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I went to San Francisco again last October to find a rental apartment prior to my permanent move here. At the same time, my husband had a company event to attend to. So, while he was going to the conferences, I explored San Francisco by myself. During my previous visits to SF, I only went to the famous attractions as recommended by TripAdvisor or travel books. This time, I revisited few of the attractions and went to some local yarn shops (I crochet and I need to know where to get my supply when I move here). For a female traveller, SF is generally a safe city to travel alone. There are parts of the city that you want to avoid. For example, I wanted to go to a yarn store in Mission area. I googled the direction and it gave me the BART station where I should get off and the walking direction to the shop. However, when I searched for the corresponding BART station, a lot of locals give bad reviews about the surroundings of the station (their main complaint was that there were a lot of homeless people and drunk people around the area). This made me uncomfortable since I was really new in the city. Fortunately, there is another alternative to get there without getting off at that sketchy station – although it would take a bit longer.  My suggestion is that always do a little research about your destination, especially if it’s a bit off where the people usually go.

When we arrived on Friday morning, me and my husband rented a car to go around the city. We already visited Lombard Street in 2007. However, my husband never actually drove on San Francisco’s most crookedest street. If you want to drive through the eight sharp turns street, go to Russian Hill area between Hyde St. and Leavenworth St or type this address on your GPS: 1018 Lombard Street, San Francisco, California 94109 (ref). This attraction can be very crowded with lots of tourists buses. If you don’t want to drive to the area, you can take Hyde Street cable car to bring you to the upper part of the crooked street. For more information, click here.

Lombart St

Lombard Street

In the evening, we went to San Francisco City Hall. The exterior of this building reminded me of Les Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb) in Paris. The present city hall was actually built 2 blocks away from the original building that was ruined during 1906 earthquake. Across the street, there are California Public Utilities Commission headquarter building, San Francisco Opera, and Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall (the home of San Francisco Symphony).

SF City Hall

San Francisco City Hall

SF Symphony Hall

California Public Utilities Commission (left); San Francisco Opera (mid); Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall (right)

The following day, we decided to explore another side of San Francisco using public transportation. The BART is a rapid transit system connecting the Bay area (north of San Mateo County to San Francisco to East Bay). It has five lines with lots of stations (see here for the list of stations). If you’re using smart phone, google map automatically gives you the BART station names whenever you choose the public transit or you can check its official website to plan your trip. The ticket fare is based on the distance you are going to travel, i.e. which station you’ll be getting off. There are charts of fee on the ticket vending machines to determine how much you should pay. These vending machines accept cash, debit card, or credit card. If you think buying each ticket for each trip is a hassle, you can buy a Clipper card. Clipper is re-loadable card that you can use time over time by tapping the card to the sensor at the entry gates. This way, you don’t have to bother figuring out how much you should pay on your trip. Watch out for the balance of the card every time you scan it on the gate. If you are short of balance prior exiting the station, there will be a vending machine inside to re-fill your card. Clipper card is sold at some BART station and most Walgreens stores.

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August 2019
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