Jane’s Must-See Attractions in San Francisco
- 49 Mile Scenic Drive
- Lombard Street
- Fort Point Historic Site
- Golden Gate Bridge – up close and from a high rise building in the Financial District
- Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Embarcadero
- Telegraph Hill‘s Filbert Steps and Coit Tower
- Cliff House and Seal Rocks
- Dinner at McCormick & Kuleto’s at Ghiradelli Square and dessert at Ghiradelli.
- The Palace of the Legion of Honor and Lincoln Park
- Presidio and The Palace of Fine Arts
- China Town
Golden Gate Park
I’m convinced I saw the very best of San Francisco on my first trip, but that didn’t make me any happier about missing Golden Gate Park. We actually got into the park, but it was the end of the day and both the driver and the navigator were exhausted. So the park was a must-see for this trip.
At the top of my list in the park was the de Young Museum of Fine Art, so that’s what I plugged into the GPS. Last time we’d been to the park we didn’t have our electronic buddy, which explains why we were so disgusted and disgruntled. This time we did have it, but we ran into another problem. The GPS was telling us to turn into the park at one location and there were all kinds of signs telling us we couldn’t. Finally we found a sign directing us to enter for de Young parking. Victory!
The De Young
I confess, I don’t do spontaneous well. By the time I visit a museum, I’ve usually studied the map ad nauseum and know exactly where in the museum I want to go. Having not had the opportunity to do that, we walked into the de Young and followed our nose. Unfortunately, at the beginning, our nose didn’t lead us to much stuff we really wanted to see. Maybe that’s the reason so many people claim they don’t like museums – they’ve been following their noses around!
Different strokes for different folks, but we all know what we like. Bill and I are less fond of modern and tribal art than we are traditional figurative art. Bill told me to just put up the map and enjoy myself, but that wasn’t very good advice. We saw every piece of modern and tribal art in the museum, before we found our good stuff.
Now once we found our good stuff we were plenty happy and we took a long time perusing delightful pieces. Here’s a few samples:
Not everything was paintings. There were some sculptures and decorative arts, but these were the postcards I picked up in the gift shop.
After our tour of the art, we went up in the Hamon Tower. The view was actually quite amazing. The light was not cooperating, so we didn’t get a good shot of the city vista – which would blow your socks off – but this picture gives you an idea of what you see directly below, when you’re up there.
To my list of favorite places to eat in San Francisco I’d like to add the de Young Cafe. Its a nice crisp modern sort of place that sits next to the Sculpture Garden. Outside is patio seating and there were people sitting out there, but it was a little chilly for my Texas blood. While we ate, we were serenaded by a big orchestra playing in the Temple of Music across the street. It doesn’t get much better.
Kudos delivered, I’d like to have a do over. This is one of those cafes where you really should have some sort of idea of what you’re doing before you actually get to the selection part. They have a card menu to order from, they have pre-made snacks and sandwiches available to browsse and then they’ve got a sort of coffee bar, but that has a blackboard menu that you might miss before you get around to ordering. So, if you ever go, check out ALL the options before you make a selection.
One Last Thing
Everybody but me probably already knew this, but if you’re also out of the loop, San Francisco actually has TWO Museums of Fine Art. The Palace of Legion of Honor and the de Young. The Palace is out by Lincoln Park and may be one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen. I know the view from the portico is certainly one of the best. The grounds were covered with brides having their pictures made with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
If I only had time to see one of the museums, I would choose The Palace, for two reasons. One being the spectacular nature of the venue. The other being that the art is more classical. Also, now that I’ve seen them both, I think I’d be quicker to return to the Palace. I wish I’d had time for the special exhibition of Impressionist portraits they had while I was there. However, you should take time to see both at least once and then choose your favorite based on your own taste.
After our meal we headed out to explore the rest of the park. Join me next week to check it out.