Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker Beach is a public beach on peninsula of San Francisco.

IMG_2653

It is a popular beach with its views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Swimming is not recommended at the beach because of the rough surf conditions and rips.

The beach is also a photo stop for those walking the cliffside Coastal Trail.

The northern section of Baker Beach nearest the bridge is considered a clothing optional beach.

IMG_2652

IMG_2651

IMG_2654

IMG_2650

Muir Beach Overlook

Muir Beach Overlook is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

IMG_2282

Muir Beach Overlook provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean coastline and its rocky cliffs. Between the months of November and June you may be lucky and see migrating blue whales.

During World War II it was used as a site to watch for potential attacks following the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Several of the historic base-end stations remain.

Muir Beach Overlook is located north of Muir Beach on Highway One (State Route 1)

IMG_2294

IMG_2295

IMG_2296

IMG_2292

IMG_2288

Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco

The Conservatory of Flowers is a Victorian greenhouse and botanical garden located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

IMG_2428

The materials for the conservatory were purchased by businessman James Lick. He died in 1876 before construction could commence and the materials were sold by his estate. A group of businessmen purchased the materials and offered it as a gift to the City to be erected in Golden Gate Park.

The conservatory opened in 1879 making it the oldest building in Golden Gate Park. It is also the oldest wood-glass conservatory in North America. Its design is inspired by the Kew Gardens in London. The impressive wooden Victorian building has 16,800 window panes.

It houses nearly 2,000 plant species across five galleries – Aquatic Plants, Highland Tropics, Lowland Tropics, Potted Plants, and West Gallery.

The conservatory is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4.30pm. It closes some public holidays; visit the website for full hours and pricing.

It is located at 100 John F Kennedy Drive.

IMG_2435

IMG_2434

IMG_2431

IMG_2430

IMG_2429

 

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

The Japanese Tea Garden is a jewel in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

IMG_2411.JPG

This is the oldest Japanese garden in the United States. It was originally created for a Japanese village exhibit as part of the California Widwinter Exposition in 1894.

After the exposition Japanese landscape architect Makoto Haigwara developed the exhibit into to a permanent Japanese tea garden. Haigwara and his family lived on the property until World War II when they were evicted and sent to an internment camp.

The garden’s winding paths weave around pagodas, wooden bridges, rock gardens, koi ponds, and buddha statues.

There is a tea house serving Japanese refreshments. I had a cup of green tea with a slice of green tea cheesecake.

If you visit before 10am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday admission is free. The garden opens at 9am and closes at 4:45pm in winter and 6pm in summer. See their website for prices and seasonal hours.

The Japanese Tea Garden is located at 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park.

IMG_2397

IMG_2402

IMG_2406

IMG_2410

IMG_2409

IMG_2403

IMG_2404

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

The Palace of Fine Arts was constructed during the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair held in San Francisco.

IMG_2843

The Palace was designed by Bernard Maybeck in the style of Roman and Ancient Greek architecture. It is built around an artificial lagoon.

The structure was not built with durable materials as originally it was only intended to stand during the Exposition, which run from February 20th – December 4th, 1915.

Unlike many of the other buildings built for Exposition the Palace was saved. But due to its construction and vandalism it was in disrepair by the 1950s. In 1964 the structure was demolished and the Palace of Fine Arts was completely reconstructed.

Today it is a nice picnic spot or place to stroll. It is a very popular location for wedding photography.

The Palace of Fine Arts is located at 3301 Lyon Street.

IMG_2884

IMG_2880

IMG_2842.JPG

IMG_2840

IMG_2838

Lombard Street, San Francisco

Lombard Street is San Francisco’s famous crooked street.

IMG_2352

The one block in the Russian Hill suburb between Hyde and Lavensworth Streets with eight hairpin turns is what led to its title ‘the crookedest street in the world.’ Technically Vermont Street in Potrero Hill is actually the ‘crookedest’ street in San Francisco.

Russian Hill has beautiful stately mansions with manicured gardens and flower beds. You can either drive down the street or walk up and down the stairs.

The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia, its switchbacks were built in 1922 to allow traffic to descend the hill’s steep incline.

IMG_2354

IMG_2360

IMG_2361

IMG_2368

IMG_2373

IMG_2358

IMG_2374

Coit Tower, San Francisco

Coit Tower is a 64 metre (210 foot) tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.

IMG_2349

Coit Tower was paid for with a bequest from socialite and philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit who died in 1929. The art deco concrete column tower was completed in 1933.

The interior features 27 murals painted in American Social Realism style by 26 artists.

It is free to enter the ground floor where many of the murals are located, but there are charges to take the elevator to the observation deck, which provides 360 degree views of San Francisco.

The tower is open April – October from 10 am to 6pm, and 10 am to 5 pm November to March. Last ticket is sold 30 minutes before closure.

Coit Tower is located at 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard in Pioneer Park.

IMG_2319

IMG_2322

IMG_2333

IMG_2331

IMG_2347

IMG_2341

IMG_2339

IMG_2344

IMG_2348