A stay at HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf means you’ve got everything at your fingertips. Being in the historic Fort Mason, a former military post, means that travelers have access to a wealth of museums and eateries, as well as stunning views of the San Francisco Bay on one side, and the sprawl of the city on the other. Plus, there’s always something exciting happening within the park.
There is, of course, much to be seen just beyond the haven of the park – much of it within walking distance. And as any seasoned traveler knows, it’s usually when using your own two feet that you make the most magnificent of discoveries. With that in mind, here are a few gems you can walk to, ranging from the must-sees to the off the beaten path spots. So lace up those shoes and get exploring!
Along with the Golden Gate Bridge (which you can check out during our Bike the Bay tour) and the cable cars, the famously zig-zaggy Lombard Street is one of San Francisco’s favorite sights to see. The bottom of the windy lane is a 15-minute walk from HI SF Fisherman’s Wharf hostel, and during the busier seasons, you’ll get to see the rush hour of cars making their way done the street. This section of the street was designed to be crooked to make the hill a little less steep for cars and pedestrians, and today, it’s just another reminder of the quirks that make this city so beloved.
The walk: From the hostel, head towards Bay Street and turn right, then right again on Van Ness. Turn left on Chestnut Street then right on Hyde Street, where you’ll meet the bottom of Lombard’s red-bricked road.
Off the Grid Food Trucks
You’re kind of spoiled for choice in this neck of the woods when it comes to filling your belly and sampling some of San Francisco’s tasty fares. You can take a stab at it all in one go during the summer when 30-odd Off the Grid food trucks take over Fort Mason on Friday evenings and you can find everything from Chinese dumplings and burgers to bacon-centric eats and vegetarian treats. And it’s all practically right in the hostel’s backyard, so if you eat a little too much it’s not a far walk home. On days that aren’t Fridays, there’s always HI SF Fisherman’s Wharf’s own Café Franco, where you can grab a delicious quiche and watch the world go by.
The walk: From the hostel, it’s a short stroll across the green to food truck heaven.
The Tipsy Pig
Just because you’re travelling on a budget, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on eating at some of the finest eateries in the country – that’s what happy hours are for! The Tipsy Pig, which is just a mile from the hostel, is said to have the greatest mac ‘n’ cheese anywhere and was named one of San Francisco’s Top 100 restaurants. You can have a taste of the good stuff without breaking the bank if you go during happy hour during the week when select nibbles and drinks are at a discounted price. Cheers!
The walk: From the hostel, head west towards the bridge and turn left onto Laguna Street and then right onto Chestnut Street. This street is lined with many restaurants and bars, so you can also bounce from happy hour to happy hour and try a little bit of everything.
The Simply San Francisco
Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire
The beauty of this city is that you can easily come across something truly spectacular in the most unexpected places. If you’re up for a longer walking adventure, head to the Presidio and take the winding road to Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire, a majestic 100-feet structure made of Monterey cypress trunks. The trees were felled from the area, and the British artist, who has two more installations within the park, fastened them together to create the tall peak that mimics other San Francisco landmarks, like the Transamerica Pyramid and the city’s many church spires. The structure will eventually decay and return to the earth. You can see all of Goldsworthy’s Presidio installations on a 3-mile loop along the Bay Area Ridge Trail, or just go to marvel at the Spire.
The walk: From the hostel, take Marina Boulevard to the Presidio and head towards the golf course. The sculpture is at the end of Arguello Boulevard, and the walk there is a little under three miles.
HI USA tip: Looking for someone to guide you along the city streets? Join this walking tour that takes on the hills of San Francisco.
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