Marina/Crissy Field/Golden Gate Bridge
Marina Yacht Harbor, Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field, Fort Point
Duration: 1/2 day
Distance: 4 miles/6.5 km;
Marina/Cow Hollow: +1.3 miles/ 2 km
Fisherman’s Wharf: +2.9 miles/ 4,6 km
Russian Hill: + 2 miles/ 3,2 km
You can combine this walk with the tour from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. You can add the walk along Crissy Field with the car tour through San Francisco.
By car – there is free parking along the Marina basin.
By bus: from Union Square take bus no. 30 towards Stockton Street exit at Jefferson & Divisadero. Walk towards ocean side/harbor and turn left.
By cable car: take the line from Powell Street at the corner of Market Street to the final destination. From the terminal walk left and over the hill above Fort Mason.
From Fisherman’s Wharf walk left and over the hill above Fort Mason.
1st stop: Marina
From San Francisco’s yacht harbor you have fantastic views towards Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, and over the Bay. The Marina runs in between Fort Mason and Crissy Field, a former airfield next to the Bay that was turned into a recreation area. Crissy Field’s hiking, biking and running path leads you towards the old fortification ‘Fort Point’ that is located right underneath Golden Gate Bridge. From the top of the Fort and the path you have an unusual perspective towards the bridge, not many tourist take advantage of. Instead they get into each other’s way at the lookout on the hill above you.
At the end of Marina Blvd you are approaching the Palace of Fine Arts that you can see from the far already.
2nd stop: Palace of Fine Arts
The impressive structure was built in 1915 for the Panama Pacific International Exposition and is the only building that was kept.
You might recognize the building from movies like Vertigo, The Rock, and TV shows like Monk and The Streets of San Francisco. The best way to explore Palace of Fine Arts is by taking the loop trail starting to your right and left in front of Exploratorium. A great photo spot is the view from the duck pond towards the building.
3rd stop: Crissy Field (http://www.parksconservancy.org/our-work/crissy/)
At the end of Yacht Boulevard you reach a small parking lot, which is by the way a good spot to leave your car when walking along Crissy Field.
To the left you have some stairs that lead into the Bay and a great vantage point over Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Sausalito, the small village at the other side of the Bay. The red colored stones along the beach are debris from the big earthquake in 1906.
At the ‘Crissy Field Visitor Center’ you get more information about its history and development. Moreover you can buy nice souvenirs in the shop if you need some presents for family and friends.
The lawn to your left was a former runway of the Presidio Army Base. The old Presidio buildings are lined along the hill to your left. From the Presidio hills you have wonderful views over the Bay, the Pacific and of course Golden Gate Bridge.
4th stop: Warming Hut
At the end of Crissy Field you come across the Warming Hut. The café and bistro sells delicious snacks and has a small souvenir shop with outlandish gifts. For a nice view over the city’s skyline I recommend to enter the pier in front of the Warming Hut.
5th stop: Fort Point – (http://www.nps.gov/fopo/)
– during summer the Fort is open 7 days a week and the rest of the year from Fri-Sun 10am-5pm!
From the Warming Hut you can see Fort Point already. During winter and spring this area of the Bay turns into a popular surf spot.
Fort Point was a former deterrence to naval attacks in California. Today a small exhibition informs about the live of the army officers and soldiers in the Fort and shows uniforms from the time of the civil war. The best vantage point over Golden Gate Bridge is from the roof.
At the Fort's exit is a tiny box collecting donations to keep the Fort open to public. If you can spare some money I think it’s worth to support them.
Back at the Marina there are different possibilities how to spend the rest of the day:
You can explore the Marina and Cow Hollow neighborhood with its many shops, restaurants and bars. Just walk to Marina Bvld at the yacht harbor and make a right into Divisadero Street. Chestnut and Union Street are the main arteries of the two neighborhoods and fun to stroll along. Bus no. 30 takes you back to Union Square. Fisherman’s Wharf is a 10-minute walk away.
As alternative you can walk over to Fisherman’s Wharf or visit Alcatraz.
You get to the wharf and Pier 33 (Alcatraz ferry) by walking back to Fort Mason. To the right is a park. Take the path into the park and walk over the hill along the bayside. At the other end of the hill starts the area of Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 33 is located along Embarcadero half height of Financial District and Ferry Building.