San Francisco offers excitement for traveling students


    By Alecia Burningham

    No one wants to sit around doing homework on President”s Day. For those adventurous souls who want to get out of Provo and explore a fun new city, San Francisco is calling.

    This exciting city has something for everyone. Sports fans can catch a Golden State Warriors basketball game, and theater buffs can see the latest Broadway show. For people who like to eat, San Francisco probably has more restaurants than people.

    San Francisco”s most endearing quality at this time of year, however, is its warm, constant temperature.

    Matt Wirig, 24, a junior from San Francisco, majoring in biology, said it is at least 65 degrees year round.

    “Go to Pacifica Beach,” he said.

    The beach just south of the Golden Gate Bridge is also fun and offers great photo opportunities of the bridge, he said.

    Among the top spots for tourists to visit is Alcatraz.

    The homepage for San Francisco”s travel bureau suggests visiting Alcatraz when it is enveloped in a shroud of fog.

    This historic, high security prison, once home to Al Capone and Clint Eastwood, is rumored to be haunted.

    Visitors who are spooked easily should probably skip Alcatraz and go straight to Pier 39. Shops, restaurants and street performers clutter the pier, offering an exciting and unique experience.

    “It is such a conglomerate of shops and people, with lots of good food,” Wirig said.

    Ted Hartman, 26, from Springfield, Utah, said the best spot in San Francisco is Fisherman”s Wharf.

    “You get to see other parts of the world in little pieces,” he said. “I especially liked all of the seals that were just off the wharf.”

    Rampton agrees with Hartman that the wharf is a great place to explore.

    “You can walk for miles and see so many different things at Fisherman”s Wharf,” she said. “I don”t even like clam chowder but I like clam chowder in San Francisco.”

    For those who prefer chocolate to fish, Ghiradelli Square might be more appealing. The chocolate is actually made right there, and visitors can enjoy samples.

    Eating too much or traveling on Lombard Street could cause an unpleasant experience. Known as the “crookedest street in the world,” Lombard Street was an attempt in the 1920s to deal with the extremely steep slope of Russian hill. Its sharp zig-zag pattern should only be driven by courageous people.

    Wirig also suggests visiting FAO Schwartz, the large toy store chain made famous by Tom Hanks in “Big.” Hard Rock Caf? and Planet Hollywood are also fun places to eat, he said.

    When the crowds start getting crazy, Wirig said the most beautiful place to go in the city is the LDS Oakland Temple.

    “It sparkles up on the hill and offers an incredible view of the whole bay from 100 feet up.”

    The placement of the temple up on a hill makes it so visible and any ship or plane coming into the city uses it as a point of navigation, he said.

    Although visitors cannot use planes and boats to get around, transportation in the city should not be a problem, as long as the car is parked.

    Wirig said Bay Area Rapid Transit is the best transportation system of any big city he has been in.

    “You can get all over the city for just a couple of dollars. It is nice because it is above ground, so you can really get the flavor of the city while getting around,” he said.

    San Francisco is full of flavor to enjoy too. It is a melting pot with a wide variety of cultures, particularly Asian and Hispanic.

    Chinatown is the most popular cultural neighborhood, flooded with good, cheap food, Wirig said.

    Visitors should be aware, however, that they will not be in “Happy Valley” anymore.

    “It is a friendly city, but it is a big city so you need to be careful,” Hartman said. “Someone from out-of-town will walk around wide-eyed and see a world you don”t see at home, or at least in Utah,” he said.

    Getting to San Francisco is easy, even for the directionally challenged. Take I-15 north to I-80 west, following the signs to San Francisco. It is about 775 miles. So the trip, while following the speed limit, will take between 10 and 11 hours. More information can be found

    Happy trails.

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