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May 18, 2024 3:31am
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San Francisco Day Trips from Los Altos

A San Francisco day trip from Los Altos is a refreshing way to spend a Saturday or a day off from work. San Francisco, CA is just under an hour drive from Los Altos, CA, or 38 miles on the US 101 South. If you would rather travel by public transportation, the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) is a great option for you. The nearest BART location, Millbrae Station, is located at 200 North Rollins Road, Millbrae, CA 94030. You can park and ride for a $2 daily fee plus $4.25 each way.

It is a 30-minute trip on the BART to Powell Street Station, which will take you to Union Square in the majestic San Francisco for some world-class shopping. If Union Square sounds like something that interests you, try to plan a visit to De Beers Fine Jewellry on 185 Post Street for that special piece of jewelry, or you can stroll down Maiden Lane and visit the Chanel Boutique at 156 Geary Street. Those shops are definitely two reasons to celebrate traveling into the city.

If you are brave enough to climb aboard a landmark cable car, you will be able to see some of the most picturesque views of the city and the bay. The Powell Street Bart Station is located at the main cable car turnaround in downtown. At this location, you can buy tickets for the Powell/Hyde Line and take a ride for $6 each, one way to Fisherman's Wharf. If you plan on traveling by cable car all day, it would be worth it to purchase an all-day pass for $14. At this turnaround location, families can stand in line while enjoying local street performances. You can get off the trolley at a number stops or you can take it all the way to the end of the line, which is Fisherman's Wharf, at 151 3rd Street. Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular choice for San Francisco tourists. While here, you can get clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and many other types of fresh and delicious sea food, or you can head to the Musée Mécanique. This museum features a large collection of mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines that you can still play! And it’s free, so take your kids or game lovers to this unique place.

If you feel like doing a walking tour instead, Chinatown is just a hop, skip and a jump from the BART station on Grant Street. At Far East Flea Market, 729 Grant Ave (between Sacramento and Commercial streets), you can buy traditional souvenirs and Asian trinkets for a steal. After getting thirsty from all that walking, Sweetheart Cafe, 909 Grant Avenue (at Washington Street), serves some of the best iced boba milk tea in the neighborhood.

Is one of your favorite fine artists having an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art? You are in luck, because the Powell Street terminal is also close to the SOMA, which is just a couple blocks South on 151 3rd St. Whether driving or riding, the trek back from SF to Los Altos offers relaxing waterfront views to gaze at while ruminating over your San Francisco day trip adventure.

Oakland is another fun day trip you can take from Los Altos. Just 39 miles and 50 minutes away, this is also a worthwhile trip. While in Oakland, you can check out the Oakland Museum of California, at 1000 Oak Street, or the Paramount Theater, at 2025 Broadway, which is a great example of the art deco style. The kids will also enjoy Fairyland, on Grand Avenue at Bellevue, which brings their favorite storybooks to life. 

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