Let’s talk about our pre-blog trip to San Francisco.
We went out to San Fran last spring for a friend’s wedding. They are friends of ours from Salt Lake so it was fun to have them show us around their hometown. We spent 6 days touring the city by the bay and loved it!
Planning a trip there soon? Here are some of our favorite spots!
DO: Golden Gate Bridge. Does this even need stating? It’s a must because, I mean, come on… but besides the fact that it’s a San Fran staple, it really is very cool and impressive up close. The fog in the morning is insane and you can’t see the bridge at all, but don’t worry, by about 12pm it starts to clear and then you are like BAM a bridge. A giant orange one. It really does seem to take over the city and is quite beautiful.
DON’T: Take the bike ride over the bridge. Ok, that may or may not be true for you personally. Long story short, Brad and I took this self-guided bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, through Saulsilito, and ending in Tiburon. It was called “Bike the Bridge” by Blazing Saddles bike company. The ride was actually quite beautiful, but we are not avid cyclists and after 22 MILES we were seriously just screaming at each other and spewing death-threats. SO. MUCH. PAIN. We won’t ever be doing that again. But biking on the GG Bridge was a cool bucket list item. Just turn around and go back after that- the 22 mile trek is just too much in this hilly, windy city!
DO: Spend a little time at Fort Point. This brick fortress constructed between 1853 and 1861 was designed to protect San Francisco from a Civil War sea attack that never happened, but was then used in WWII. It now serves as a GIANT museum and is really fascinating to look around.
DO: Walk around Chinatown. There is a really interesting Chinatown entrance “gate” with intricate designs and history, but my favorite part was how the lanterns lined the streets. San Francisco was so beautiful with the buildings and architecture anyway, but the lanterns add a beautiful color and culture to the streets. I must have taken 50 pictures of these lanterns!
Some other things to see in the area are:
The Tin How Temple: a tiny but beautiful active temple covered in lanterns on the ceiling.
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company: a small little factory that you will miss if you didn’t look up the address… but they serve warm and delicious, fresh fortune cookies and give you tons of pieces of broken ones for free! They sell big bags for $5; we got one and munched on them all day. DON’T get the “adult” fortunes. We did, we thought it would be giggly fun, but they were really dumb and in broken english that made very little sense. They were more confusing than “adult.”
DO: Visit North Beach, at the end of Golden Gate Park.
This isn’t even THAT great of a beach, but our memories at this place can’t be beat. After spending the day in Golden Gate Park, another great idea by the way, we crossed the street to visit this little city beach. It was 60 degrees so not ideal beach weather, but we walked in the water and started to see sanddollars. HUNDREDS OF THEM. We were like little children in our jeans RUNNING in the water collecting sanddollars and laughing and playing. We used our hotel ice bucket and the pockets of our coats (ew) and filled them with sanddollars. Don’t worry- they weren’t alive of course and had already been bleached by the sun. We ended up making a beautiful dining room table centerpiece with all our finds, and this was one of our favorite parts of our whole trip!
DO: Take a photo with a trolley car.
DONT: Actually ride on one. I mean you can, but I felt like I could walk faster than take the cable car and it’s really expensive and has long lines. Not worth it for us, but fun to see them and take some photos!
DO: Check out Fisherman’s Wharf. I know- it’s super touristy, but hell I am a sucker for touristy stuff! I don’t care if it’s overdone, it was fun to see all the sea lions basking in the sun and to eat fresh crab cakes and check out the antique arcade museum. Walking around all the shops was a nice break from a packed trip and watching the street performers and artists was actually fun.
DONT: Go out to the wave organ unless it’s the right time of day. Apparently sometimes it plays music from the water running through it, but we just went out there for nothing
DO: Walk around the Palace of Fine Arts. We had a little picnic and nap in the grass here and took in the little bit of sun San Fran had to offer. It was really beautiful and a nice little park area with some beautiful sculptural elements.
WHERE TO EAT: Emerse yourself in seafood! You are in San Fran anyways.
Our two favs were the crab cakes we had at fisherman’s wharf, and the seafood dinner we had at Scoma’s. Scoma’s was my mother-in-law’s favorite place to eat and her one SF suggestion and boy was it a good one! A tad pricey but check it out when you are there!
WHERE TO STAY: San Fran is SO expensive, we stayed right outside of the city in a crappy crappy little motel. But, who cares? We spent VERY little time there at the end of the days. You do have to pay to park in decks around town though and they are very pricey for a day. The best one we used was called 525 Jones Street and was $10 for a whole day- some of the decks are like $50 a day!
CONCLUSION: Go! It’s awesome and we had a blast! Any other favorite parts about the city? Tell us in the comments!