Wednesday, March 09, 2011

City Life: Along The Embarcadero, Part 1 (Ballpark to Ferry Building)

The Embarcadero is a street that stretches from the end of China Basin where the Giants Ballpark is located all the way past Fisherman's Wharf. It runs right along the San Francisco Bay. Though I've taken plenty of pictures here, particularly of the Bay Bridge at night, I thought I'd do a little neighborhood walk for you all. According to Google Maps, it's about a 1.4 mile walk from the Ballpark to the Ferry Building.

B is where I started at the Ballpark. A is where I ended at the Ferry Building.

The home of our World Champion Giants

I've only been to a few games here but the ballpark is beautiful and right on the water. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in this area, not surprising. Sometimes it gets a little chilly during night games. The train station (Caltrain) is almost right across the street from the Ballpark, on the other side of The Embarcadero. There's a MUNI stop right in front of the stadium. Take the N Judah or T Third Street going Inbound (towards downtown).

Sorry I couldn't resist!

I took this walkway behind the Ballpark since it's right on the water. The small but historic Third Street Bridge is located directly behind me in this picture. This stretch of water is called McCovey Cove though it's official name is China Basin. On game days, small boats and kayaks hang around in case there's a fly ball to catch.

One of the many amenities at the Ballpark is this Waterfront Promenade (a little further down on the left side in the previous picture of the walkway) where people can stand and watch games for free. I think they clear the place out after every inning and the view is somewhat obstructed but you can still see what's going on.

This is a fishing pier at South Beach Harbor. As you can see it's located behind the Ballpark. You can walk all the way out and look out at the Bay.

The Harbor.

Continuing on in the direction of the Bay Bridge. It was very quiet when I was here (last Monday). Many times there are tons of people walking, biking, running, and on game days it's packed. The Playground is located on the left side of the walkway there (see below).

As you can it was a beautiful day in San Francisco last Monday. It's been raining the rest of the week. That street is The Embarcadero.

Cheap parking! We're close to the Financial District. As we get closer the parking prices go up. In some places, it can cost about $40 a day to park in one of the big parking garages. There are many smaller lots like this one close to the Ballpark, of course, and they are much cheaper during the day. On game days people charge a different rate.

I believe I've taken this picture before for this blog. Red's Java House is a hole in the wall greasy spoon featuring cheap prices for drinks (beer!) and food. I've only had breakfast here which I enjoyed but I love diner food anyway.

The underside of the Bay Bridge next to Pier 24. For some reason I love standing here and listening to the pock, pock sound of the cars on the lower deck of the Bridge on their way to the East Bay.

The East Bay is home to cheaper housing prices, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and various bedroom communities. I don't spend much time there unless I'm visiting friends or going to Berkeley Rep Theater for a show. I should do some exploration and post it here on this blog.

Another view of the Bay Bridge. That island there is Treasure Island, an artificial island halfway between San Francisco and Oakland. The lower deck of the Bridge takes you to Oakland, the upper deck into San Francisco. The Bridge is undergoing a years long retrofitting and upgrade to repair damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

The historic Hills Bros. Coffee building though you can't see the lovely sign from this angle. We're getting very close to the Financial District now.

This section of The Embarcadero is a nice park with plenty of places to sit, walk your dog, and have snack or picnic. I love these small watery sculptures on the sitting areas. There's also an upscale restaurant or two here though I haven't eaten at either place yet. As you might imagine this area is a prime spot for folks to stop at lunchtime during the week.

My heart in San Francisco. The name of this sculpture is "Cupid's Span" and it never fails to startle people driving by. The street is on the other side of the sculpture.

The Pier 14 walkway is a lovely stroll. You can walk all the way out and get great pictures of the Bay, the Bridge, the Ferry Building, and San Francisco skyline.

Ah yes, my beloved Ferry Building. Note the iconic tower and clock. The Amtrak office is immediately to my right. I say that because people have difficulty finding it even if there are a bunch of signs all over the place.

The inside of our historic Ferry Building.

True to its name you can catch a ferry to the East Bay for commute or other travel purposes here. The Building was closed while it underwent extensive renovations and reopened in 2003 as a gourmet marketplace. It's expensive here but friggin' awesome for great food, drink, whether for shopping or eating. The most upscale Farmer's Market in the City is here on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I love working down here.

One of the many shops in the Ferry Building. This place just sells mushrooms and other fungi. Heaven!

The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, home to many after work gatherings. I've been here many times myself. They also have a small wine shop and are great with their recommendations.

Another view of the Building near the front main entrance.

Ahhhh! One of my favorite places! The Cowgirl Creamery. See all that incredible cheese? They give out samples and are experts at helping you find good cheeses for a party, picnic, and give great recommendations for wine/cheese pairings.

Blue Bottle Coffee is generally considered to have the best coffee in the City. The place is usually mobbed. There's a Peet's too but this place is great.

The back of the Ferry Building. There are many more shops (tea shop, gelato, chocolate shops, small well-appointed grocery shops, you get the idea) and restaurants, of course. If you can manage to get a bench here on a nice day it makes for a lovely lunch outing. The places where you board the ferries are on the left.

Standing in front of the Ferry Building looking towards the bottom of Market Street and towards the Financial District. Justin Herman Plaza is across the street to the right as is Embarcadero Center. The Ferry Building/Embarcadero MUNI stop is here.

The Ferry Building MUNI stop is part of the Market Street/Wharves F Line with its historic street cars. You can take the street car up down the length of Market Street from here to The Castro and from here to Fisherman's Wharf.

I've crossed The Embarcadero and am now looking straight up Market.

The underground Embarcadero MUNI/BART station is just up the street on the right. There's also a California Street Cable Car stop next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the right as well. This cable car line goes from the Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill, and ends at Van Ness Avenue. A historic street car in red is coming towards me in this picture.

Part 2 of this post will conclude with my walk from the Ferry Building to Fisherman's Wharf.

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