Senior Travel to San Francisco

Feb 2nd, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Tony Bennett says it well when he sings:

I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care…

No other city can match SF as one that sits “high on a hill” and where “little cable cars” climb up California Street with the bells ringing loudly. Care to explore SF on foot?  This site will provide directions, information on where to say, what to do, where to eat, where to shop, transportation and services.  SF for beginners gives seniors an overview and a basic list of the “must see” attractions and areas of SF, separated into weekend-length groups. Go here for more information on any of these attractions and activities. 

The “musts” include riding a cable car on the California/Van Ness line. This is the most enjoyable ride because the admission lines aren’t nearly as long as they are at Powell Street and there are a bunch of cool things to do along California Street. You want to be in the front of the cable car and for Maximum Fun you want to be hanging onto a pole while standing on the running board. San Francisco cable cars run along three different routes roughly every ten minutes.

You may want to check out Alcatraz, dine in China Town and visit Union Square. The Golden Gate Bridge is acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful bridges and with its tremendous towers, sweeping main cables and great span, it is a sensory beauty featuring color, sound, and light. The Bridge can be a very busy place, particularly during the summer months. It is estimated that about nine million people from around the world visit the Bridge each year so don’t miss taking it in.

Also take in Tadich Grill at 240 California Street. My wife and I count this little dining experience as one of our most cherished memories of SF and a great place to eat. The Tadich Grill is one of San Francisco’s best bistros but beware–it can get extremely busy and the service often suffers as a result, so be prepared to stand behind one of the bar stools until the patron in front of you leaves, then sit and enjoy Tadich Grill. 

SF is at once a modern day city and a town that is steeped in Old World charm.  Since the days of the Gold Rush people have flocked to SF in search of opportunity and success. During the 1960′s the city was bursting with flower children that were in search of peace, love and happiness. Lombard Street is SF — and America’s crookedest street. What does this mean? The steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions. The street is paved with bricks and is an amazing site to see. If not for the byzantine curves, easing out this treacherous slope, people would be killed rolling down. For an idea of how steep this street really is, go two blocks up and peer down over the ridge. It is built with eight switchbacks on a 40-degree slope. The main attraction of Lombard Street is watching people drive down the crooked, one-block section, or driving down it yourself.  No place for a skateboard or roller-blades.

Do you enjoy tours like me?  This site provides the major sightseeing tours including Napa and Sonoma wine country. The Giant Redwoods are another must see before you die visit.  Some would say that you have not been to SF if you have not visited Fisherman’s Wharf.  This map has all the major sites to see plus hotels, cruises, museums and more.  You may want to print off this map of the major streets, cable car routes, MUNI Metro, BART station, Beaches, Parks, Points of Interest, Bus Routes and more. And I could not do justice to tours if I did not mention Gray Line Tours of SF.  San Francisco Sightseeing with Gray Line offers the premier sightseeing and motor coach tours of San Francisco, the Bay Area and beyond since 1910.  

City dwellers know the city best and this site called an Insider Guide invites seniors to find out what the people who call this city their home love to do and see in SF. Search for Bay Area events, explore the different SF neighborhoods, discover new places to visit and even hear from local celebrities. 

I must also put in a plug for the Presidio as I have several friends who work for the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey. It is the DoD’s primary foreign language school. Military service members study foreign languages at highly accelerated paces and my friends are their instructors. The Presidio is also a national park within the boundaries of the city and well worth a visit.

One could go on and on about SF however I will leave you with Trip Advisor’s site on Things to Do in SF.  It is quite loaded and can be very helpful for seniors on their first trip to this exciting city. jeb



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