Catch up on SF hikes in new year
The Sportsmanís Report
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By Bill Hanson  January 3, 2014 12:00 am

After the Christmas meltdown, families are sometimes pressed to keep the spirit going. 

Using a one-hour limit for driving time, assuming moderate traffic, here are some ideas for consideration:

• Take the ferry at Larkspur to San Francisco. Parking is free, there is no bridge toll, and you will be treated to some of the most spectacular views of the cities and the Bay. Once you exit at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, the entire city opens up to you. Pier 39 is an easy walk, as is the IMAX. One excellent family walk is a visit to the wonderful urban island of Asia, Chinatown.  

Ride the muni from the ferry building or cable car up California – a very short ride at a high price – and walk through the Fu Lion Gate on Grant Street. Be sure to go uphill one block to Stockton Street to see the other Chinatown, this is where the locals shop. Little treasures are considerably cheaper than on Grant, and the shops are generally of a higher quality.


• Golden Gate Park offers excellent things to see and do, including the Japanese Tea Garden, the Aquarium, the G.G. Park playground, the de Young Museum, the Buffalo Pen and feeding the ducks. To get pricing and parking info and a list of special events go to


• The San Francisco Zoo is a dreamland of fun exhibits and animal viewing. The primate cages are great. Actually, you are the one in the cage; the monkeys live all around. You may get to see baby gorilla Kabibe ride her mother’s back as her mom visits the others in the enclosure. Go to for more information.


• Another excellent day trip is a visit to the impressive Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. It is a short walk to a park bench to share a picnic lunch on the grass as you watch the ship traffic come and go through the Golden Gate. Visit to preview the exhibits. If you are not taking children, consider visiting the art of Matisse and Swedish painter Anders Zorn. There is also a spectacular display of fine jewelry by world famous jeweler Bulgari.


• An excellent day trip is a short ride on the Tiburon ferry to Angel Island. For those who prefer to skip the walking part, there are shuttles available on the island. Go to and scroll down to Angel Island for details.


• Another day trip a bit closer to home is a visit to the Bear Valley Center, the portal to the vast Point Reyes Park. The visitor’s center has an excellent exhibit, and it is a short walk to the Indian Village. Also close by is the well-marked trail to the famous San Andres fault line, a fantastic visit back in history to the morning of the Great Quake on April 18, 1906. Go to for more details.


Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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