Become an “Eco Tourist” in San Francisco….
Named one of the top 10 “green cities” in the U.S. by The Green Guide, and the second greenest U.S. city according to Popular Science, San Francisco was cited as a city that puts transit first; and dedicates more than 17 percent of its 47 square miles to parks and open space.
One of the nicest things about visiting San Francisco is that, although the city is “big” in terms of attractions and amenities, it is geographically small – only 47 square miles. Therefore, San much of San Francisco may be seen on foot or by public transportation. However, what you see and do all depends on the amount of time you have. For more information about public transportation options, please read our article Get Around the Green & Easy Way.
See the “greener” side of San Francisco with these suggested one; two; and three-day itineraries which get “greener” day by day. And, to be “truly” green, be sure to carry a reusable water bottle; a reusable shopping tote to carry all the items you will collect along the way; and if taking a taxi, choose a hybrid – San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom pledges to convert 100 percent of San Francisco’s taxi fleet to hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles by 2011.
Walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
For more information about the bridge call 415-921-5858 or visit www.goldengatetransit.org
Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge spans 1.7 miles across the Golden Gate Strait beginning in San Francisco and ending in Marin County. In the evening and on weekends, the east side of the bridge is primarily walkers (cyclists are allowed before 3:30 p.m.) while the west side is reserved for cyclists on weekends and weekday evenings after 3:30 p.m. Be sure to bring a warm jacket and camera to capture the views of Angel Island, Fort Baker, Belvedere, and the Marin Headlands.
Aquarium of the Bay
PIER 39, The Embarcadero & Beach St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Open every day of the year except Dec. 25.
Winter Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Summer Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Note: Hours vary seasonally, and the Aquarium occasionally closes early for private events, so please call ahead to check hours on the day of your visit.
For more information, visit www.aquariumofthebay.org or call 1-888-SEADIVE for 1-415-623-5300.
With a mission to create experiences that inspire conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed, Aquarium of the Bay brings visitors face-to-face with local marine animals that depend on a healthy Bay for their habitat: sharks, bat rays, skates, octopuses, jellies and more. Aquarium visitors have the opportunity to walk through crystal clear tunnels surrounded by these amazing animals. There are many opportunities for live animal interaction, allowing visitors to experience the human/animal bond through direct touch. The aquarium’s PG&E Bay Lab features local and exotic animals as ambassadors for turning the tide on climate change.
Experience the Ferry Building Marketplace
1 Ferry Plaza – the Embarcadero
Farmers Markets: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10 a.m.-2 p.m; Saturdays: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information call 415-591-0950 or visit www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com
Remodeled and repurposed in 2003, the San Francisco Ferry Building hosts up to 80 farmers who are certified producers who grow the products they sell at the markets. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) offers programs; for schedules and topics, visit www.cuesa.org. In addition to the farmers market educational programs, CUESA hosts out-of-market educational forays. For $25 participants may tour a local farm for a day and have a meal with the farm family.
Explore Golden Gate Park
For Golden Gate Park information call 415-831-2700 or visit www.sfgov.org/site/recpark_page.asp
For San Francisco Botanical Garden Arboretum information, visit www.sfbotanicalgarden.org
For Conservatory of Flowers information, visit www.conservatoryofflowers.org
One of the largest urban parks in the world, Golden Gate Park stretches for three miles on the western edge of San Francisco. There’s not a single “Keep Off the Grass” sign and its 1,017 acres are a tonic for mind and body. Two major museums, splendid gardens and facilities for more than 20 sports confirm that this is a playground in every sense of the word.
Among the ever-evolving attractions located mainly in the eastern half of the park are the new California Academy of Sciences; the de Young Museum; the Conservatory of Flowers (the oldest surviving wood and glass greenhouse in the U.S.); the San Francisco Botanical Gardens (which covers 55 acres and features more than 7,000 species of plants); the Japanese Tea Garden; the National AIDS Memorial; Shakespeare Garden and Rose Garden; and the Koret Children’s Quarter (America’s first public playground, and famous for its circa 1912 Herschell-Spillman carrousel).
Ride a Cable Car
San Francisco’s cable cars were named a National Historic Landmark in 1964 by the U.S. Interior Department’s National Park Service. The historic cars run on tracks and are moved by an underground cable on three routes. There are currently 40 cars in service: 28 “single-enders” serve the Powell Street routes and 12 “double-enders” serve the California Street route. The cables pull up to 26 cars at a time on weekdays. The cars have a capacity of carrying more than 60 people, and more than 7.5 million passengers ride these cars each year. Tickets may be purchased at the cable car turnarounds at the ends of each route ($5 each way).
Challenge San Francisco’s many hills by foot
San Francisco’s natural inclinations offer some challenging ascents for even the most physically fit. As one anonymous person quipped, "When you get tired of walking around in San Francisco, you can always lean against it." Among the steepest streets: Filbert between Leavenworth and Hyde (31.5 percent grade); 22nd Street between Church and Vicksburg (31.5 percent grade); Jones between Union and Filbert (29 percent grade); Duboce Avenue between Alpine and Buena Vista (27.9 percent grade).
For those who prefer to step vs. climb, explore one or more of San Francisco’s more than 300 stairways scattered throughout the city which range from the local flights of steps hidden by trees and small gardens, to the dramatic, carefully landscaped stairs found in more widely traveled places such as the famous "crooked" Lombard Street or Telegraph Hill.
Bicycle through San Francisco
Rent a bike for the day, and visit the Presidio. Once home to the U.S. military, this is a very open space, as opposed to most of compact San Francisco. Scattered with former barracks and brick administration buildings, the Presidio features winding roads and navigable trails. These paths offer breathtaking views, intoxicating scents, and the occasional challenging hill. From there you can head out of the city across the Golden Gate Bridge and take on the Marin Headlands and Tennessee Valley for a daylong biking excursion across the bay.