I had read several places that seeing San Francisco by bike was the way to go. So, on my 2nd day there that was what I did. There was a bike rental shop just down the block from my hostel. Got a bike with squeaky brakes and a detailed description of how to reach the Golden Gate Bridge, and off I went.

san francisco

First stop on my route was the iconic Painted Ladies of San Francisco. Even in fog I still think they make for a worthy stop on any tourist’s route. Just loving the old car..!

san francisco

But actually the houses in the streets surrounding Alamo Square are just as much worth a look. I actually thought they were even more impressive than the Painted Ladies. Fantastic examples of the architecture San Francisco is known and loved for.

san francisco

I mean, look at these houses! I spent a good while just walkinga around this area, soaking it all in. Then, as it was still very foggy, I decided to head to the California Academy of Sciences in the Golden Gate Park – being inside for a couple of hours, giving the fog time to lift, seemed like a much better idea than going straight for the bridge.

san francisco

This museum consists of several departments – Natural Science, an Aquarium, a three storey rainforest..

san francisco

san francisco

Loving the artwork..!

san francisco

The albino alligator Claude guards the entrance to the Aquarium..

san francisco

My favourite place by far though, was the rainforest. This is what it looks like from the outside:

san francisco

san francisco

You start at the bottom and then slowly work your way up the spiralled walkway.

san francisco

san francisco.

san francisco

When I emerged from the museum the sky seemed to have cleared, so I confidently turned my bike towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

san francisco

san francisco

My intentions were to bike across and at the very least visit some of the viewpoints on the other side. Unfortunately, when I reached the very beginning of the bridge everything seemed to disappear in the fog, and it didn’t seem to be worth the bikeride across if I couldn’t see anything. Instead I biked along the beach to Crissy Field:

san francisco

I was glad I saved the experience of biking across the Golden Gate Bridge for another time.

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And on to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. What a wonderful and completely unexpected structure to find in San Francisco!

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

san francisco

Very big and very tranquil place. By this point in time it was well into the afternoon, so I decided to sweep past the Italian part of town for some lunch before returning home with the bike.

After a couple of hours of rest  – those San Francisco hills are tough on two wheels! – I felt like going out for a snack. The Castro was 10 minutes away by MUNI, and I wanted to try a hot cookie from, you guessed it, HOT COOKIE the shop.

san francisco

I quickly noticed that there were a lot of rainbows everywhere.. and sex shops.. And a lot more male-male couples than you usually see in the street picture. It had completely escaped my notice that this was the gay part of San Francisco!

san francisco

I don’t consider myself prudish at all, but after the third sex shop and a very suggestive name for a barber shop I did find myself blushing a little.. On the other hand, it seemed like a cool place to go out for a drink. Went past quite a few cool looking wine bars. Anyways, I came for hot cookies:

san francisco

I walked away with a vanilla and a chocolate cookie that were both absolutely delicious. Glad I stopped by and a nice end to a long day.

Any tips for when to cross the Golden Gate Bridge without fog? Have you tried a hot cookie in the Castro? Comment below!

Read more:
A Twisted Route to Coit Tower, San Francisco
Chinatown & Mosaic Lights in San Francisco

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