I had seen a variety of pinhole, fisheye, and other experimental cameras at the Exploratorium gift shop on a previous walk, and couldn’t stop thinking about trying them out (especially for this project), so I decided to walk that way after my appointment with Doctor G and pick one up!


First through Chinatown…

bok choy in Chinatown

bok choy in Chinatown

The design of the firehouse is Chinatown incorporates traditional cloud motifs in the overhang and signs; the overhang cut-outs make pretty shadows on the sidewalk…

fire house in Chinatown

A man and his dog. Figurines in a Chinatown shop window on Powell Street…

shop window in Chinatown

Into North Beach…

panorama of Grant Street in Chinatown

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll)

Music 101 and Savoy Tivoli in the Upper Grant shopping district…

Music 101 on Upper Grant

Savoy Tivoli entrance sign on Upper Grant

And this view! I love this view. I’m a fan of any time San Francisco shows off her hills, but this one is sweet because you have to trek up Filbert Street to win it: North Beach, Russian Hill, and even the Golden Gate Bridge:

view of the city from top of Telegraph Hill

Headed to the water, but Coit Tower happened to be “along the way”…

Coit Tower

Now I want to learn to skateboard so I can try bombing this hill…

view of the city from top of Telegraph Hill

On a fence just at the base of Pioneer Park (aka, the Coit Tower grounds)…

locks on park fence on top of Telegraph Hill

I hadn’t noticed last time—steps up to the tower have contributor names etched into them:

Cost Tower steps with engraved names

Lovely Pioneer Park pathway…

path around Coit Tower

Had to cheat and break out of my square photo format for this one…

Coit Tower in San Francisco

I didn’t take the elevator ride today like I did last time, but instead took in some of the views from around the Tower grounds. Maritime Park, Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin and Sausalito…

view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge from Coit Tower

vintage binoculars at Coit Tower

panorama of Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll)

* * *

Alcatraz and Angel Island…

view of the San Francisco Bay from Coit Tower

Continuing on in the direction of the water, I found these steps leading down from Pioneer Park…

steps down Telegraph Hill

If you have read previous posts, you will know how much I like a mysterious staircase…

steps down Telegraph Hill

They lead all the way down to this view, which is the intersection on Montgomery and Greenwich. Another example of the San Francisco hills being so steep that certain streets simply drop off into and switch to steps—notice that we are taller than the tops of telephone poles! Also, Embarcadero piers, bay, and Bay Bridge…

steps down Telegraph Hill

A ha! Oftentimes before, while walking down streets near the waterfront, I had seen signs at the foot of steps reading “COIT TOWER” and always wondered about them. Mystery solved! There is a small hand-made sign on the wall I am leaning on, above, with an arrow pointing to the top of un-specified “STAIRS”… Very out-of-breath people wearing running shoes kept emerging from behind the sign, so I guessed I was also welcome to follow the arrow.

How lovely! Statue in the front yard of one of the homes that line the staircase:

statue by Greenwich Steps

These are the Greenwich Street Stairs, which a famous landmark but are new to me! I get so excited when my wandering leads me to places like this in the city…

Greenwich Steps

Completely lined with flowers and trees and plants and overhanging greenery…

leaf on Greenwich Steps

flowers on Greenwich Steps

Greenwich Steps

The Bay Bridge through bougainvillea…

flowers and view of Bay Bridge from Greenwich Steps

If you are going up, pace yourself and be prepared to burn a few hundred calories. Going down is much easier, but still precariously steep in spots—wheee!

Greenwich Steps

I stopped at a shop and picked up a lunch time snack, and sat on Pier 27, about where the stairs meet up with the Embarcadero, to eat…

panorama of Pier 27

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll)

* * *

I think it’s funny that when I sit with my feet hanging over an edge like this, my GPS tracker would have you believe I jumped in the Bay…

feet over the water on Pier 27

I usually approach the Exploratorium from the other side, so I hadn’t noticed that they make use of their entire pier, wrapping all the way around both sides of the museum building, for experiments and installations. I saw a line of these guys and wondered what kind of wacky thing they were supposed to be—sculpture of some kind?

reflectors at the Exploratorium Pier

As you walk down the Pier, your eye gets caught by something fluttering overhead, and you find yourself surprised and delighted…

* * *

Another cool thing on the Pier that you have to slow down and investigate a bit for it to reveal itself—it picks up the ambient sounds, and sends them down the wires that connect the dishes to the harp behind them, making a soft music…

music makers at the Exploratorium Pier

self portrait in Exploratorium window

More exhibits on the Exploratorium pier…

Exploratorium Pier

These are pretty cool—they are big wheels you can spin, and they have sediment and other materials native to the places they are labeled with. They are for teaching about water currents and how the tides work in different geological areas (with a beautiful view of the bridge and the bay as a backdrop!)…

Exploratorium Pier

07-28-15-CoitGreenwich36-B

Exploratorium Pier

I found a camera that I thought would be fun (it’s made of plastic and I have to put it together myself—perfect!), and started back home through the Financial District.

Transamerica Pyramid through the trees along one of the Embarcadero Center buildings…

Embarcadero Center and Transamerica Pyramid

Skyscrapers, seagull…

Financial District

This staircase felt vaguely Egyptian…

Financial District

Financial District

Flags on Market Street…

California, Canadian, and American flags on Market Street


Where should I go tomorrow?


  • MILES WALKED: 8.6
  • NEIGHBORHOODS: Civic Center, Chinatown, Telegraph Hill, Embarcadero, Financial District, Market Street/Downtown, Mission District
  • DESIGNATED LANDMARKS: Coit Tower (no. 165)

map of July 28 2015 walk