This self-guided automobile tour is a great way to see San Francisco at your own pace. You follow the distinctive signs ... More
49 Mile Scenic Drive
This self-guided automobile tour is a great way to see San Francisco at your own pace. You follow the distinctive signs displaying seagulls pointing the way along The Bay City's streets as you visit the diverse neighborhoods that make San Francisco a unique treasure. From Chinatown to Fisherman's Wharf to Golden Gate Park to Fort Point, there's no better way to take in the sights than this looping route. Plan at least an afternoon for the 49 Mile Scenic Drive, more if you want to stop and explore what you find along the way.
This route has all the must-see in San Francisco. It is a beautiful drive, though a little bit scary due to the deep slope on many places. This is a perfect way to discover the highlights in this city. The route signs are often easy to spot, but I would suggest you got a map or if you have an android phone, there is an app named "San Francisco 49 Miles Drive" is very useful. It is a great way to see places like Dolores Park and the San Francisco Mission Church which I believe to be the oldest building in SF and where SF was born.
I was in SF with 2 friends and we saw these signs and decided why not, so we spent the day following the signs. We only had half a map that we got at the hotel so we got lost and turned around a lot and laughed the hole time. It was one of the best times that I have had in the city. Having someone who does not get rattled by traffic and getting turned around is a must. We must have ended up under the GG Bridge 4 times. Through the trip we got great pictures, a place to have dinner, and a great memory of a great city. It is a must for any adventurer who likes to explore a city.
Whenever we have visitors from out of town, I try to take them on this drive. It is a great overview of the City, so then people can decide what they'd like to see again and where they'd want to spend more time exploring. Since it's at your own pace, you can just get on or off "the track" wherever you want.
The only thing is that, as you're driving, sometimes you might miss those little "49-mile" signs, so I'd definitely recommend having a navigator with you, who can check where you're going with one of those tourist maps that show where the 49-Mile-Drive is supposed to go.
For a first time or occasional visitor, this drive definitely beats out getting stuck in a touristy part of the city, where all you'll see are a bunch of similar gift shops all selling the same kind of junk.
Go enjoy seeing the beauty of San Francisco from different parts of the City by the Bay!
I did not like when I got lost when some signs where missing and I had to guess which way to take. The drive takes you to the most beautiful and important places to visit if you are in a hurry. When I was there it was raining and still we could enjoy the view and the route.
I follow this every time I go to San Fran - it has helped me get to know the city!
By A Yahoo! Contributor, 2/5/07
This Scenic Drive takes you near and through most all attractions and areas. You should have a plan of where you want to go in each area. Keep a map or just follow the signs along the way. You can pick up part of this drive each day because it can take some time to get through while stopping to see the sites. Some of the signs are hard to see and you can get off track for a minute, but ultimately, this scenic route helps you maneuver your way through this crazy and wonderful city!! I feel like I now know San Fran!
I had read a thorough description in the AAA magazine, Via, and took it along with me. I only went from the Civic Center to Crissy Field, which took me all day, since I stopped several places, including going up in Coit Tower. I have lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years, and I've never followed the route. Very fun and I learned alot. I am going to continue the route in sections, so I can really savor it all.
I've lived here since 1976 and am still trying periodically, to master the 49-mile drive. The signs are plentiful and great for periods but then disappear. I can go through the Presidio and Sea Cliff, you have to know to turn Right on Geary, but then you're ok on past the Cliff House, the Beach Chalet, and the Great Highway. The Great Highway is sometimes closed, then I'm sunk, although, I can make my own way to Golden Gate Park. If the Great Highway is open, I always lose the trail out at Lake Merced. They don't tell you which way to turn and the map doesn't help me. Eventually, though I wend my way to Golden Gate Park. I have always got lost in there and still do. I eventually come out of the park taking a right on Stanyon, and can turn right on Parnassus and eventually get up to Twin Peaks but I don't think it's a doosy. Coming down from Twin Peaks yesterday, I missed 14th Street and ended up in the Haight, so I parked, and had a pizza slice from 'Escape From New York' (the best on the planet, next to Amoeba Records), and a crepes Suzette at the Eiffel Tower (?) crepes place, also the best. But I digress ..... I'm off out to try it again today. I am determined to whip this.
Other people seem to be doing ok. I think the signs are too few out by Lake Merced, and Golden Gate Park, which is poorly marked anyway. But I think the drive is a great thing for locals and visitors alike, as it gives a true feel for the sweep of the City and it's situation, which is one of the best things about it. I think just make a decision whether you are going to drive it all, or stop along the way and cut it short at some point. I think perhaps the downtown part is best done another way without the car. But if you do the drive once, you will realise that the City is smaller than you think. Another great way is the buses.
The 49 Mile scenic drive was a great way to see the city, BUT the signs will only guide those who are traveling in the right direction (kind of counter clockwise...). We had a map and decided to travel in the opposite direction of the signs (not our intent). There are plenty of signs to guide you, but only if you go in the correct direction.
We still had fun and ended up seeing even more of the city since we had to improvise some of our trip.
There is a lot of traffic, but we're from Boston so we are used to it.
I tell all my guests, \"drive the 49 mile scenic route.\"
By A Yahoo! Contributor, 12/4/04
If you want to see the city of San Francisco, the 49 mile scenic drive is the way to do it. If you want to get a feel for the city, stop the car often and walk around a bit. But please, stay away from Fisherman's Wharf, that's not what local do.
I've traveled to SF numerous times and one of the best things we've done is the 49 Mile drive. Only challenge is finding the signs to stay on the route. We got lost a few times but that was fun too! Got a car and a half day? Its a must!
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