Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Walk for Shoppers

One of the favorite pastimes of visitors to San Francisco is shopping. Here's a walking route that combines two of the City's premier shopping districts, a breathtaking view, a house made famous by a Robin Williams movie, a bit of a workout, and a chance to lunch at a tasty, neighborhood restaurant.

Start your walk at the corner of Geary Blvd. and Fillmore Street. You can get here from Union Square by taxi or by taking the 38 Geary bus on Market Street. Before you start your walk, note the Fillmore Auditorium on the southwest corner of the intersection. The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and other greats of rock and roll played here during the venue's heyday in the late 1960s. On the northwest corner, you'll see the Boom Boom Room, once owned by the famed bluesman John Lee Hooker. On the northeast corner are the Sundance Cinemas and Japan Center, which is home to Japanese stores and restaurants, as well as Kabuki Springs and Spa, where you can get a massage.

Now begin your walk by heading up the hill on Fillmore Street. You'll pass many boutiques, coffee houses, and restaurants. You can see a good listing on www.fillmoreshop.com. If you want to have lunch while strolling along Fillmore, try Pizzeria Delfina at 2406 California Street for great, thin-crust pizza. It's my favorite pizza in San Francisco.

The shopping district on Fillmore Street ends at Jackson Street. Walk two more blocks up Fillmore to Broadway for a great view of the Bay. Turn left on Broadway and walk down the hill to Steiner Street. On the southeast corner of Steiner and Broadway is Mrs. Doubtfire's house. This is the home where Robin Williams and Sally Fields lived in the film, "Mrs. Doubtfire."

Then turn right on Steiner and walk three blocks. You'll now be at the corner of Steiner and Union Streets and at the western end of the Union Street shopping district. Rose's Cafe on the northeast corner has good sandwiches, paninis, salads, and pizzas, and is a good lunch spot. Turn right on Union and you can begin strolling among more upscale shops, restaurants, and cafes. A good listing of shops is available at www.unionstreetshop.com. The commercial district ends at Union and Gough, where you will see the Octagon House on the southwest corner. This museum was formerly a home with eight sides. To return to the Union Square area, hop the 45 Union-Stockton bus.

Don't try doing this walk in reverse as you will find yourself walking up a very steep section of Fillmore or Steiner Street. If you would like to take a private San Francisco tour that includes visits to Fillmore and Union Streets, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or at Rick@BlueHeronTours.com.

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