We spent most of one day wandering around Golden Gate Park - the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, and other areas nearby.
Here's the Japanese Garden, one of our favorite spots.
Going up and over this bridge is tougher than it looks. It's quite steep.
The Conservatory of Flowers is California's first municipal greenhouse, completed in 1879. It's patterned after the Conservatory at Kew Gardens, England.
We've been to the San Francisco Botanical Garden a few times now, but only this time did we learn that many of the limestone walls that frame different parts of the Garden were originally part of the construction of a Cistercian monastery founded in 1188 in Santa Maria de Ovila, Spain. Apparently William Randolph Hearst bought the monastery buildings in 1930, and had them disassembled and shipped to California with the idea of putting them back together as part of a retreat in Shasta County. Things didn't go quite according to plan, and eventually the City of San Francisco acquired the stones, and they wound up here.
The Botanic Garden has a huge variety of plants, and looks different depending on what time of year you visit.
San Francisco is a great city for walking. We like to start out from our hotel just off Union Square, head through Chinatown out towards North Beach, and then down to Fisherman's Wharf and back. There are lots of things to see along the way, and always a few places to eat as well.
Heather got some advice from Confucius before we left Chinatown.
Something about this mural caught my attention.
From Chinatown we stepped onto Columbus Avenue and into North Beach, the Italian section. Of course we had to stop for a cannoli and some coffee.
The old Cavalli Italian bookstore is now a cafe. We had heard that the cannoli here were the best in town, and I think that is right.
We walked up Lombard Street, the Crookedest Street in the World, and watched the cars driving down. There are steps on either side of the street itself, so you don't have to worry about getting run down by a disoriented tourist.
Fisherman's Wharf has lots to look at.
There is a big warehouse-type building on one of the wharfs that is now a huge collection of old arcade games, all of which you can play. Lots of fun stuff, including my new favorite game, Whac-A-Mole. I've heard the term for years, and this game has been around since 1976, I can't believe I've never actually seen one before.
Apparently Heather still had some lingering doubts after listening to Confucius, so she got a second opinion.
After wandering around Fisherman's Wharf, we hopped (well, actually we had to wait in line quite a while) on the Cable Car and rode back to Market Street near our hotel.
We walked over to the Financial District for our last dinner of this visit to San Francisco, at one of our favorite spots, the Tadich Grill.
We had a great time in San Francisco.
Click here to see more images from our stay in San Francisco in January.