San Francisco 49 mile scenic drive

The 49-mile scenic drive winds its way through the skyscraper canyons of downtown to the windswept sand dunes of Ocean Beach, with stops at famous tourists spots such as Chinatown. We chose to see the sights from the comfort of a Bentley Continental.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET
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Route markers

The scenic drive is well-marked, with signs pointing out which way to go. And it is good we had the signs, as the Bentley's navigation system is next to useless.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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San Francisco City Hall

A typically foggy day shrouds the historic City Hall in mist. City Hall was built in 1915, replacing the prior building destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. It was upgraded after the Loma Prieta earthquake. We parked the Bentley next to the Civic Center Plaza, which stretches out in front of the building.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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Chinatown

At the corner of California Street and Grant Avenue is the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest urban Chinese community in the U.S. The street is lined with shops and restaurants. We cruise through and get a photo out of the front window.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square, an area known for specialty chocolate, is undergoing renovation, and there were no good photo opportunities around, so we took a nice picture of the car.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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Palace of Fine Arts

This building was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, and was originally built as a temporary structure. But it avoided the wrecking ball and was upgraded in 1960. It makes a great background for the Bentley.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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The Presidio/Baker Beach

At the Western edge of the Presidio, outside of the Golden Gate, the Pacific ocean stretches beyond the Bentley. The Presidio was a military base from 1776 to 1994. It has since been converted to civilian use, and houses the Letterman Digital Arts Center, home of Industrial Light & Magic, LucasArts, and Lucasfilm.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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Palace of the Legion of Honor

This museum sits in the northwest corner of San Francisco, and was built in 1924. It also marks the location of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across America.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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Ocean Beach

The Scenic Drive follows the Great Highway along the western edge of San Francisco, where Ocean Beach provides recreation opportunities on the few sunny days of the year.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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Twin Peaks

Nearly a thousand feet high, Twin Peaks rise above San Francisco, providing an excellent vista of the city. Well, on clear days it is a stunning view, but here the Bentley is lost among gray fog.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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