Mr Bell’s San Francisco: A Scenic Waterfront Walk


Whenever I visit San Francisco one of my favourite things to do is walk along the waterfront and take in the fresh air and the beautiful views. The walk I’d like to talk about today is from the Ferry Building to Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s just over 5 miles in each direction.

The Ferry Building is one of those iconic San Francisco landmarks and is a great place to start. There are plenty of places to grab a snack from and take in some wonderful views of the Bay Bridge.

Setting off along the waterfront you pass many of the old warehouses, the dock from where the ferry leaves for Alcatraz and the cruise ship terminal. On the other side of the road the modern city buildings rise up along the steep slopes.

As I walk further the industrial warehouses disappear and the tourist area of San Francisco opens up in front of me with Pier 39 and the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. There are dozens of tourist shops, restaurants and bars here most of which in my opinion are not worth stopping at but that’s just my opinion.

Once through the other side of Fisherman’s Wharf things start to quieten down as I head around the edge of Aquatic Park below Ghirardelli Square.

The walk along the waterfront takes me past Hyde Street Pier with its old steamer ships.

Once around the corner there’s quite a steep hill that takes me up to just above Fort Mason where there are some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

After climbing the hill I cross the park and gradually work my way back down until I’m back on flat ground by the marina.

The nicest part of the walk starts here as it opens out into Crissy Field. The area once belonged to the army and remained part of the Presidio of San Francisco until the National Park Service took it over in 1994. Their restoration efforts are what you see today.

Along this stretch there are some incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge which seem to change at every turn.

A little further on there’s a great place to stop if you’re in need of a refreshment. The Warming Hut has hot drinks, cold drinks and snacks available as well as a souvenir shop, and not forgetting some more of those amazing views of the bridge.

I continue along the path and eventually end up at Fort Point, the only brick fort west of the Mississippi. It was built between 1853 and 1861 and was supposed to be the most technologically advanced fortification of its time. However it took so long to build it was obsolete before it was finished.

The fort is free to visit and has some interesting exhibitions but my main reason for being here was to get up close and personal with the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge sits right next to the fort and a climb to the top gives some unique views of the bridge.

Having spent some time here admiring the views I set off on my journey back to the Ferry Building. On the return walk I got some amazing views of Alcatraz and the San Francisco city skyline all stretching out in front of me.

I could also see the Palace of Fine Arts, the only structure left standing from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. You can read more about the Palace of Fine Arts here.

I enjoyed the walk back as much as going as you get to see everything from another perspective. Before I knew it I was back at the Ferry Building from where I headed back to my hotel.

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