Another Saturday, another urban hike. I’ve decided to attempt to walk all of the major streets in San Francisco. This last hike was all of Geary Blvd, starting at 48th Avenue (where San Francisco meets the Pacific Ocean) and walking the entire length to Lotta’s Fountain, where Geary and Kearny terminate into Market Street.
According to Wikipedia, Geary Blvd is a “major east-west thoroughfare in San Francisco. It is a major commercial artery…that is lined with stores and restaurants, many of them catering to the various immigrant groups (Chinese, Russian, [Korean, Polish, Jewish] and Irish, among many others) who live in the area. The boulevard borders Japantown between Fillmore and Laguna Streets. The roadway is named for John W. Geary, the first mayor of San Francisco after California became a U.S. state. It began life as a dirt carriage track out to the Cliff House and Ocean Beach and for a time a flat track paralleled the road where horsemen raced their mounts on Sundays.”
If one only walks Geary Blvd, which is from point A to point B on the map below, it is 5.8 miles (9.33km). My walk had me wandering some and including my walk home from the end of Geary (point B to point C), I totaled 8.4 miles (13.5km).
What makes this walk easy is from downtown San Francisco, one can get to the end of Geary on the very-frequent #38 Geary bus. Riding the bus in San Francisco guarantees that you will find something different. On my morning trip, this woman was sitting a few rows in front of me, busily tending her makeup routine.
Geary Blvd spans many neighborhoods, but there are 4 major neighborhoods, moving east to west: The Richmond, the Western Addition, the Tenderloin and Union Square. Getting off the bus on 48th Avenue and walking around the corner, one encounters a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and the ‘wilderness’ of Land’s End. And then there are the gorgeous poppies.
Heading east on Geary, it almost feels like another city or the suburbs. It is nice as there is a lot of light and air, not a lot of noise and homes are all low-rise. Some are painted with bright colors. It could be because it is often foggy in this area and there are entire summers without direct sunlight.
Continuing east, one arrives at a business district, full of groceries stores, bars, churches and other retail venues. This section of Geary is a true “melting pot”, having once been predominantly Irish, but now having immigrants from Russia, China, Korea, Poland, Japan and Mexico.
Starting in the Richmond district, there are many churches on Geary:Right photo: Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church
(Geary and 23rd Avenue) Left photo: Star of the Sea Church (Geary and 8th Avenue).
There are also a lot of bars – here is a sampling of some of them:
Of course, it’s not all sinners and saints
Continuing out of the Richmond District we encounter Japantown, St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church:
Now we descend into the Tenderloin and Union Square: