Posted on February 6, 2015
What it’s like to be a tourist in SF
For our 3rd anniversary, Christine and I decided to be tourists in our own city. We picked up as many clothes as we could find with “San Francisco” on them from thrift stores and dollar stores along Mission St, donned some shorts, and hung cameras around our necks. We looked the part.
We started our day with a MUNI ride to the Ferry Building. We noticed a bus just pulling up to our stop, but we were too far to make it, so we kept slowly walking over to wait for the next one. To our surprise, the bus pulled up right next to us and the driver let us on board.
“Where you two from?” The driver asked.
“22nd and Capp St.” We replied.
An hour later we were on the ferry heading to Alcatraz. I had been before, but this was Christine’s first trip to the island. If you’ve never been, now is a pretty good time to visit. The Ai Weiwei exhibit will be up for a couple more months and ads a little more variety to the trip. More bang for your buck as they say.
We followed up our trip to Alcatraz with a crab sandwich from Fisherman’s Wharf and a trip to Musée Mécanique… which was the highlight of our day. Afterwards, we waited in line for a cable car to Coit Tower, but then just decided it would be more fun to walk.
My goal was to experience the city the way a tourist might. Eat where they eat, see what they see, but it’s hard to be a tourist in your town. “It’s only a 35 minutes, lets just walk it.” is not what most tourists do. They wait in the lines and pay 6 bucks for the cable car… hell, most tourists probably never even notice Musee Mecanique, which is one of the coolest spots in the city and happens to sit right in tourist central.
We made it to Coit Tower around 4pm, after a short trip to chat with Al at Al’s Attire. The murals in the base of the tower were one of my favorite parts. The view from up top was great too, but not something I’d ever need to do again. BTW, you get a discount if you tell them you are a local.
The whole day was a blast. Even if we didn’t get to act completely like tourists the whole day, I think we got a pretty good feel for what it might be like. From the sneers from “locals” as we got on the BART in the Financial District, the super nice MUNI driver in the morning. When planning the day, I had so much more in mind; double decker buses, little yellow go carts, bike rides across the Golden Gate bridge… there’s no way we could have done all that in a day. Just hitting Alcatraz and Coit Tower was more than enough tourism to fill our day.