. Our City Pass allowed us free entry to the California Academy of Sciences, surprisingly one of the largest natural history museums in the world. We started in the huge aquarium. There was a vast variety of fish from the rainforests, coral reefs, California coast, and creatures that live deep within the ocean. There is also a large tank where divers were cleaning the glass. From the aquarium, we walked upstairs to the four-story rainforest. It was set up so that you had to enter through a set of double doors to keep the butterflies inside the dome. When we left the Academy, we had to wait for another bus so we could continue our trip around the city. About 20 minutes later, another bus arrived, but it completely full upstairs. We decided that we would take some seats inside the bus instead of waiting for another bus. Unfortunately, it was extremely hot and smelled of exhaust. We hoped that along the way, people from upstairs would get off and we could go back up. The bus took us over the foggy Golden Gate Bridge and then back again into the city. We stayed on the bus until the Ferry Building (stop number 4) but that meant listening to the narration again. We wanted to find some lunch and I knew that I could get a gluten-free sandwich at the same bakery that we had visited the previous day. After lunch, we walked down to the Exploratorium. This is like the Museum of Science in Boston, with more hands-on exhibits. There was so much to do that we stayed there until it closed. Dinner that night was at an Italian restaurant right across from our hotel. We knew we had to make it an early night because we had a taxi ride to Napa in the morning.

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