What Street has given both history and Modernity in San Francisco than Market Street? Market Street is the back bone of San Francisco. To walk the length of the street is to travel throughout time and experience the history of San Francisco. It begins at The Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building at the northeastern edge of the city and runs southwest through downtown, passing the Civic Center and the Castro District, to the intersection with Corbett Avenue in the Twin Peaks neighborhood. At this point, the roadway continues as Portola Drive until it terminates in the southwestern quadrant of San Francisco.
From Market Street you can catch a cable car, or you can get to the Piers to catch a Ferry. You can walk Market Street and find beautiful art or avant-garde art galleries. You can find theaters and great night life, as well as amazing shopping. It is Market Street where you can find the Yuppies heading off to work, the tourists taking in the city and the homeless pushing their carts all on one street, you can go to my favorite area in SOMA (South of Market). Market Street is San Francisco.
Market Street is the main commercial street of San Francisco. It was laid out in the early 1800s at a diagonal to the street grid by engineer Jasper O’Farrell. Being at an angle to its adjacent streets assured its prominence. However, its alignment became a source of grief in the automotive era. This major street stretches from the Bay to Twin Peaks cutting through downtown and several diverse portions of the City.
Market Street’s prominence is reinforced by being the home of four of San Francisco’s eight BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Stations. Located beneath the Market Street are also seven MUNI Metro Light Rail Stations, four of which coincide with the BART Stations. Along Market Street’s surface rolls the historic streetcars of the F-Line. Muni trolley buses also cruise Market Street with a high frequency.
Market Street begins at the Bay directly across the Embarcadero from the historic Ferry Building. The tower of the Ferry Building can be seen at the end of Market Street when one looks towards the bay. From the Embarcadero, home of BART’s Embarcadero Station, Market Street cuts through downtown running past the Financial District at Montgomery Station. It then runs to the major downtown shopping mecca at Powel Street Station near Union Square. Then it sneaks past a seedy area at 6th Street before reaching Civic Center Station at United Stations Plaza, just a couple of blocks from City Hall.
After Civic Center, BART breaks away to Mission Street, but Market Street continues to the MUNI Metro Station at Van Ness Avenue, which due to the forty five degree angle of Market Street, is also short distance from City Hall. The next MUNI Station is at Church Street. The final Muni Station on Market Street is the Castro Station located at the intersection of Market and Castro Streets at the heart of the Castro District. After Castro Street, Market Street climbs up a grade toward Twin Peaks where it smoothly transitions into Portola Boulevard as it moves into residential districts.
Most visitors to San Francisco will likely explore Market Street from Powel Street to the Embarcadero. An abundance of shopping is available in this area. A ride along Market Street on the historic F-Line streetcars is not only fun, but is also a viable transportation option to help transverse Market Street and even to reach Fisherman’s Wharf.
For motorists Market Street is a nightmare. It cuts across the downtown street grid at a 45 degree angle and many streets will not even cross this main street. From Market Street left turns are rarely allowed so plan your route carefully if you need to drive on it. There is virtually no parking in the downtown segment of the street. Transit diamond lanes switch from left to right without warning and large concrete streetcar boarding platforms constrict the traffic lanes. Market Street is a major bike route, and the interfaces between bikes and cars are constrained and are not comfortable.
However, Market Street is pedestrian friendly with wide brick sidewalks. An abundance of transit options cover this crowded street. If Market Street is your destination, it is best not to use your car to get there.
For many Market Street is considered to be the heart of San Francisco. It stretches across several neighborhoods. Business and commerce surround this street. It is the starting point for downtown shopping. It is home to the Orpheum, Golden Gate, and Warfield Theaters. Most visitors to the City will come to Market Street at some point during their stay.
This newbie and freebie is a delightful little museum in the shadow of the Ferry Building. It opened on Sep. 2, 2006.
It's a small, one-room affair, but it contains some really cool stuff! Among the old, battered street signs and placards, you'll find the railway agent's logbook filled out on the day of the 1906 earthquake (he described the weather as "smoky"), and a rail transfer from that morning. There's also an interactive video screen which has some great old movies and pictures of Market Street pre- and post- earthquake.
There are also plans to put a car facade inside the museum, but that probably won't happen until December, 2006.
The gift selection is quite good, with some excellent clothing featuring the old streetcar signs, and lots of great postcards and books.
And when you're ready to take the F-line streetcar, it stops right outside the door!
The museum hours are...
Wed. thru Sat. - 10 AM to 6 PM