Be a tourist for a day in San Francisco
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San Francisco native and BARTable intern Sylvia Sarabia shares her favorite spots to visit when she plays tourist around the city. Ride BART to Embarcadero, and then transfer to Muni and to check out the city. The best part? Most of these places are free, you just need to bring a Clipper card and a few quarters for the arcade.
Cable Car Museum
Start your day by checking out the San Francisco Cable Car Museum located at the corner of Mason and Washington streets. Ride BART to Embarcadero Station and take Muni Metro 1 to Sacramento Street and Sproule Lane and walk 5 minutes. In 1964, cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark. Take a look at the huge engines and spinning wheels that pull the cables and make the cars work. Check out the vintage cars, photographs and other various antiques from back in the day. This place is definitely a good site to check out if you have never been. Did I mention admission is free?
You are now at the most touristy area in San Francisco, otherwise known as Fisherman’s Wharf. You want to make it past the SF merch shops and find the hidden gem of arcades in the city. Located on Pier 45 resides one of the world’s largest family-owned collection of antique coin operated arcade machines. They are all in their original condition, too. Musee Mecanique is a cool museum and working arcade where you can step into the past and explore a world of games you don’t see around anymore. With just a few quarters for each machine, you can get your fortune read, have an intense arm wrestle or play some old school skee ball. You can have tons of fun here with spending just a few dollars. In addition, admission to this museum is also free.
Next up on the list is Pier 39. Pier 39 is filled with tourists, food, fun and those infamous San Francisco sea lions. Grab some fresh clam chowder or shop around at the fun stores in the area. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can catch a ride on the merry-go-round, get lost in the mirror maze or take a jump on the trampoline. There are a lot of fun activities to do here. Be sure to have a good laugh and check out the daily public shows. Enjoy the free entertainment by magicians, jugglers and comedians at the main stage at the end of the pier. Before you leave, be sure to go check out the city’s famous sea lions sun tanning out at the dock. Watching them is a show in itself.
Finish up your day as a tourist by seeing one of the most famous streets in the city and world, Lombard Street. Walk 20 minutes or ride Muni Metro 47 toward the Caltrain Depot, and get off at North Point and Hyde streets and walk 5 minutes. Lombard Street is known to be the world’s second most crookedest street, coming right after San Francisco’s less known Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. Join other tourists just like you in admiring the fascinating street that has eight sharp turns and see the famous houses on the block. Take a look at the house used in the early reality TV show "The Real World" or the house from the movie "Vertigo," and maybe even the haunted Montandon House if you’re not afraid.