Type of Transport: Bus
City: San Francisco, CA, USA
Current Cost: Adult US$2.00
Start: The Marina map
Finish: Daly City map
Route Map: http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mmaps/documents/28-28L-layer.pdf
Beautiful San Francisco! The #28 Bus route captures all the scenic beauty of the city by the bay. Starting at Fort Mason, the bus winds along the waterfront to the start of the Golden Gate Bridge. It then cuts back through the Presidio down Park Presidio Blvd and through Golden Gate Park. If you wish, you can end your journey there or continue on to San Francisco State University and Daly City.
Points of Interest
Fort Mason & Marina Boulevard
The bus starts on Marina Boulevard by Fort Mason. Fort Mason has a beautiful view of the bay area. Although it is now currently used primarily to host conferences and exhibitions, historically Fort Mason served as an Army post for more than 100 years, initially as a coastal defense site and subsequently as a military port facility. During World War II, it handled most of the cargo for the Pacific campaign.
Marina Boulevard runs right along the San Francisco Marina and offers amazing views of the San Francisco Bay including Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge
After leaving Marina Boulevard, the bus does a quick loop around and heads down Lombard Street. Although Lombard Street prides itself on being the most crooked street in the world, this stretch is pretty straight. The bus then pulls off The bus loops back out towards the water and the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza.
From here you can get an up-close view of the bridge with in depth descriptions of how the bridge was made. There is even one of the cables that has been cut open to show all how strong it actually is.
After leaving the Golden Gate Bridge, the bus cuts through the Presidio on Park Presidio Boulevard. The Presidio was originally a Spanish fort in 1776. When the Spanish left it was passed to Mexico and eventually the USA. As part of a military reduction program, Congress voted in 1989 to end the Presidio’s status as an active military installation and on October 1, 1994, it was transferred to the National Park Service. Today you can walk among the many historic buildings and visit the only remaining cemetery within the city of SanFranscisco – the San Francisco National Cemetery.
Golden Gate Park
As the bus continues down Park Presidio Boulevard and eventually enters Golden Gate Park. The Park offers a number of trails to walk and explore. The Japanese Tea Garden offers a nice place for a quiet break. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the buffalo that call the park their home.
The park also hosts the De Young Art Museum and the California Academy of Sciences building. The De Young offers an amazing selection of fine art. The top floor of the De Young museum presents breathtaking views of the park and the city. The new California Academy of Sciences building is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. The museum supports a green roof, natural lighting, and many other environmentally-friendly features.
After leaving Golden Gate Park, the bus continues down 19th Avenue eventually arriving at San Francisco State University. Near SFSU’s campus is Lake Merced. Several golf courses are near the lake and the university. The lake also offers a 4.5 mile loop to walk, run, or bike around.
The bus eventually ends at Daly City Station where you can either take it back into town or take BART into the city. Although not necessarily close to the station, the San Bruno Mountain State Park can be easily reached by the end of the line and offers a wide selection of paths offer some interesting views of the city and the bay.
Type of Transport: Tram
City: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Current Cost: Adult AU$3.80
Start: University of Melbourne map
Finish: Kew map
Route Map: http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/maps-stations-stops/metropolitan-trams/tram/724
Trams running through the streets is one of the iconic images that comes to mind when thinking about Melbourne. The #16 tram starts in Northern Melbourne at the University, heads south down Swanston street and the city, across St Kilda bridge in to Southbank and the Arts Precinct. It continues south towards St. Kilda beach and the Esplanade before turning west up Balaclava Road towards Malvern and Kew. For locals this routes is agonizingly slow and out-of-the-way, but for the traveler intent on a scenic trip via public transit, this route is ideal.
Points of Interest:
University of Melbourne
The tram starts on Swanston Street at the University of Melbourne. Have a stroll around the second oldest university in Australia reflected in the beautiful architecture of the Old Quad and Old Arts Building. The affiliated residential colleges of the University feature notable architecture. Be sure to swing by OrmondCollege with its large clock tower and Newman College’s chapel.
Downtown Melbourne – Swanston Street
Heading south on the tram from Melbourne University will land you on Swanston Street. Swanston Street runs through the center of downtown Melbourne and ends at Federation Square. While the street is bustling with bars, shops, and restaurants – the real gems are hidden in Melbourne’s lane ways. Since the 1990s, Melbourne’s lanes have developed and begun to be recognized around the world. As you stroll among the streets, keep your eyes pealed for ACDC Lane and Dame Edna Place. Find world renowned urban art in Hosier Lane, listen to live music in Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, or dance and drink at the St Jeromes Laneway Festival.
After crossing over Princes Bridge on to St. Kilda Road you will find yourself in Southbank with the Arts Center and the National Gallery of Victoria – the oldest and largest public art gallery in Australia with a on of the best collections of Australian and Aboriginal art. If it’s too beautiful outside to miss, cross the street to the Queen Victoria Gardens or walk along the Yarra River.
As the tram continues south, it passes by Albert Park. The five mile trail around Albert Park Lake is unbeatable on a sunny day. If a quiet stroll isn’t your thing, and if the season is right, Albert Park also hosts the Melbourne Grand Prix circuit. This peaceful park becomes a haven for loud, fast cars zooming around.
St. Kilda Beach
Continuing past Albert Park down Fitzroy Street brings you to St Kilda Harbour and Beach. Grab a drink and watch the waves at the Esplanade Hotel (the Espy), catch in some rides at Luna Park, go shopping on Acland Street, or just hang out on the beach. Acland Street also has the best selection of bakeries around.
Carlisle Street and Balaclava Road
After leaving St Kilda Beach, the tram then turns back in land and continues up Carlisle Street to St Kilda East. Between Chapel Street and Hotham Street is the Balaclava Train station. Around the train station are a number of shops and restaurants including The Wall cafe – arguably the best coffee in Melbourne and the famous Glicks Bakery – some of the best bagels in Melbourne. Balaclava has a large Orthodox Jewish population which can be seen in the many Kosher delis and bakeries.
Hawthorn and Kew
From Balaclava you can either jump on the train to head back into the city, or continue on the tram down Balaclava Road, through Malvern East and in to Hawthorn and Kew. #16 runs down Glenferrie Road. The Kooyong Tennis Stadium, the original home of the Australian Open, is located on Glenferrie Road. The tram line ends in Kew, one of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs with a number of Victorian and Art Deco mansions.
Type of Transport: Bus
City: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Current Cost: Adult CA$3.75
Start: Homer Street at Georgia Street map
Finish: Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal map
Route Map: http://www.translink.ca/~/media/Route_Files/71/routemap/r250.ashx
This is the route that inspired this blog. The bus ride begins in downtown Vancouver, goes through the city and Stanley Park, across Lion’s Gate Bridge into the North Shore, then along Marine Drive in West Vancouver to end up at Horseshoe Bay. As a local bus, the route is slower, not as crowded, and provides a good opportunity to see stunning landscapes and beautiful architecture.
Points of Interest:
Downtown Vancouver (around West Georgia and Homer Streets) – Bus 250 starts in the heart of downtown Vancouver. A block away is Library Square. The Colloseum-like building was opened in 1995 and has since been a center of cultural events and activities in Vancouver.
Frequent art exhibits and performances take place outside the library. Be sure to explore the interesting architecture in and around the building. The inside lower level frequently hosts art exhibitions and inside the main library you can find a number of books and resources on Vancouver’s culture and history. Be sure to check the library calendar for free upcoming community events.
If you’re craving a drink and some food, check out The Railway Club one block down at Seymour and Dunsmuir Street. This funky bar regularly offers live music every night of the week and has a nice bar menu serving lunch and dinner. The bar even has an interesting history – originally being only open to railway workers.
Stanley Park – Stanley Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America. The park hosts over 400 hectares of an evergreen oasis including cedar, hemlock, and fir trees. A number of trails cross through and around the park. The Stanley Park seawall is a perfect place to bike and stroll around the park and capture amazing views of Vancouver’s mountains and beaches.
Lions Gate Bridge – After leaving Stanley Park, Bus 250 takes you over Lions Gate Bridge. Heading northbound over the bridge, you will have the opportunity to see The Lions – a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver, and the namesake of the bridge. As you go over the bridge you get an excellent view of the mountains, the Burrard Inlet, and North and West Vancouver.
Marine Drive – After crossing Lions Gate Bridge, Bus 250 quickly makes its way on to Marine Drive. As a local bus, it slowly winds its way through the neighborhoods of West Vancouver – one of Greater Vancouver’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Along the way you will have the opportunity to see beautiful houses and stunning water views. Small neighborhood centers offer cute cafes and boutique shopping areas – especially around 24th Street. Also look out for small neighborhood parks that offer stunning mountain and water views. Keep your eyes out for Eagle Island – a small residential island right off the shore.
Lighthouse Park – Lighthouse Park is tucked away off Marine Drive in West Vancouver at the south end of Beacon Lane. The park offers a number of hiking trails. The Point Atkinson Lighthouse at the end of the park offers fantastic views of the Burrard Inlet and across into the city of Vancouver. The park is almost completely covered in rugged, virgin rainforest. Some of the trees reach up to 200 ft (61 meters) tall and are 500 years old.
Horseshoe Bay – Horseshoe Bay lies on the tip of West Vancouver and the entrance to Howe Sound. This small community hosts a major BC Ferries terminal. Ferries depart from here regularly to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Horseshoe Bay also marks the end of Highway 1 on the BC mainland. A number of small restaurants and shops lie in Horseshoe Bay as do views of Howe Sound and the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler, BC. After your pleasant scenic transit ride on Bus 250, grab some fish and chips, a cool drink, and take in the scenery.
Want to get away for under $5?
In the coming months, Scenic Travel will introduce public transit routes in cities around the world that provide the best that cities have to offer – from beautiful scenery, to historical and cultural relics, to hip neighborhoods and local highlights.
Public transport offers an affordable, sustainable, low-key way to explore a new city, and Scenic Travel aims to find the best routes the world has to offer.
Check back soon to find the best public transport route in your city.