Best places for a US history teacher to visit? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I'm thrilled to be visiting this October and will have 4 days to tour. As a SS teacher, I'm hoping to visit sites that will captivate me and teach me new things to share with my students. I teach US history and World History (everything but Europe and N America) I'm hoping you can steer me to the best of the city.

-- Candice Lucas (, September 06, 2003


The Mission Dolores is always good. It's reputed to be the first settlement in San Francisco, and dates back to the 1700's. You can also check the Mission District. Lots of shops and good food there. The Main Library used to have a San Francisco History room, and I spent many an hour poring over the books and artifacts there. North Beach, which is close to Fisherman's Wharf, is also a colorful area to visit. The Cable Car Museum is fascinating. You can learn alot about the history and workings of the world's only moving historical landmark. Fort Point, under the Golden Gate Bridge is a good place to check out, too. Definitely bring a camera. You can get some awesome shots looking out of the gun turrets. Wear good hiking shoes, too. You can also ask the cable car operators about good places to visit. Most of them are friendly, and more than willing to "show off" their knowledge of all things San Franciscan. The Castro district is also an interesting place, if you don't have any hang-ups about homosexuals. While you're there, check out Cliff's Variety store. That place has been around forever. I grew up in the Noe Valley district, which is the Castro's "neighbor" over the hill. Anything we couldn't find at the "Glen 5 and 10", we found at Cliff's, and they still seem to have a fairly eclectic collection of goodies. Hope this helps. Have a great time in San Francisco. I'm a native of that wonderful city, but no longer live there. I miss it!!!

-- Elaine Briggs (, September 12, 2003.

Sorry but I consider the Castro District nothing but a SLUM. Unless you are interested in homosexuals there's nothing there worth seeing except ugliness. There are lots of places to visit that are much better but I am just too tired right now to think of all of them. You might try to take a breakfast at the Cliff House and get a window seat. Or take a brunch at the Fairmont Hotel rooftop with their glass elevator that makes it feel like your being launched into space. From up there you'll have a great bird's eye view of the city. Take a tour of Alcatraz Island. Tours are given about every 45 minutes every day. There are busses that take you on city wide tours that will give you a pretty good perspective of the history and there are also walking tours. China town is another place but kind of slummy though you might like the food if your thing is like the American thing of getting as fat as you can and staying that way. This country has to learn to stop rewarding themselves with food 20 times per day. I can't even stand to look at people any more because they are all so fat.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy*, October 03, 2003.

I hope this isn't too late, though it is late in October...

The things I enjoy bringing people to see up in San Fran are usually a couple of days of touring. Take the Alcatraz tour: be prepared for cold weather though, the bay winds can be bitey. Go up to telegraph hill and look around; the view is dizzying and it's got some neat history. The obvious: Ride a cablecar on the OUTSIDE. It's a bit scary, but a real treat to remember, but don't bother with the non- railed cable cars. Walk to Lumbard drive and take pictures, it's a touristy thing, but it's also unique too! Go to the Presidio, between the Wharf and the Golden Gate: the buildings there are old and give a feeling of when they were built. Enjoy the chocolate at Ghiradeli (spelling not included) and visit the cannery, both shopping areas that are built from older factories. Try out the Exploratorium, and the Palace of the Fine Arts nearby, also between Wharf and Gate.

If you want weird, the Wax Museum on Fisherman's Wharf is okay, but.. well, it's like an episode of Ripley's Believe it or Not, and if you do the Wax Museum, don't do Ripleys just a few doors down. They're pretty much the same stuff.

If you're a flatlander... just walk ONE of those streets to the top. ;) I'm originally from the midwest and it's mind boggling to have so much UP!

And as for Castro: it's a really neat combination of PEOPLE, it's got some interesting shops, and a fudge shop right in the middle with some incredible fudge and great raspberry sorbet. (Faerie Queen Chocolates)

If you can take a day farther south, to the south bay area, do it :) We've a few kooky things down here, like the Winchester Mystery House built by the widow of the man who created the rifle, and the Tech Museum for electronic gadgets. The Egyptian Museum is kinda fun, and the Rose Gardens are nearby but not great looking for the season. Also, Gyros Haunted House is running down there too, if you want a scare. :) That's enough from me, though. I hope your trip is/was good!

-- Laura Davis (, October 30, 2003.

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