Moss Landing Harbor, California

Moss Landing is a small community on the shore of Monterey Bay, California.

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Moss Landing is 24 kilometres (15 miles) north-east of Monterey, so makes a perfect rest stop on trip from San Francisco to Monterey.

I stopped at Moss Landing Harbor Visitors Dock on the way to Monterey.

In 2007 a dock was installed, which has since been taken over by hundreds of sea lions. Similar to the sea lions, which famously overtook Pier 39 in San Francisco.

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San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall is the chief administrative building for the City and County of San Francisco.

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The original City Hall building was built 1899 and was much larger than the City Hall building that stands today. The 1899 building was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake.

Construction on the new City Hall building began in April 1913 and was completed in July 1926. It was designed by architect Arthur Brown Jr of Bakewell & Brown and cost $3.5 million.

The five floor building covers two full city blocks and has more than 555,000 square feet of space inside. It is architecturally impressive with its Roman-style columns, marble floors and staircase, and elegant lanterns.

It received a $293 million upgrade and seismic retrofit in 1998, which was much needed following the 1989 earthquake.

Interesting fact the structure’s dome is 42 feet taller than the US Capitol. Also Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio married at City Hall in 1954, and sadly Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated at City Hall in 1978 by former Supervisor Dan White.

San Francisco City Hall is open to the public Monday to Friday during business hours. It is at 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place (on Van Ness Avenue).

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Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinatown in San Francisco is the oldest and second largest Chinatown in North America.

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The official entrance to Chinatown is the Dragon Gate at the intersection of Bush and Grant Streets. A competition was held to design the gate, which was won by architect Clayton Lee, and landscape architects Melvin H. Lee and Joseph Yee. The materials were donated by the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1969.

Chinatown is home to kitschy souvenir shops, antique dealers, art galleries, bakeries, authentic markets and restaurants. Its busy streets and alleyways are decorated with red lanterns, flags, and ornate Chinese-style decorations.

To learn more about Chinatown it is worth visit the Chinese Culture Center, a non-profit organisation, which was formed in 1965.

Chinatown consists of around 24 square blocks, it is bordered by Kearny, Broadway, Powell and Bush Streets.

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Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (750 Kearny Street)

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Eastern Bakery (720 Grant Street)

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Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (56 Ross Alley)

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Old Chinese Telephone Exchange (743 Washington Street)

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First Chinese Baptist Church (15 Waverly Place)

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Yee Fung Family Association Headquarters (131 Waverly Pl)

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Wong Family Benevolent Association (39 Waverly Place)

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Soo Yuen Benevolent Association (806 Clay Street)

Japantown, San Francisco

Japantown, also known is Nihonmachi, is a neighbourhood in San Francisco.

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It is one of three Japantowns remaining in the States, all of which are in California (other two are Los Angeles and San Jose).

The focal point is Japan Center, a shopping complex. The complex is made up of three buildings. They are the Kinokuniya Mall, Japan Center West (Kintetsu Mall ), and Japan Center East (Miyako Mall).

Located between the East and West Malls is the Peace Plaza with the Peace Bagoda, which is a five tiered concrete stupa. It was designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to San Francisco by its sister city Osaka, Japan in 1968.

Japantown is bordered roughly by Geary Boulevard between Laguna Street in the east, and Fillmore Street in the west.

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Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco

Haight-Ashbury is a district in San Francisco that is famous for the origin of the 1960s hippie culture.

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The district is named after the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets. The streets are named after early San Francisco residents – exchange banker Henry Haight and member of San Francisco Board of Supervisors Munroe Ashby.

The area has colourful Victorian homes, quirky boutiques, vintage clothing stores, music stores, chic cafes and restaurants. The famous Haight Ashbury legs are above the Piedmont Boutique (1452 Haight Street).

Haight-Ashbury was also home to bands and musicians, such as Janis Joplin (635 Ashbury Street) and The Gratetful Dead (710 Ashbury Street).

A fun fact the clock at Haight and Ashbury is set out 4:20.

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‘Grateful Dead’ house – 710 Ashbury St

Castro District, San Francisco

The Castro District is a neigbourhood in San Francisco. It is recognised as one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States.

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What is recognised as San Francisco’s gay village is located on Castro Street from Market Street to 19th Street. There are rainbow flags and murals dotted around the district.

To learn more about San Francisco’s LGBTQI+ history it is worth checking out the GLBT Historical Society Museum (4127 18th Street).

Also in the Castro is The Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street) an Art Deco movie palace built in 1922.

Castro Street is named after José Castro, who was a Californio politician and acting governor of Alta Californio.

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Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument is a redwoods forest within the the Golden Gate Recreational Area.

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Muir Woods is home to an ancient coastal redwood forest. The trees average in age from 400 to 800 years with heights of up to 250 feet. There are trees within the forest that are at least 1200 years old.

Congressman William Kent and his wife Elizabeth Thatcher Kent donated 295 acres of land to the Federal Government to protect the redwood forest. President Theodore Roosevelt established the land as a national monument in 1908.

The National Monument is named after John Muir, a writer and naturalist who founded the environmental organisation Sierra Club.

Muir Woods National Monument is is 19 kilometres (12 miles) north of San Francisco, so is a popular day trip from San Francisco. The park is open from 8am to sunset.

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