One of the touristy/pop culture things to do while visiting the wonderful city of San Francisco is go to Pacific Heights and check out the row of Victorian houses (called the Painted Ladies) made famous (to me) by the 90's show, Full House. These houses are right across the street from Alamo Square Park...which is a good landmark to know as many of the cab drivers didn't know what I was talking about when I said "take me to the Full House Houses". ;)
The Pacific Heights neighborhood has some of the most wonderful views and victorian designs in the city! Take your car, pull over to the side, and take some amazing pictures. Since the streets all have that famous San Francisco deep slant, this is not a walking area, unless you have strong calf muscles. You get a true feel in why this city is so unique with this area.
This elegant limestone mansion was built by Sugar Baron, Adolph Spreckels, for his wife Alma in 1913. It's a Pacific Heights landmark, perched high above San Francisco Bay amongst other beautiful period homes (picture #2) on Gough and Octavia Streets.
Fortunately, when Mr. Spreckles had this home constructed, a cable car line had already connected this area with the downtown. Otherwise, it would have been a very precipitous ride downhill (picture #3).
Currently, authoress Danielle Steele lives here. Only the top portion of the home can be viewed from the main street due to landscaping, but from the side street its ornate detail can be seen and appreciated.
I walked from Marina (having previously walked from Embarcadero to the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge!) to Market, so i surely enough had to cross Pacific Heights, views from this posh area are breath taking, in the abstract and not so abstract way! The hills are like mountains and if you are a smoker as i am, you will suffer!
Houses are more like Mansions and they are really beautiful. Would be curious to know how much it would cost to buy an house around there!
If you have time, stop off in the Pacific Heights neighborhood and just walk around a little (in spite of the challenging hills). The houses in this neighborhood are ginormous and beautiful and the views in every direction are worth seeing. It'll only take you 15 or 30 minutes.
Alta Plaza is in the core of the Pacific Heights District. This is a really posh park and the views ffrom here are quite impressive for my tastes.. You can seat on the steps that end at Clay St. and enjoy one of the best views of the Victorian neighbourhoods of SF.
I would not visit it at night, though....visitors at this time tend to be a bit dodgy-looking...
This is where most of the famous people live and some movies were shot. Now City Hike and the library give tours here but I was not able to meet with them.
However on the other tours that I took the driver on impromptu after passing through the neighborhood told us what took place where and who lived where. They did not stop because they said they respected the persons privacy.
Trendy upscale neighborhood with wonderful Victorian and Queen Anne architecture. Union Street has wonderful shops and restaurants. Green streeet has wonderful homes and breathtaking views of the bay. Very pricey but very pretty and definately worth walking around and exploring. Check out my general tip for free walking tours of the area. Also visit my travelogues for more photos of the area.
While in Pacific Heights walk around a corner and get stunned by the unexpected breathtaking vistas of the Bay in front of you; going to a rock (or jazz or whatever) concert at the Great American Music Hall or the Warfield or at Bimbo's, sip an excellent Anchor Steam beer and enjoy the show (I mean both your favorite group and the people attending the show); hiking the trail from Sutro Park to the Palace of the Legion of Honor (just try and let me know); walking in the city enshrouded in the early morning fog and hearing a distant cable car bell; walking across the Golden Gate Bridge on a cloudy, windy day; spending a wild night in South of Market and its PARTICULAR clubs (I could go on and on and on .....)