WIDE
OPEN

RIDE:

Streets of San Francisco

California

The City by the Bay is one of those rare metropolitan areas where I like driving. And with 2,659 official streets, there’s a lot of pavement to cover! Pricey San Francisco lodging is one reason I drive: I frequently end up staying outside the city limits. And so I’ve learned how to navigate the town pretty well. Driving offers a unique perspective on the city’s many attractions and as long as you avoid rush hour, you can see a lot in a short amount of time. Because San Francisco sits on a peninsula, bridges are essential and they also happen to be signature features. This ride starts on the Bay Bridge and ends on the Golden Gate. In between, there are drive bys of the Transamerica Pyramid, Painted Ladies and Castro Theater. Passing under the gate, you enter North America’s oldest Chinatown as well as the largest outside of Asia. The Mission District is the city’s oldest neighborhood and is also known for its colorful and politically motivated murals. Instead of riding the cable cars, we follow them. And a driving tour of San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without a rollercoaster-style ride down Lombard, the “Crookest Street in the World.” If you don’t want to drive, have a Lyft or Uber take you around!

Route & Map       

Here’s essentially the route I drove for this ride. It’s about 20 miles and takes a couple of hours without stops.

Best Time to Visit

One of San Francisco’s finest features is the year-round mild weather. It gets rainy and foggy but there are never snowy streets.

Keep in Mind

Like everything else in San Francisco, parking is expensive. And both bridges are toll but only heading into the city. There’s no charge on the Bay Bridge going east to Oakland or the Golden Gate heading north to Sausalito.

Links

The San Francisco Travel Association and Chinatown San Francisco have helpful planning websites.

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