SAN FRANCISCO -- Sure, you can hop in your car, drive across the Bay Bridge, hope for a space in a paid-parking lot and hoof it a few blocks over to San Francisco's Ferry Building.
Or, you can avoid the traffic -- both foot and auto -- by taking the ferry. Head to Jack London Square in Oakland, park for free, buy a $12 round-trip ticket on the ferry (tickets for kids ages 5-12 are $6.50, under 5 ride free, and seniors 65 and older are $7) and sit back, relax and enjoy the view (with the salty breeze in your hair) as you make the half-hour trip on the water to the Ferry Building.
Once you've traversed the bay, it's just a few steps to the front of the Ferry Building, where the grand giant clock greets visitors to a unique San Francisco shopping experience.
Merchants who line the bottom floor of the large open-air marketplace peddle everything from pastries, sourdough bread and gelato to souvenirs.
Better yet, the Ferry Building is also the place where every Tuesday and Saturday, fresh produce takes center stage as the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market sets up shop at outside the building, along the Embarcadero, and overflows to the rear plaza, where the ferries dock. This popular market began as a one-time event in 1992 and due to overwhelming support became a year-round, twice-a-week market in 1993. Upward of 15,000 shoppers visit each Saturday.
If shopping and sampling only-in-the-city food isn't enough to fill your day, join one of the walking tours of the historic Ferry Building conducted by San Francisco City Guides. The tours are free and begin at noon on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays.
The opportunity to learn the history and architectural information of the Ferry Building is offered along with a sampling of the local harvest.
It's an afternoon of fresh air aboard the ferry topped off with fresh food at San Francisco's Ferry Building.
Bee assistant librarian Karen Aiello can be reached at at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2392.