San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27, 1937. That means the iconic span turns 75 this weekend, which is being celebrated by a day-long a waterfront festival on Sunday, from Fort Point to Fisherman’s Wharf. Thousands of pedestrians and cyclists are celebrating by walking or riding across the bridge.
My favorite San Francisco restaurant is the House of Nanking, on Kearny Street, close by the TransAmerica tower. It’s not fancy, and not expensive. In fact, it’s the kind of place you might walk past, except for the crowd on the sidewalk waiting to get in. House of Nanking serves great Chinese food, in heaping portions, on mostly mismatched dishes. I usually sit at the counter, and let the chefs pick what to serve me.
I discovered this place a couple of years ago thanks to a bellman at the Hotel Triton, a boutique hotel at the edge of Chinatown, and have returned several times since. I had asked the concierge for a dinner recommendation, and he suggested a fine, upscale, white tablecloth place nearby — a setting that doesn’t interest me when I’m dining alone. So I asked the bellman where he would eat.
Another good hotel choice is the Orchard Garden Hotel Union Square, one of the first green hotels in the USA. It’s Green Seal certified, and a member of the San Francisco Green Business council. Get last minute San Francisco hotel from $99. Book by June 11th, travel by July 15th.
Another favorite San Francisco treat is the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Market Street, both for its lovely plaza garden, and for its inventive and interesting exhibits. Currently, that includes one on Black and Jewish relationships in music, from Johnny Mathis singing “Kol Nidre” to Ella Fitzgerald singing Irving Berlin tunes, presented in a setting designed to evoke a 1940s nightclub.
I usually try to avoid so-called tourist traps when I travel, but Fisherman’s Wharf is a must see. And so is the outcropping known as Seal Rock, at the north end of Ocean Beach, populated by California sea lions and their Steller’s cousins, all of whom are just plain fun to watch.
No visit to San Francisco is complete without riding one of the iconic cable cars, the city’s other enduring symbol, along with the Golden Gate Bridge.