ROMANTIC SAN FRANCISCO–WHATEVER THE WEATHER
Being a weatherperson for the city of San Francisco could be a challenging task. In the morning you could be under clear skies, in the afternoon, enshrouded by mystical fog, and by evening huddled beneath an umbrella. Yet, in spite of the variances, it certainly doesn’t dampen the spirit. In fact this "The cool, grey city of love," as quoted by poet, George Sterling, is truly romantic, no matter what the forecast is.
The Hyatt Regency that hugs up to other high rises in the Embarcadero district is host to more than eight hundred elegant guest rooms, one of which becomes our sanctuary for two nights. Although we could easily hibernate in this haven that overlooks San Francisco Bay when there's precipitation the first morning, ‘The City’ is waiting to be explored.
The hotel is across from the California line, where we hop onto one of the famous cable cars and head up Nob Hill. For tantalizing seafood we can head down Hyde to Fisherman’s Wharf, or hop off beforehand for dim sum in Chinatown or Italian coffee in the neighboring area of North Beach.
And for great shopping, we can transfer at Powell Street and end up at the treasure trove of Union Square. Tiffany's, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Saks hover above hundreds of boutiques that cram into the few square blocks. If we can’t find what we’re looking for here, chances are, it’s not to be found.
The City Pass booklet offers a great bang for our tourist buck. As well as savings on transit, it includes scads of cultural attractions. We could check out art from around the world at the de Young gallery, or gaze at a Monet and Rodin at the Legion of Honor. Exploratorium allures with its hands-on displays, and the Academy of Sciences provide close up encounters with piranhas and pythons.
With so many options and too little time, we decide on the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). Originals by Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and Andy Warhol are featured as part of the eclectic mix in this five storey cultural venue has been a landmark since 1995.
The weather does an about face the following day. We wake up to sunny skies and with our City Pass clutched in hand, head to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. Here, the aquarium provides us with a view of life that thrives beneath the deep, a boardwalk leads us to sea lions that lounge above, and in between are enough gift stores and emporiums to satisfy any tourist. Mimes, magicians, musicians and other entertainers are all part of the entertainment. (pic#6 here)And a short trek away is Ghiradelli Square —a real satisfier for serious chocoholics, like myself.
To wind up our stay, we check out Alcatraz, the infamous island prison where mobsters like Al ‘Scar Face’ Capone and ‘Machine Gun Kelly’ did time. Though the skies had been crystal clear when we launched off on this nautical tour, by the time we lap the harbor, the weather has once again shifted. The hillside is now cloaked in that famous fog. It looms like a mystical veil over Telegraph Hill, cascades over Twin Peaks and weaves throughout the high-rises that hover above this ‘cool grey city of love.’
IF YOU GO:
Where to stay:
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
What to do:
City Pass: http://www.gosanfranciscocard.com/
Photos by Jane & Brent Cassie
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