Boudin's Sourdough: The Real San Francisco Treat
It's been around a lot longer than that rice product. In fact, since 1849, making Boudin Bakery and its sourdough bread the original "San Francisco Treat."
According to their website, wild yeasts in the San Francisco air give a unique, sour tang to traditional French bread, thus the name sourdough. The Boudin family's initial recipe is still used, with a portion of the original mother dough still starting every loaf.
Lombard Street: Not the Crookedest But the Most Famous
In reality, it's neither the crookedest nor the steepest street in San Francisco, but that doesn't keep it from being the most famous.
Coit Tower: To Beautify the City She Loved
The white pillar on Telegraph Hill was constructed with funds left to the city of San Francisco by an early twentieth-century local character named Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She left money to beautify the city and the tower is what they built. Contrary to what misinformed tour guides may try to tell people, it is not shaped like the nozzle of a fire hose. It does contain some colorful WPA-era murals and it has nice bay views from the observation deck.
San Francisco Bay Bridge and Bay Lights
San Francisco's "other" bridge was built about the same time as the Golden Gate. It forms the framework for a lighted work of art called the Bay Lights, which illuminate its cables every evening at dusk.
Pier 39 was one of the first of its kind: a shopping/dining/amusement center created from a derelict old pier. One of its biggest draws are the California sea lions who took over the nearby marina and refused to leave, eventually forcing the boats out so they could have the docks all to themselves.
Chinatown, the Largest Outside of Asia
San Francisco's Chinatown is starting to change, but gradually. It's still full of colorful lanterns and interesting back alleys to explore.
Alcatraz: Former Fort and Prison
Alcatraz may be the only prison in the world that people want to get into instead of break out of. That may be because it's been closed for decades. Now a national park, it's a must-see stop for many visitors.S
Painted Ladies of Alamo Square
The row of charming, nearly identical Victorian-style houses at the foot of Alamo Square park are some of the most-photographed buildings in all of San Francisco. Not only are they cute by themselves, but the modern city behind them, stretching to a view of the Bay Bridge completes the scene.
Transamerica Pyramid: The City's Tallest Building
The Transamerica Building stands 853 ft (260 m) tall with 48 floors is California's third-tallest building and the tallest in San Francisco. It may not hold its title much longer, though.
The 1,070-foot Salesforce Tower is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Shaped like a blunt-nose missile, it will loom over the Transbay Transit Center, the city's new transit hub. But it's a race between the Salesforce Tower and the 1,100-foot-tall Wilshire Grand project in Los Angeles for tallest in the state - and west of the Mississippi.
Meanwhile, we all wish that tall tower had an observation deck, but it doesn't.
Cable Cars: Historic Landmarks on the Move
San Francisco's iconic cable cars are the only rolling historic landmarks I know of. The three cable car lines travel to many of the city's most famous sights. A ride on one of them is often on visitors' must-do lists for their San Francisco vacation.
The Golden Gate is Actually Orange Vermillion
The name Golden Gate comes from the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge is not gold-colored at all, but instead is painted an iconic color named orange vermillion.