Feb 09 2010

Visitors to San Francisco

Published by under Cities

Last week in class you talked about San Francisco. One of the topics was to talk about your favorite places. I asked you where you would take someone who came to visit you here.

I thought I’d tell you about two places I have taken visitors. The first one was many many years ago, after I first came to San Francisco. My first job was teaching ESL in Chinatown, while the TransAmerica Pyramid was being built. You probably know that building–it looks like this:

My classroom was opposite the 13th floor of the new building, so we saw the workmen building it. Anyway, my students were very nice about showing me the “non-traditional” parts of Chinatown. One of the places they took me was to a Chinatown fortune cookie factory. Fortune cookies are cookies that have a piece of paper with your “fortune” inside. They look like this:

The fortune cookie factory had a machine that squirted out some dough in a small circle. The cookies cooked as they moved along, and there was a woman who took the still hot cookies from the machine, put in the fortune, and closed and bent them to make the cookie shape. The machine looked like this:

The other place I remember was when my cousin came to visit and she wanted to see Alcatraz. I had already been in San Francisco for over 20 years, but I had never been there, so I decided to go. It was quite expensive and included a boat ride, since it’s on an island. We rented a walking tour so we could play the tapes and follow the directions. I remember that it was a very interesting trip.

What places do you like in San Francisco? Where have you taken or where would you like to take people who come to visit you in this city?

23 responses so far

23 Responses to “Visitors to San Francisco”

  1.   Valeriyaon 09 Feb 2010 at 11:34 am

    It is easier to say where I wouldn’t like to take my guests in San Francisco. I like this city so much that it wouldn’t be possible to show everything I wish in a month. But a year ago we had a guest from the East Coast, who ruined all our plans and all our preparation turned out to be in vain. Our young friend was interested only in places connected to movies, especially to the well-known film Vertigo. We had to take him to Big Basin, but not because that park is beautiful. We had to find a particular tree and take a picture exactly from the focus that the operator of the film did. Next we had to find one ugly garage and take a picture of it because that ugly garage had appeared for a short moment in the film. Of course he visited the Legion of Honor, but I’m afraid not because it is glorious. He certainly visited the Bay. Also not because the beaches of the Golden Gate Bay are beautiful. You can guess why. Because the actress in the film Vertigo had pretended to commit suicide there. My husband and I were disappointed and frustrated, but our guest seemed to be happy.

  2.   Laurion 15 Feb 2010 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for telling your story, Valeriya. Although I know you were disappointed and frustrated, you told your story with such humor that I really enjoyed and appreciated it. You ended up with a happy guest, so you did a good job even if it wasn’t what you had planned. I’m sure he will remember the visit very well for a long time, and you probably will too, but maybe not so fondly!

  3.   Leaon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hey Lauri!

    My sister is coming to visit me in a few weeks.
    So I would like to show her some places in San Francisco.
    First I will take her to Twin Peaks, because there we will have a wonderful view over the City!
    I planned also to show her Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown. I really hope the weather will be nice, so we can go to the beach or Chrissie Field.
    I’m sure we will have a great time!

  4.   Yukoon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:28 am

    I like everywhere in San Francisco!
    San Francisco isn’t too big,but it has everything. Downtown we can enjoy shopping, there are many places where we enjoy our nightlife. When we want to feel nature, we can go to the beach easily. Even if it is a little messy, I like it there, because I can feel people’s real life and the power of the people. Recently I often go to the Mission district to buy groceries or to eat. For me(Japanese), there are many foods that I have never seen, so I like to try them. And they are good!

  5.   Saraon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:28 am

    Hi Lauri,

    I have a friend from L.A who is visiting San Francisco now. So yesterday i showed her down town, Haight street and we had dinner at my favorite food place. We had a really good time, and today we are going to Walnut Creek. We are also going to see the Golden Gate Bridge and all the other typical San Francisco stuff!

  6.   DeborahLon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:36 am

    It all depends on how long my visitors are staying. If they have enough time, I usually take them to all the places like Golden Gate Park, crooked Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown, Coit Tower, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Castro District, and Sea Cliff.

  7.   Gabriellaon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:49 am

    When my mother visited me 5 months ago, I was very proud of her, because she flew the first time all the way from Germany for almost 11.5 hours and without speaking one word of English. I took her to my favorite places such as Crissy Field to show her the famous GGB; when we walked over the bridge she got a great impression of the city’s skyline and she was very impressed indeed. I think it’s a must-do. Later I took her to the harbour side and we went to Fisherman’s Wharf which she didn’t like at all. She was not a fan of the sea lions because of their smelliness. She likes to go for walks so I decided to take the muni home with a stop at Dolores Park. This park is my favorite place in the City because you get a great view over the city with the palms in front. We walked home on Dolores Street, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful streets in SF, because it has all the palms in the median strip in its entire length. But be warned: it has its cliffy ups and downs and if you are not in good shape, you might get exhausted.

  8.   Jackieon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:58 am

    When my friends came to S.F, I brought them to the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Crooked Lombard Street, and Chinatown. I took them to eat different kinds of food and we talked about when we were in high school. It was fun and we mentioned a lot of old things. After my friends had left, I was alone. I didn’t know when they would come to visit me again.

  9.   Laurion 17 Feb 2010 at 8:57 am

    How nice that your sister is coming to visit you! I’m sure you will have a nice time. I always like to take people to Twin Peaks too. You have to go once in the daytime, and once at night, because the views are both beautiful, but different. (If it isn’t foggy, of course!)

  10.   Laurion 17 Feb 2010 at 8:58 am

    One of the things I like about San Francisco is the big mix of people from different countries and cultural backgrounds. I think you could eat at a restaurant serving food from a different country every day for a couple months.

  11.   Laurion 17 Feb 2010 at 9:00 am

    It’s always fun to have a friend visit. What kind of restaurant is your favorite food place? What did you plan to see in Walnut Creek? My parents live there, but I just go there to visit them, not to see anything else.

  12.   Laurion 17 Feb 2010 at 9:00 am

    Your itinerary for visitors sounds a lot like mine. Most people who come to San Francisco as visitors enjoy their stay in our city.

  13.   Laurion 17 Feb 2010 at 9:03 am

    Congratulations to your mother for being so brave. I hate long airplane flights even when I speak the language! I don’t like Fisherman’s Wharf either, but I don’t like it because it is so commercialized. It’s really just for tourists. I don’t enjoy going there, myself. I remember once when I had just come to San Francisco and was looking for a job, I looked at the map and decided it wasn’t too far to walk to Van Ness from Montgomery Street. What a mistake! Even though I was only 23, after I finished walking up and down the hills, I thought my legs would fall off. They hurt for a couple days.

  14.   Laurion 17 Feb 2010 at 9:05 am

    I’m glad you had a nice visit with your high school friends. I only have contact with one friend from high school, but we don’t even write letters very often. You took your friends to the same places I usually take my friends. Those are places people who are visiting San Francisco usually appreciate.

  15.   Mahaon 22 Feb 2010 at 10:40 am

    We have been in San Francisco for only four months. We had 3 people from our family come over and visit us though. We took them to Pier One walking for a while and went to Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf and had a good walk in the street which is full of shops selling souvenirs. We had tasty crab for our lunch there and went to Alcatraz by boat.
    I took them also to do their shopping in Union Square and Market St. and showed them the cable car. We went to Golden Gate Park.
    We drove them to Tiburon, across the Golden Gate Bridge, to show them the bridge. We also went to the beach and looked at the water and took a lot of photos.
    All of them had a wonderfull time through their visit to such a very beautiful city like San Francisco

  16.   Dang, Bettyon 22 Feb 2010 at 10:53 am

    Hi Lauri,

    I have a friend from Canada who told me she and her family would like to visit around this summer time. I would like to take them to see some places in San Francisco………..
    First, I will take them to enjoy Chinese food in Chinatown. After that we can take a walk a bit around Chinatown and they can see how crowded it is, and how people hit each other when they walk. Also, I will take them to see how beautiful it is at the Golden Gate Bridge in the evening time. When you go up to the mountain and you look down to see the view you can feel like you are in the sky. You can see the clouds are flying lower than you.
    Second, I will show them the Bay Bridge. I will tell them there was an earthquare 7.10 in 1989 and this Bridge broke in 2 pieces. Some cars fell down in the water.
    Third: Fisherman’s wharf.
    There used to be a lot of sea lions and some big boats. We can try to eat crabs there.
    I think when they hear my ideas about the place they will be coming soon.

  17.   betty chenon 22 Feb 2010 at 10:58 am

    Dear Lauri,
    I’m glad you had a nice visit with your friend. Maybe someday I will have a friend from Taiwan and I will take them to go to Chinatown to enjoy the cookie factory. I have never been there. Also, I appeciate your telling me. Thank you

  18.   lyubaon 22 Feb 2010 at 11:50 am

    Hi Lauri,
    I like San Francisco very much. I enjoy all sightseeing of SF, climate, old victorian era buildings.
    If someone comes to see me I will show him the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Crooked Lombard Street and Chinatown.
    I will offer him to go to the SF Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall.
    I will visit the de Young and the Legion of Honor museums
    Such a beautiful city San Francisco is!

  19.   Laurion 22 Feb 2010 at 7:44 pm

    It sounds like you found out about a lot of good places to take visitor to San Francisco even t hough you have only been here for four months. I think the scenery around San Francisco is very beautiful. It’s an interesting city.

  20.   Laurion 22 Feb 2010 at 7:46 pm

    When you talked about going up the mountain, were you thinking of Twin Peaks? It’s the one that has the Sutro Tower on it. I think you can get a wonderful view of San Francisco from Twin Peaks. One view is during the day, and another is at night, when the lights are on. Sometimes you can see some nice fog in the distance, but if the fog is near the top of the peak, you can’t see at all.

  21.   Laurion 22 Feb 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I wonder if there is still a Fortune Cookie factory in Chinatown! I went there many years ago, so it might have been replaced by a more mechanized version. I certainly hope not.

  22.   Laurion 22 Feb 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I think San Francisco is a good city for sightseeing. You can see a lot of interesting things, no matter what you like.

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