I grew up in San Francisco and walked all over town during my first 24 years. Then I moved across the Bay. But I still go on my favorite San Francisco walk at least once a year — when I attend a Giants baseball game.
Our annual adventure to AT&T Park on a sunny Summer Sunday begins with a BART ride from Castro Valley to The Embarcadero, the train’s first stop after going through the Transbay Tube. We then take the northeast exit and arrive above ground right in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Market Street.
We usually walk past the hotel’s main entrance through the sidewalk souvenir stands and arts and crafts stalls and gaze at Vaillancourt Fountain in Justin Herman Plaza before crossing the Embarcadero and finding ourselves in front of the Ferry Building. If we have time, though, we might walk around the hotel and linger for awhile at one of the small cafes facing the fountain. Justin Herman Plaza has become quite a touristy area these days and they even have a Zip Line installed near the fountain. Note that the Hyatt is part of Embarcadero Center, the eastern tip of San Francisco’s FIDI (Financial District) and these restaurants serve the breakfast and lunch crowd and are usually closed by 3:00pm.
Or we might do our lingering after we cross the street to Ferry Plaza and the Ferry Building and then visit the Farmer’s Market there. There are some nice restaurants on this side of the street, too, some in front of the Ferry Building facing the Embarcadero and some in the back of the building facing the Bay. But whether we linger here or not at some point we will head South and start walking along the Embarcadero. In about 20 minutes or so we will find ourselves at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, all ready for an exciting three hours of baseball. On our right we will pass the old Hills Bros Coffee Building and I will remember the wonderful aroma drivers used to experience as they crossed the bridge from the East Bay. Then we pass Rincon Park with its Cupid’s Bow sculpture. And soon we find ourselves under the Bay Bridge. The Embarcadero goes on for a few more blocks and then runs into King Street and AT&T Park is on King between 2nd and 3rd.
After the game we do the walk again in reverse. Sometimes we will stop along the way at a waterfront cafe for a hamburger and a beer. Sometimes we don’t stop until we hit the Ferry Building and then we will visit one of their outdoor restaurants before retracing our steps back to the BART station. More than likely we will linger again as we examine the paintings and jewelry on display along the Market Street border of Justin Herman Plaza. Our San Francisco walk ends at the Bart Station entrance and in 30 minutes we will be back in Castro Valley.
A few years ago some cousins from Ireland came to visit us and they told us they wouldn’t mind going to an American baseball game. So we took them on our favorite San Francisco Walk. What an introduction to the sights and sounds of San Francisco! The Giants won that day, too.