First stop, Lombard Street!
Lombard Street is supposedly the windiest street in some geographic region, be it city, state, country, world, etc. From the top you can see all the way to Coit Tower there in the distance and across to the other side of the bay. You have to run over a few tourists to be able to actually drive down Lombard Street. They just stand in the middle of the road snapping pictures, neveryoumind the million cars headed your way.
Looking back up the street you just see lots of pretty flowers.
The kids were in roller coaster heaven! Alex always begs us to put the car in neutral so we can fly down the hills (what he imagines would happen if we actually did that), so cruising Lombard Street was right up his alley. We actually went around the block and did it again because it was so much fun.
Next stop: the Palace of Fine Arts. I actually took a History of San Francisco class when I was in college, and it was one of my favoritest classes ever! (How do you like that great grammar?) Ever since then I have wanted to see the Palace of Fine Arts in person. I never imagined it was so HUGE!
Most tourist attractions leave you thinking, "That's it?" But this place was waaaaay bigger than I ever imagined. It's beautiful there!
To give you a sense of scale, that's Alex standing in the middle of the dome area where the red arrow is pointing. So cool! There's actually a science museum right there too, but we decided to save it for another day.
Next stop: Golden Gate Bridge!
Alex declared after the fact that he didn't like it because it wasn't gold and because we had to walk on it. We didn't want to pay another bridge toll, and I though it would give us a better sense of the size to walk out on it instead of driving.
It was fairly foggy most of the time we were there so we only caught glimpses of the top of the bridge.
It took me forever to get this picture set up with me all sprawled out on the ground and in everyone's way, only to have the kids making goofy faces! Argh.
Let me tell you, though, you want to see an interesting cross-section of humanity, go walk the Golden Gate Bridge on a Saturday afternoon. Wow. And I just have to say, there have been so many times that I just want to scream out loud: "This is America, people! We walk on the right side of the street/sidewalk!" And those particular people won't get out of your way for anything. They'll plow you over if you don't step to the left. Grrr. But regardless, the bridge was fun, but I would suggest going on a cold weekday when it's not quite so busy.
After grabbing a quick and expensive lunch at the cafe in the parking lot (note to self, don't be so lazy next time and actually pack a lunch) we drove around the point of the peninsula and down to Ocean Beach.
We only walked out to the water and back since it was chilly and we hadn't planned on making a beach stop. But the beach was nice and empty, and the sand was really nice.
From there we drove down the Great Highway for a short ways to see the sights, then back over and through the city. We passed some of the Russian places we had visited when we lived in Monterey and made a note to come back that way again some time. And then it was back home for naps and recuperation. Big cities take it out of me. But then again, I've already made an enormous list of places I want to see next time we go back. We're kind of thinking about making this a monthly thing. We'll see!