Through your Lens:

San Francisco, California

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From the surrounding Bay Area to the city itself, San Francisco offers the perfect combination of city living and natural escapes. You don’t want to miss out on the city’s amazing food scene (hello, Chinatown) or SF’s plethora of unique architecture and historical places. Want to explore more? Head to the surrounding Bay Area for some of the best sunset views of the Bridge. It is the Golden City, after all.

Coit Tower

Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a woman as wealthy as she was eccentric, left a bequest of $118,000 upon her death for “the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved.” Her dying wish came true in 1933 with the opening of the Coit Tower, an Art Deco style, 210-foot (64-meter) tower, which would become an iconic part of the San Francisco skyline. Views from the tower provide visitors with 360-degree views of the city and the bay, including the Golden Gate and Bay bridges.

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133

From its iconic gate at Grant and Bush streets, Chinatown comprises about 30 city blocks. The neighborhood is full of restaurants, bars, and specialty stores where tourists and locals can find unique fabrics, ceramics, and Chinese herbs. Unsurprisingly, it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco, attracting the vast majority of San Francisco’s two to three million annual visitors.

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Stockton St Tunnel, San Francisco, CA 94108

Palace of Fine Arts

In 1915, San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which was one of the largest world’s fairs ever held at 1 sq. mile in size, to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and, informally, to show the world the city’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake. Sadly, many of the structures constructed for the Exposition were torn down, but the beloved Palace of Fine Arts remained.

3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

In the mid-1800’s, 300,000 people flocked to California for the Gold Rush. However, most surface gold was mined out in just 5 years! Many miners were out of work when the Rush slowed. In 1854, the Mechanics’ Institute opened — one of the oldest institutions on all of the West Coast.

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57 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94104

Phelan Building

The Phelan Building might strike a resemblance to New York’s Flatiron Building, but the original structure actually predates the building of the Flatiron by 21 years. However, unlike the Flatiron, the current Phelan Building is actually the building’s second structure. Despite being advertised as “thoroughly fire and earthquake proof,” the original Phelan Building was razed by the 1906 earthquake and its subsequent fire. The second Phelan Building rose from the ashes though (literally!) and was one of the first office buildings to be rebuilt after the fire.

760 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

What do Marilyn Monroe, Beaux-Arts architecture, a building dubbed “The People’s Palace,” and Raiders of the Lost Ark all have in common? They each have a connection to San Francisco’s City Hall!

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1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

b. Patisserie

This San Francisco-located but European-inspired patisserie may be called b. Patisserie, but don’t let that fool you: its quality deserves an A+. Apparently, the spot is so popular, it can be difficult to find parking… but what is more difficult must be deciding what to order! Do you go with their signature Kouign-amann, one of their elegant verrine, a classic croissant… or all of the above?! 

2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Throughout its history, the conservatory has endured two fires, an earthquake, and the Bay Area’s worst windstorm. Luckily, all restoration efforts were successful. Today, the conservatory is made up of 16,800 window panes and is home to roughly 1,700 plant varieties. However, don’t let its beautiful, Victorian exterior fool you: inside, the conservatory houses numerous exotic plants, including some carnivorous plants! Watch your fingers!

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100 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Point Reyes Lighthouse and Cypress Tree Tunnel

In the 1930s, Monterey cypress trees were planted along either side of a path, which now creates the .3 mile long “tree tunnel” at the Point Reyes Receiving Station. When it was planted in the 1930s, the planters likely didn’t plan for this spot to become an Instagram spot… but they might be less surprised to learn that it would eventually become a signature feature of the landscape. At the end of the cypress trees, you might not necessarily find the “light at the end of the tunnel…” but you’ll find the historic radio station, built in 1931.

17400 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA 94937

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

If you are driving on California’s coastal Highway 1 up to (or from!) San Francisco, you can’t miss Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The 115-foot lighthouse is the tallest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Originally called Whale Point, the lighthouse was renamed Pigeon Point in 1853 to honor the clipper ship Carrier Pigeon, whose maiden voyage ended with an unfortunate shipwreck in the area. After only three more major shipwrecks in the three year period between 1853 and 1868, the lighthouse was built with a light and fog signal, helping seafarers navigate the rough and temporally unpredictable area. It’s unclear if pigeons actually take residence near the lighthouse, but Pigeon Point is a wonderful place to spot whales and seals and tide pool creatures — oh my! 

Pigeon Point Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060

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