San Francisco waterfront by bicycle (or, foot, trolley) from AT&T Park to Golden Gate Bridge

View from The Ramp's outdoor deck, where huge cargo ships are usually moored just offshore for work by the next door shipyard. The Ramp's breakfasts, lunches, views and Bloody Marys cannot be topped on a sunny day!

USS Pampanito, World War II fleet submarine, on display at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Cyclist peddles past the Ferry Building, on well-marked bright green bike lane separating her from traffic on the Embarcadeo.
Cable car at the foot of Hyde Street, just a block up the hill from the Hyde Street Pier!
The Balclutha, historic 1886 three-masted square-rigged schooner, at Hyde Street Pier.
Cyclists peddle past public art at Chrissey Field.
Golden Gate Bridge is stunning from any angle, this shot taken near Fort Point.

Today’s post is primarily a short sharing of the bikability of San Franciso’s stunning waterfront!  Over the past few weeks, I have been working on a two-part series on the tallships, warships and historic watercraft of the Bay Area.  In the process of working on those articles, my wife and I were reminded how bike-friendly (and, crowd-dodging with bikes) is the City of San Francisco.

On our last visit to the City, we took our two bikes and parked about a mile south of AT&T Park, where street parking can be had, for free, for two hours.  Our car-drop spot was also a half-block from our favorite SF waterfront restaurant, The Ramp (known mostly by locals, you won’t find it by accident)!

From The Ramp, we peddled north along the Bay waterfront, past several commercial boat yards, and up to AT&T Park.  Here, we joined the Embarcadero, and peddled along well-marked bike paths beside traffic.  We took a stop at the marvelous Ferry Building, locked our bikes to the bayside rail with scores of other bikes, and took an ice-cream break at one of the many eateries and shops in the Ferry building (renovated in 2003, it is a mecca for both locals and tourists seeking food and drink). 

After our respite, we continued north along the bike trail, well-marked in bright green in many places, past Pier 39 (too crowed with tourists in our book), to Fisherman’s Wharf where we toured the World War II ships the USS Pampanito and the SS Jeremiah O’Brien.  From there, it was just two more blocks to the historic Hyde Street Pier and its array of more than eight historic watercraft, highlighted by the 1886 three-masted schooner, Balclutha.

From there, one can continue though Ft. Mason, over to the Marina District, on past Chrissy field and all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge and it’s historic Civil War-era Fort Point.

This route takes you right past the Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building; three of the best places in San Francisco to see big ships up close and personal. 

If you aren’t into biking, you can take much of this waterfront tour by hopping aboard the Embarcadero trolley which connects AT&T Ballpark north to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Complete your waterfront tour with a snack from one of the many nearby eateries, then hop the Embarcadero streetcars back to your starting place!

How to get there: The Ramp Restaurant is 92 miles from Stockton, about 1.75 hours.  Take Interstate 5 south to Tracy, I-205 west to I-580 and continue across the new Bay Bridge (the concrete sections were made in Stockton); once in San Francisco, take the first exit to the right (Essex Street), follow the signs to the Embarcadero, then go right to AT&T Ballpark, then south on 3rd Street.  The Ramp is located at 855 Terry Francois St, San Francisco, CA 94158 • (415) 621-2378.  Street parking for no charge for cyclists, up to two hours.

What’s nearby: Just about all the attractions of SF’s waterfront, from the ballpark, to fireboats, the Bay Bridge, art on the waterfront, the Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and Hyde Street Pier, Ft. Mason, the Marina District, Chrissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge.  For a seven mile bike ride, the scenery cannot be beat!

What to take: Good walking shoes, bicycles if a cyclist, snacks, drinks, sunscreen, a good map or GPS unit, camera and binoculars!

More info: For historic craft at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, go to http://www.nps.gov/safr/ or call 415-447-5000.   For the USS Jeremiah O’Brien, http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/ and the USS Pampanito, http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm/, both docked at Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 45 in San Francisco. For fees to tour the Pamponito or Jeremiah O’Brien, see the web sites.  The Ramp Restaurant is located at 855 Terry Francois St, San Francisco, CA 94158, (415) 621-2378. 

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.  Happy travels in the west

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