What In The World Is This: The Land’s End Edition

Land's End, San Francisco

img_0891
Visit San Francisco. See the touristy things to see: The Bridge. The Park. The Other Park. The Prison. The Woods. The Wharf. The Baseball. The Best Interactive Museum In The World. And so on…

But I have something for you to see that it took me about nine trips to even hear about.

I got to San Francisco at least once a year for work, if not more. So when my friend and colleague Emily told me we should go see Land’s End and the Sutro Baths, I basically looked at her with the puzzled expression of a newborn duck trying to understand what this world is.

But she’s not wrong. This place exists and it is glorious.

THE LAND’S END

Now, Land’s End is not the famous Land’s End in Cornwall, nor is it the clothing company with the mistyped apostrophy named after the famous spot in Cornwall, Lands’ End. This is a spot on the west side of San Francisco, all the way over here:

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-08-13-09
(I really do enjoy the lack of creativity on their part though for these names. How literal do you have to be to go: “Ah, we’ve reached water. So we shall name this place… Land’s End.”)

This spot is easily one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen in San Francisco. You come to these jutting epic cliffs that you can travel down, all the way to the water, and stone ruins from baths (more to come) that you can climb upon and caves you can climb into it.

There is also the legendary Coastal Trail that you can hike to get some insane views of the Golden Gate Bridge and see shipwrecks at low tide.

img_1051
THE SUTRO BATHS

Additionally, what used to lay here were the Sutro Baths. It was the world’s largest indoor swimming pool, opened in 1896. During high tide, water from the ocean would flow directly into it. It had six pools, swinging rings, a 2700 amphitheater, an ice skating rink and a museum showing an extensive collection of taxidermied animals. Thomas Edison even filmed it in 1897:

This is what they looked like at their heyday:

And then in 1966 it burned down and is now in ruins…

And you can walk through those ruins! There are metal rods, old stone structures, it’s completely traversable and kind of amazing to see what was once here.

THE CAMERA OBSCURA

There’s also a fantastic gigantic Camera Obscura just sitting there that’s been in operation since 1946. (And if you need a brush up on your science, a camera obscura is “the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen, or for instance a wall, is projected through a small hole in that screen as an inverted image, left to right and upside down, on a surface opposite to the opening.” Though this particular one refers to the box that actually makes the projection. It’s basically the predecessor of the modern camera). So if you’ve never seen one in action, this is the way to go.

(And if you need a brush up on your science, a camera obscura is “the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen, or for instance a wall, is projected through a small hole in that screen as an inverted image, left to right and upside down, on a surface opposite to the opening.” Though this particular one refers to the box that actually makes the projection. It’s basically the predecessor of the modern camera). So if you’ve never seen one in action, this is the way to go.

Land's End, San Francisco
The whole location took about an hour to get to from downtown San Francisco by public transport and it was worth it. So if you want to do something even long term visitors of San Francisco hasn’t done, this is the spot to check out.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT