What to do with three kids who don't start summer camps until July? Play tourist in San Francisco for the day! We headed up to the city yesterday and found beautiful weather and lots of adventure. I had booked a walking tour with All About Chinatown. We parked under Portsmouth Plaza and met the guide a couple of blocks away on the corner of California & Grant. She walked us around the neighborhood, pointing out the architecture and explaining the history of Chinatown. We visited an herbal pharmacy, Buddhist Temple, food markets and the Fortune Cookie Factory. The tour company will include a Dim Sum lunch after the 2 hour tour, but we opted to have kid friendly Chinese food at Four Seas on Grant instead.
From Chinatown, we drove toward Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge, getting temporarily misplaced in the Presidio along the way. (If you've joined my National Park Service Passport bandwagon, there's a Visitors Center in the Presidio where you can stamp your book.) Fort Point has been standing guard at San Francisco Bay since Gold Rush times. Tucked under the Golden Gate Bridge, it's modeled after Fort Sumter and is the only brick fort west of the Mississippi. You can tour the enlisted barracks, officers quarters and the magazine room. We headed straight up to the roof just under the bridge in time to see a cargo ship pass and two military helicopters fly overhead. Then, to our amazement, we watched a pod of 5 or 6 dolphins play just off shore amongst the surfers waiting to catch a wave. It was a sight to behold! Oh, yeah. Don't forget to stamp your NPS Passport in the gift shop before you leave!
Bi-Rite Creamery on 18th and Dolores. So, we headed across town in search of frozen dairy treats. Bi-Rite has unbelievable flavors like Salted Caramel, Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle, Honey Lavender, Balsamic Strawberry and Rincanelas (cinnamon with Snickerdoodle.) It is well worth the drive! We made a quick stop in the Mission Dolores two blocks away before heading back to the nephew & girlfriend's apartment in North Beach to hang out and wait for the husband and nephew to come from work. We all had dinner at Calzone's on Columbus, then the Palo Alto crew boarded the bus and headed home.
A very fun day, indeed!
Filmed in Chinatown: Good planning book: Set in Chinatown: