San Francisco is a lovely place. The whole city is like a popular theme park. “49-Mile Scenic Drive” is the best way to enjoy all the good places in this city. This driving course is very enjoyable for anyone with a driver’s license. The great thing about San Francisco 49-Mile Scenic Drive is that you can start from anywhere in the city. A visitor finds the seagull signs and begins to follow them. Also, if you run out of time and want to stop following the panoramic sign, you can stop at any time. The official starting point is, however, the front of the San Francisco City Hall. 49-Miles Drive ends by returning to the starting point.
The starting point area of 49-Miles Drive is the cultural center of San Francisco. On the east side of the City Hall, there is an Asian Culture Center, while various Asian Cultural Exhibitions and Theater Art Performances are held. Last year they were showing the traditional Japanese game of Kabuki. In the museum, there is a permanently installed Chinese art exhibition. It also shows the history of Asian Americans. The City Council conducts the wedding ceremony. There are couples who get married at City Hall and take pictures of each other in the front of the park every weekend.
Now let’s follow the “49-Mile Scenic Drive” sign with the illustration of a seagull to drive to Japan Town as the next area of interest. The San Francisco city area is full of one-way roads like others. Geary Street in the center of the city goes west. Turn left onto Geary Street and drive for several minutes, the one that follows 49-Mile Drive will start to see the main buildings of Japan Town, namely the Kinokuniya Building, the Miyako Mall and the Kabuki Theater buildings. You will first see on your right from Geary Street the Japanese-style Pagoda with 5-layer roofs.
The Japanese-Americans who lived here were taken to camps in WWII and most of them did not return. Now there are not so many Japanese-American families living here. This place is for historical monument, Japanese restaurant and souvenir shops. For Japanese and Japanese Americans, this area is still a convenient place to eat sushi and buy Japanese books. There are several historical monuments in this area. 2 Japanese and Chinese characters engraved on the wall of the pagoda square show the hope for love and peace of all Japanese and Japanese-Americans. There are some stores and groups that provide training in Japanese dance, language, origami, drama, or music. From time to time, these groups have a booth in the buildings of Japan City and serve tea and converse with the people who visit the place. They are extremely friendly. It is a great place to hear the Japanese accent in English explaining Japanese traditions and stories.
Let’s leave Japan Town, turning right onto Post Street. 49-Mile Scenic Drive now takes the follower to one of the most famous and popular spots for visitors. That is Union Square. Union Square is a shopping center for visitors and residents. There’s Macy’s on South of Square, Neiman Marcus on the southwest corner, and Bloomingdale’s on Market Street. Also, there are stores like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes or Gucci. Nearby are world-class hotels. They include Westin St. Francis, Grand Hyatt, Clift Hotel, Villa Florence, Marriott, etc.
The history of Union Square is deeply related to the Civil War. The name of this park is “Union Square” because the pro-Union Army campaigns were carried out here, and people noticed that this square was a movement in support of the Union Army. In 1903, the plaza built the Victory Statue in commemoration of Admiral George Dewey’s victory in the Battle of Manila Bay. This Victory Monument “Victoria” was modeled after the image of a local heiress, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels. Union Square is precisely the “heart” of San Francisco. Every weekend, there are some ceremonies and events that include art exhibitions. This plaza is famous for the Macy’s sponsored Christmas tree and holiday decorations. Please visit here again when Christmas comes.
Around the corner from Union Square, the 49-Mile Scenic Drive takes the follower to China Town. China Town in San Francisco is one of the largest in the world in size and population. The Chinese living in China Town, San Francisco, are predominantly Cantonese. Despite Japan Town, China Town smells of life. Visitors can hear the cry of a baby, upstairs, in souvenir shops, or fighting voices, screaming loudly, on the second floor of a restaurant. China Town makes one feel more energy than Japan Town.
In addition to tourists, there are always Chinese who sell and buy meats, vegetables, fruits or everyday products. A visitor can feel the power of the Chinese who spread around the world and build their own cities. Whichever city in the world you visit, you will find Chinese restaurants. There are always Chinese living there.
Leaving China Town, the route takes the follower up the hill and takes him to the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. There was history when some broadcasts were made from the top of this hill. Coit Tower was built as city planning, adding another attractive architect to the city. The mural in the Tower is something that every visitor must see. The mural, which shows in part European life, shows the life of Native Americans. Coit Tower is not on the official 49 mile route. This place, however, is a popular spot that has an aerial view of the city. The problems are the traffic jam on the way to the top and the difficulty in parking.
The route takes the follower to Lombard Street, the most winding street in the world. The slope here was too steep to build a straight path and made a crooked path like this. The road next to Lombard is so steep that it looks like a cliff when one tries to go down. The visitor can make your passenger scream in fear.
Now the route takes Leavenworth Street north. When the follower reaches the top of the hill, he begins to see San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island. Fisherman’s Wharf is near here. This place is always full of tourists. Every time visitors come to this place, they can always find something interesting, fun and new. Visitors cannot visit this place without bringing a camera.
Continue west past Fisherman’s Wharf, the follower will pass Fort Mason and arrive at the Presidio entrance. Fort Mason is the city in the park, while the Beijing Olympic Torch corridor was running, rather than the scheduled and announced highway, due to the protest movement. Presidio Park is historically the Naval Base, like the movie. Presideo Park is a forest with old but elegant houses. The other reason visitors like this area of Fort Mason and Presidio Park is the spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is an entrance for walkers and cyclists to the Golden Gate Bridge in the north center of Presideo Park.
The follower will see Greek or Roman style buildings at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is the Marina district. Visitors will find a hands-on-style science museum here called the “Exploratorium.” Inside the museum, there are science projects that visitors can try for themselves and see what happens, how it happens, and why. This is a great place for children.
The Ruta Drive finally takes the follower to the beach of the Pacific Ocean. On the beach, there are families to play kite, walk the dog, run with young children. The visitor can take a lunch break at “Cliff House”. This “Cliff House” was the guest house of the US President and other famous VIPs. Original Cliff House burned down twice and is now a restaurant and souvenir shop.
Now the unit takes the follower to the southern part of the city. The visitor drives along the “Great America Parkway” ocean side, enjoying the view of the Pacific Ocean on their right. Passing the San Francisco Zoo on your left, drive to Lake Merced. You may be surprised to learn that San Francisco has many places to relax. This lake has the fun of boating, fishing, and rifle shooting. You can just relax your eyes like local people do.
After driving to the south side of Lake Merced, Scenic Drive now turns north at Sunset Boulevard. Sunset Boulevard runs north to south and is one of the main thoroughfares in western San Francisco. In the southern part of the boulevard, you will find the UC San Francisco campus. San Francisco – Bay Area residents are undoubtedly highly education-oriented and surrounded by famous universities such as Stanford, Barkley, UCSF, UCSJ, and UC East Bay.
Now the unit brings the follower back to the northern part of the city. Taking Sunset Boulevard North, the visitor will drive back to the northern part of San Francisco. Sunset Boulevard will cross Lincoln and enter Golden Gate Park. This park can be similar to Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London. The park is full of green trees and beautiful flowers. Golden Gate Park is residents’ favorite recreation and relaxation area. There are museums, Japanese garden, open air theater. People can enjoy events here. On the weekend, a visitor will be able to meet people who jog or people ride bicycles. Driving in the park surrounded by greenery makes the driver feel happy. You can feel better by releasing yourself from the fears, anxieties, or anger of everyday life.
After exiting the east gate of Golden Gate Park, the path heads south again. Going up the hill, the trail follower will reach the residential area at the top of the hill. This is Twin Peaks. One can park the car at the top of the hill and enjoy the view of downtown San Francisco. Driving southeast of the city along Castro Street, driving on Interstate Highway 280, the drive will take you to the business district and finally to the starting point, San Francisco Civic Center.