I recently agreed to meet a friend at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and decided that it might be fun to take a ferry boat ride across the bay to get there. I was very pleased with my choice, because once I boarded the ferry, I went instantly into tourist mode. It's not often that most of us get out on the water, and this ride takes you into the middle of everything nautical. As you leave, small private boats, both power and sail, are moving past you towards the estuary entrance. On the Oakland side, a huge container ship is off loading its carge.
Once underway, the boat moves quickly, and if you want to go upstairs and outside, a fresh sea breeze can chill the unwary. You rush by the Bay Bridge with its usual load of cars, and you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alacatraz off in the distance. As always, the most amazing view is the San Francisco skyline, which never fails to amaze, no matter what the time or weather.
Arriving at the Ferry Building, I had time to wander around the waterfront, taking in all the many sites that bring travelers from all over the world. Bright sun shown down on fountains and glass fronted office buildings, and choices for places to have lunch ranged from indoors, where the variety of gourmet foods is challenging, or outside, where you can choose to view the city or the water.
I'm glad I went, and will do it again. It's so easy to do, and it beats the traffic and parking problems that often crop up around the SF waterfront areas. The ferry leaves the Main Street Terminal which is on the western(estuary) edge of the old Alameda Naval Air Station. Schedules are available there, or on line.