Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Panoramic Views of San Francisco
San Francisco supposedly has 43 hills. (I've never counted.) Stunning views can be found throughout the city. Two regular stops on my tours of San Francisco provide beautiful views of San Francisco and the Bay: Telegraph Hill and Twin Peaks.
Telegraph Hill, which got its name from a telegraph station (actually a semaphore station) located atop the hill in the 1850s, is in the northeast corner of San Francisco. From the parking lot, you can see from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge. Walk behind Coit Tower and you can see downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Take the elevator to the top of Coit Tower and you get a 360 degree view. On a clear day, it's not to be missed. You can get to the top of Telegraph Hill on the number 39 Muni bus or by walking up the Filbert or Greenwich Street steps.
While Twin Peaks at 922 feet above sea level are not the tallest hills in the city, they provide the better view. (Mount Davidson is 6 feet taller but the summit is covered with trees that obstruct the view. Plus, you have to walk to the top of Mount Davidson while you can drive to Twin Peaks.) From the vista point, you can see from the Golden Gate Bridge to the north, across the North and East Bay, all the way to San Bruno Mountain in the south. You can see all of San Francisco except for the southwest corner of the city. From here, you can see many San Francisco landmarks including the Transamerica Pyramid, the Bank of America Building, Coit Tower, City Hall, the rainbow flag at Castro and Market, St. Mary's Cathedral, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, St. Ignatius Church, Potrero Hill, Bernal Heights, AT&T and Candlestick Parks, and many more. There's no public transportation to Twin Peaks so you'll need to drive, take a taxi, or join one of the many tours (including Blue Heron's) that visit the summit. If you're planning to visit in the summer, make sure the fog is not obstructing the view. Downtown can be sunny while Twin Peaks are shrouded in fog. Look down Market Street to check to see if you can see the radio towers on Twin Peaks. If you the towers are hidden by fog, there won't be a view.
Market Street and downtown San Francisco from Twin Peaks