Holy crap San Francisco, I feel like you’ve become a part of me now – all those steep hills that sucked all the energy out of me, the late night crowds down in Pier 39, Fishermen’s Wharf and the hustle and bustle in Chinatown. I couldn’t get enough of you SF, even though I was dragging my feet by 6PM.
Exploring SF –
Friday July 10th 2015, the first day in SF, we headed right for the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge! And by we I mean my boyfriend Dave and myself, as always. We actually drove across it twice! Unfortunately, there was a toll on the way back to the city that we didn’t know about, but luckily our rental car was equip with a transponder to pay tolls, otherwise I believe it gets charged to the license plate. If you don’t feel like dealing with traffic or tolls you can simply rent a bike and ride it across the bridge! It was a very common thing and groups of people seemed to really enjoy this. Sadly, we didn’t have time to do something like that. Next time fo sho.
After crossing the bridge back to the city, we decided to check into our hotel at the Howard Johnson on Lombard. (Yelp!)
After check-in, we made our way up to the world famous winding Lombard Street. This street is considered the crookiest street in the world. Apparently there are also landmarked homes on Lombard. I didn’t find this out til after we left though!
After a few snap shots at Lombard we decided to head down to the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 for shopping & food. I was hoping to see the barking sea loins, but they weren’t there! If you love seafood, the Warf will satisfy your deepest seafood cravings. They had everything, even lobsicles! Pier 39 is shopping and food heaven- boutiques and eateries everywhere. If you’re looking for a quick carnival type snack, try Trish’s Mini Donuts. They’re very cute and bite sized tasty goodness!
Saturday, the 11th, we woke up nice and early so we could have a full day to explore San Fran.(It was also Dave’s birthday too!) We started our day with a cup of coffee from Notes from Underground. It was a tiny local café with your basic espresso beverages and simple breakfast options. If I was a local, this would probably be my go-to spot.
We then continued on, headed to Chinatown! I felt like I walked right into Hong Kong – totally different feel compared to NYC’s Chinatown, plus SF is the oldest and biggest Chinatown outside of Asia! Chinatown is centered on Grant and Stockton street. As soon as you see the hanging lanterns, you’ll know you’re there!
There were groups of people scrounging the cute-sized bakeries, fish markets, fruit and vegetable stands in search of what they’re going to make for dinner. All while tourists are in search of their perfect souvenirs. For me, I prefer magnets, pressed pennies or snap shots!
Before we made our way downtown we stopped at a small cafe for pork buns and chocolate chips cookies! We’ve always been snackers on our trips. We just don’t have the time nor want to – have a sit down dinner when were on vacation. Too many other cooler things to do 😉
Downtown bound – to check out some of the skyscrapers, including the Transamerica Pyramid. We wandered up to Union Square where we decided to have a couple of birthday drinks for Dave – time to take in the sights and sounds. Union Square is a very popular place, comparable to the popularity of “The Bean” in Chicago. All the huge designer stores are located in the area too, if that’s your thing, including Chanel, Gucci… oh and there’s a mega sized Macy’s! I think there was an entire floor in Macy’s just for handbags alone. The fanciest hotels and eateries were also located in this area too.
Coit Tower was our next uphill hike. We were in search of the wild parrots and of course, the epic views of SF. To get to Coit Tower by foot you have to make your way to Telegraph Hill. Once there, you’ll march up a series of stairs that will lead you right to Coit Tower. You could take the bus or drive up to this area, but climbing is much more fun! We found very cool photo spots on the way up that had panoramic views of the city. Oh and the tower itself closed at 6pm, so we couldn’t go inside to the top, but the outside still had all the wonderful picturesque views. Also, there were no parrots to be found. I guess it was the wrong time for both but still an amazing site to see.
Our final stop for the evening was a meet up with friends and we took the trolley! Riding the trolley was one thing I really wanted to do. We had to wait at least 30minutes to get on it and it was I believe, $7 per person, but totally worth it in my opinion. No better way to end a full day in SF!
We met our friends at Wayne White and Woodrow White’s joint art exhibit at Heron Arts, which was a free, once in a lifetime, father-son-side-by-side art show in SF! It was a unique oppertunity to be apart of and to enjoy. Check out this link to a very cool interview with Wanye White at Hoodline.
Before parting back to our hotel after the art show, our friends recommended that we use Uber to get a ride. I’ve never used Uber nor did I really know what it was about. It’s essentially car service, but it’s local people with their normal everyday cars giving normal everyday people lifts. After you download the app to your smartphone, you simply request a ride and then, you’ll be able to see the driver, info about them and where they are. It was inexpensive and a great way to socialize with a local. Best idea, thanks friends!
Before we called it a night around 12am we decided to go to a late or early breakfast (depending on how you look at it 😉 ), at Mel’s on Lombard.
What I made sure to bring–
A very comfortable pair of sneakers
Next Visit Bucket List–
Top of Coit Tower
Chantall Guillon Macarons
See the sea lions @ Pier 39 (When we went they weren’t there!)
Aquarium of the Bay (If it ended up being a rainy stay in SF we were going to go here. Next time!)
Cruise Tunes –
The next stop on this road trip is Las Vegas! I wrote this on Sunday the 12th in the car while we were driving through the dry mountains between SF and Las Vegas.
Various photos credited to Dave.