I’ve wanted to go there for YEARS. I’ve always thought I may like that city, and may even live there. (Keep in mind I thought that knowing next to nothing about the city. Haha).
So I know it’s taken me over a week to share my adventures, but I’ve finally got everything in order – so here we go!
I would say my favorite places that are a MUST SEE are the following:
Eat local! Don’t go to the places you always go! Applebee’s, In and Out, etc. Go to the unique places when you have the chance. Great breakfast? Dottie’s True Blue Cafe and The Grove at Yerba Buena were our favorites! Try the Sourdough at Boudin’s, chocolate sundaes at Ghiradelli’s, and any good-looking food trucks you come across! My only regret? We didn’t eat seafood! One of my roommates is a vegetarian, and 2 others don’t like seafood…so I’ll have to go again with someone who will eat it with me!
Bay Bridge at NIGHT! We walked all along the piers (43-47) and found some that gave extraordinary views of the ocean, the bridge, and the city. This was one of our favorite nights.
Palace of Fine Arts. This wasn’t even on our list of things to see. No one ever talked about it. But on our last day we took a short bus tour in Presidio and saw it in the distance. I thought is was a mosque or something. It was beautiful. Luckily, some ladies on the bus knew what it was and recommended we stop by before we go! We did and saw amazing architecture, a group of ethnic dancers, and even a surprise proposal! I’d say this is a MUST see.
Speaking of Presidio – also a must see. It’s a great place for hikes, but we didn’t have enough time for one like we thought we would. BUT we loved the picnic in the park that happened on Sunday. There were tons of people and food trucks. It was fun to just chill and feel like we were a part of the city. Inspiration point was pretty inspiring, too. 😉
Pier 39 – We stayed here for over an hour! It was ridiculous how much fun we had here. We humanized the seals, watched them fight over napping spaces, and felt like kids as we laughed at everything the animals did. I’d highly recommend this spot.
Fisherman’s Wharf – This is a big one. Just walk around – and give yourself time to browse. We especially loved watching street artists perform. We saw rappers, spray paint artist, and even a 65-year old acrobat! (My favorite was actually the spray paint artist. He was AMAZING!)
Muir Woods – This is a little out of San Fran, obviously. But worth it. I had some pretty bad blisters so I wasn’t able to do the hike. 🙁 So while my roommates hiked I walked the lower trails and found a huge log to sit on and read. I listened the water and forest and just soaked it in. It was an amazing spiritual experience. It’s a must see.
Alcatraz – This was great! We loved the ferry trip, the historical videos and displays, tour of the prison, and the beautiful scenery and view on the island. The audio tour is a MUST. We wouldn’t have learned half as much without it!
Bike Tour – We took a bike tour of the city on our first day – and it was awesome! We saw and learned things we never would have seen! Alleys with art, food truck circles, famous and historical buildings that we’d never heard of. We loved this! Tip: Wear sunscreen whether you think you should or not! Also…wear sneakers. Those who didn’t regretted it!
The not so fun part of my trip?
This was the most comical thing about my trip. I got injured EVERYDAY. It was ridiculous. (My roommates and I joked that I got a new blister everyday. Thursday – Mouth, Friday – Feet, Saturday – Neck, Sunday – Finger) I got a bad sunburn on my hands and neck during our bike tour on the first day (The neck didn’t blister until Saturday though.) We had packed for the breezy, cold, and grey weather in San Fran….and were surprised with sun and heat! And on our first day we walked 25 miles total. (This counts from the moment we woke up at 4:30am to climbing in bed at 11:00pm) This was fine, until the very end. We took a detour and scenic route home – a detour that covered almost every hill in San Francisco! I was wearing wedge booties and by the end of that trek, I had the largest blisters I’ve ever seen! They tripled in size the next day because of the funny way I limped around town! 🙂 I also got a ridiculous bruise from my bike. It never hurt, but it sure looked ridiculous!
Packing: I heard this a lot. Pack in layers. I did and on the cool evenings I was so prepared. I was a happy camper! BUT I forgot the lightest layer. I wish I had brought one LIGHT layer. I liked having my scarf, jacket, shirt, and sweaters – but on the hot days I wished I just had a t-shirt!
Wear Sunscreen: Whether you think you should or not. Just do it. It gets sunny at random times, and even with grey skies you can burn!
Take your time: Be realistic with your time. We tried to schedule and cram things in. I think it could have spoiled a lot of the experiences, but luckily we know when to stray from the plan! 😉
Have you ever been to San Francisco? What did you do there? Any tips for future trips?