An Afternoon in San Francisco

It’s a rainy and cold week in February, when we have friends visiting from out of state.  We manage to pick one rainless afternoon to go to San Francisco––sunny, windy, and quite chilly.  The best day of the week to see a few sights. We like to take CalTrain up to the City if we’ll be downtown.

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This time we drove and mapped out an easy drive to see sights in and around Golden Gate Park.



We started with the tiled steps at 16th and Moraga.  We hadn’t ever seen or climbed these steps.

The view of the city was clear and beautiful on the windy day we are there.IMG_4472



Parking is easy in the residential area, but beware.  Signs warn of “smash and grab” crimes that look for any easy pickings in cars.  We knew enough to have absolutely nothing in the car that could invite a crime.  Not even a jacket or phone charger.


She’s weeding in her garden on the steep hillside next to the steps. Even her garden has a warning sign, and she warned us herself too.

The view from park area at the top is supposed to be the best in the city.  We didn’t go on up, which would have meant even more steps––mainly because the wind was just too cold.

You can see more stairs to the top, at the far right.

If you really want to see the view, you can park on 15th at the top of the stairs, but then you would have to walk or drive down to see the tile design.

The detail on the stairs is worth the climb.

After leaving the tiled stairs, we lucked into a parking space on Lincoln Way without driving into the park, which was even more crowded than the city streets.  We enjoyed a walk around the Botanical Gardens––magnolia trees were in bloom and the Gardens provided a detailed map with the magnolias’ locations noted.

This beautiful magnolia was just outside the garden entrance.

An easy drive down Lincoln to the other ocean end of Golden Gate Park let us park in the lot at Beach Chalet, the best place for easy parking across The Great Highway from the ocean.  IMG_5214The entrance hall is a mini museum featuring murals from the Depression Era and definitely worth a visit.  I’ve written about it before.  The restaurant upstairs offers good food and great views.  This is another smash-and-grab crime area.  Last November, we stopped for lunch on our way north, and that time had suitcases with us.  The Visitor Center attendant in the mural lobby insisted that we put our suitcases behind his desk for safe-keeping while we ate.  He wouldn’t accept a tip for watching them, either! IMG_5208Before lunch, we walked to the nearby windmill and tulip garden––a week or so too early for lots of tulips, but we did see a few blooms.  We spent time at the west end of Golden Gate Park––there’s something for everyone.

Windy weather had closed Great Highway due to sand drifts, but we made our way home safe enough; rain started up again on the drive home.

Date of travel:  February, 2019.

If you go:  pay attention to warning signs.

2 thoughts on “An Afternoon in San Francisco

  1. I loved this useful and interesting post. I grew up close to this staircase and never knew about it. I’ll have to make a trip to see it. Thanks!


    1. Liz tells me there is another staircase nearby this one, and I think I’ve seen mention of a book that details all the SF steps. I’ll have to look for that.  Great exercise! 


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