The best views of San Francisco are from the top of Twin Peaks, the two hills that are located in the geographic center of the city. Only from Twin Peaks can you get a 360-degree view of the entire city. On a clear day you can see all four Bay Area bridges—from the Golden Gate to the Richmond-San Rafael and the Bay Bridge all the way south to the San Mateo. We were not that lucky, the fog had moved in and there was very little we could see. As we travel up the winding road to the top, there were people running the steps leading to the top.    
The Drum bridge, also called a moon bridge, was built-in Japan and shipped here in 1894 for the San Francisco Midwinter Exhibition .A moon bridge is a highly arched pedestrian bridge associated with gardens in China and Japan. The moon bridge originated in China and was later introduced to Japan. This type of bridge was originally designed to allow pedestrians to cross canals while allowing the passage of barges beneath. When constructed using the climbing ascent and descent this had the further advantage of not using space from the adjoining fields for approaches. The steepness forces those entering a tea garden to slow down, allegedly putting them in the right state of mind for a tea ceremony. In formal garden design a moon bridge is placed so that it is reflected in still water. The high arch and its reflection form a circle, symbolizing the moon. The Japanese Tea Garden …
The grounds of the Japanese Garden also feature a series of koi ponds, elaborate carved wood gates, many stone lanterns, a five-story pagoda (dating from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915), a Zen Garden constructed of stones and gravel, a high-arching Drum Bridge (a relic of the original Japanese Village), and a tea house and gift shop. A large bronze Buddha near the teahouse, cast in Japan in 1790, was presented to the garden by the Gump Company in 1949. The 9,000-pound bronze Peace Lantern situated behind the pagoda was bought with the contributions of Japanese schoolchildren and presented to the garden in 1953 in commemoration of the U.S.-Japan peace treaty signed in San Francisco in 1951. As we were walking along the paths, another family was also enjoying the gardens. The daughter took a picture of her parents in front of the Buddha. As we walked by, she asked …
The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is the oldest in the United States, created for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition as part of the fair’s Japanese Village exhibit. The garden’s lush, harmonious landscaping pays homage to the traditional Japanese art of the garden. Paths wind through its five acres of carefully chosen and manicured plants, including Japanese maples, towering stands of bamboo, an ancient wisteria, and cherry trees that put on a spectacular flowering display in March and April. Among the garden’s other trees and shrubs are pines, cedars, azaleas, magnolias, camellias, and a superb collection of bonsai and other intricately shaped plants.  
The cable car system consists of 3 separate lines. The “Powell-Hyde” line, the “Powell-Mason” line and the “California” line. The California line runs along California Street and runs East-West from the Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill and stops at Van Ness Avenue. This cable car is taken by many locals. The two main “tourist” cable lines are the Powell Lines. Both start at Powell and Market street where each car is turned, by hand, on a turntable to aim it back up Powell Street. The Powell-Hyde line (the one I rode) runs over Nob and Russian hills before ending at Aquatic Park near Ghiradelli Square. This is also the line that runs across Lombard Street (the “crooked street”) before descending down the steep hill to the bay. The Powell-Mason line runs over Nob Hill and down to Bay Street at Fisherman’s Wharf. The two Powell cable cars alternate …
The cable car was introduced to San Francisco on August 2, 1873. Wire-cable manufacturer Andrew Hallidie conceived the idea after witnessing an accident in which a horse-drawn carriage faltered and rolled backward downhill dragging the horses behind it. The first cable car to descend down Clay Street on Nob Hill was an immediate success. besides creating a vital link in San Francisco’s public transportation system, the cable car opened the door for building on steep hills which until this time was thought to be impossible. Throughout the 1890s, eight transit companies operated 600 cars which covered 21 cable cars which covered 21 cable car routes and a total of 52.8 miles. Cable cars remained the primary mode of transportation until the 1906 earthquake. The quake and the fires that followed destroyed most of the cable car system. and as the City rebuilt, few lines were restored. A municipal railway replaced …
Grace Cathedral is descended from the historic Grace church, built-in the Gold rush year of 1849, and the imposing structure on the corner of California and Stockton streets that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. San Francisco’s Crocker family gave their Nob Hill property, destroyed by the fire, for the building of a new cathedral. Work began on the church in 1928. Designed in the French Gothic style by Lewis Hobart, it was completed in 1954. Grace Church is famed for its Ghiberti doors, labyrinths, stained glass, AIDS chapel, as well as its music. The cathedral has become an internationally known place of pilgrimage, home to a vibrant and diverse congregation, and the convening place for civic celebrations and commemorations, truly “the city’s church.” Workers were redoing the outside labyrinth when we were there. Open arms of Beniamino Bufano’s sculpture are a perfect symbol of the cathedral – …
Union Square is a 2.6-acre public plaza bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets in San Francisco, California. “Union Square” also refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district that surrounds the plaza for several blocks. Our hotel was on Post, so it was a short walk to the Square and the cable car stops. The area got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War, earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark. Today, this one-block plaza and surrounding area is one of the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and beauty salons in the United States, making Union Square a major tourist destination.   The Dewey Monument is a memorial statue located in the middle of Union Square. The monument was named after Spanish–American War hero Admiral George Dewey. …
Janis lived here, the house with the white railing on the steps, at the height of her career. As Myra Friedman puts it in Buried Alive: The Biography of Janis Joplin: Janis’s Lyon Street apartment had a quaintly curved balcony that soaked up the rays of the afternoon sun … A tiny kitchen jagged off to one side of a long entry hall, and in the back was Janis’s bedroom, all dark and draped with the emblems of seduction, the final enrichment to Janis’s image. Velvet and satin swathed her bed; her windows were veiled with lace and silk. With her appetite for men (and sometimes women) matched only by her thirst for Southern Comfort, Janis’s boudoir must have been put to very good use.   The Grateful Dead House is located at 710 Ashbury Street at Waller. America’s first and longest-lived suppliers of musical psychedelia reportedly experimented with mind-expanding …
Nob Hill is one of San Francisco’s signature neighborhoods, renowned for its city landmarks and the famous hotels that border Huntington Park. The area’s reputation of privilege dates back to Gold Rush times, when cable car lines made the hilltop accessible and the railroad barons and bonanza kings built their mansions there, far above the rowdiness of the bawdy waterfront. In 1945, the Fairmont hosted international statesmen for meetings which culminated in the creation of the United Nations. The United Nations Charter was drafted in the hotel’s Garden Room and a plaque at the hotel memorialized the event. The flags over the front entrance represent the countries who signed the UN Charter. With a local legacy and grand architectural character that make it one of the most celebrated luxury hotels in San Francisco, the InterContinental Mark Hopkins is a landmark Nob Hill.  
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