It's another travel post, and this one is all about my FAVORITE US city!
I first went to San Francisco when I was itty-bitty, then again when I was ten, back again at twelve (just before the earthquake of '89), again at eighteen, then a couple more times as an adult. I should probably consider moving there! <3
I don't know what it is that I love so much about SF. Could be the beautiful architecture, the people, the weather?, the awesome aunt and uncle I have that live there... I think I just love the city feel in a smaller place. San Francisco is only 7miles by 7miles, a compact city sitting between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. In this city there are countless things to entertain, from parks and more parks, shopping and exhibits, cable cars and Alcatraz, to amazing restaurants and bars.
Several people have asked me what we did with our whole family for an entire week in this city, so I thought I'd give you the run-down of our whole week. And photos included, of course. Per usual I took my pentax 645n film camera in my purse (it's heavy, but it fits really well since I don't carry a lot of other things). Also had 7 rolls of fuji400h film + 1 more roll I bought at a camera store by the pier.
Monday we arrived at SFO at 11:30am and took Uber to our Airbnb in the Mission District. We found a moroccan restaurant called Khamsa—really good, really spicy. I'm not sure my kids have ever had Moroccan, but they liked it! We walked to a neighborhood market for groceries and then checked into our Airbnb. My aunt and uncle stopped by and then we walked to Little Star Pizza for dinner. Cute, trendy place with delicious deep dish pizza!
(Airbnb below. Wasn't it cute?)
Tuesday we were up early for a Dylan’s Tour for the day. We took an Uber to the pier and boarded our small bus and started with a driving tour of the city. I love tours like this, especially with a locally born and raised guide. We saw the different neighborhoods and learned some fun facts and history. Stopped at Dolores Park and the Golden Gate Bridge for photos. Also stopped at Haight and Ashbury for a snack at another small market and then drove to Muir Woods. That park was amazing! The tall trees, fresh air, clover ground cover… And the quiet.
After Muir Woods we went into Sausalito for lunch. Found a deli by the water called Venice Deli. Also ice cream. Tour took us to the Palace of Fine Arts. Then dropped us off for our Alcatraz tour. This was definitely a highlight! I have visited twice before and still learned new things (or things I had forgotten). I didn’t know the officers' families, including their children, lived on the island. I didn’t remember the beautiful gardens and flowers on the island. The empty cells and the wide open recreational yard were kind of creepy. We all enjoyed this tour. I think they said the average was 2.5 hours for the tour and we were there for at least 3 hours.
After Alcatraz we walked down to Pier 39 in hopes we would see the sea lions. There were a couple docks with sunbathing sea lions, but most have left for mating season down south. The ones that were there were fun to watch anyway.
We walked to an Italian restaurant for dinner. It was only .8 miles but, of course, up hill. The food at Trattoria Contadina was so good! Meal was great. And the “Spaghetti 25” Harrison ordered was great too. ;)
Wednesday husband and I walked to coffee and cycling class. Kids made omelettes for themselves.
We started that morning at Coit Tower then walked up Lombard Street. Walked down Hyde Street to cable car line. Rode cable car to Chinatown where we had dim sum and other interesting items for lunch. Walked to Exploratorium on wharf and met my aunt and uncle. Very fun! Boys went to sports bar (The Old Ship Saloon) for the college world series game. Cecelia and I walked to Pier 39 and shopped. Took taxi to financial district were we shopped a little more. Met boys and walked to sushi restaurant (first place was $200per person. Ha! So we found a cheaper option around the corner). Uber-ed home. Exhausted.
Thursday morning we all walked to breakfast at Stable Cafe. Outdoor seating, good food and really great place! Started day at Land’s End and hiked to beaches and walked through a beautiful neighborhood. Went to lunch at a brewery on Haight. Then walked to Alamo Park to photograph the Painted Ladies. Went back to the apartment and we all took naps. :)
Spent the evening at Oracle Park for Giants game. Great weather and it was fun, but Giants lost. Ended the night at Creamery, near our apartment, for an ice cream treat.
Friday we had breakfast in the apartment and then headed to the pier to a rental bike place. We rode over Golden Gate Bridge! It was actually a nerve-wracking experience because it was so crowded from tourists and loud from traffic, but at least we can say we did it. Sausalito was beautiful. Such a charming place along the bay. We parked our bikes for $3/bike and walked up the block to The Sausalito Taco Shop. Very good watermelon margarita! Meal was delicious and we sat on the patio area overlooking the water. Walked down the street to window shop a little and then caught the ferry back to SF. Ferry ride with a bike is a little different. They lean the bikes on each other so it’s a mess and a little chaotic, but somehow it all worked out. Returned our bikes, went back to the apartment to clean up, and then went to my aunt and uncle's place for dinner. Their apartment is a nice place in a quieter part of town. Looked through old photos together, had dinner, walked around their neighborhood and saw some amazing homes and their multi-million dollar views of the bay. Loved spending the evening with them!
Saturday we rented a vehicle and packed up our stuff. Before leaving the neighborhood, we walked to breakfast at Tartine Bakery. Beautiful place! And as always, amazing food. My omelette was unforgettable. Sam didn’t love his fish eggs on his toast and eggs, but the rest of us enjoyed our breakfast. We drove through the city to see the bunkers built into the hills beyond the Golden Gate. Awesome views and fun to hike around. Drove toward Golden Gate Park but stopped for lunch at Lou’s Cafe first. It wasn’t the fanciest place but had great reviews from locals. It was one of the top vegetarian sandwiches I’ve ever had! Spicy with jalepeno sauce and sandwich could easily be shared, but YUM! Spent afternoon in Golden Gate Park with yet another bike ride. Saw the beautiful park, including the buffalo and the beach. We were exhausted (because of course we had to take the hilly route) and sat for a few minutes listening to a pianist in the park. We were all exhausted once again, so we left the park and drove to our hotel by the airport. Kids went to In&Out burger for dinner, husband and I went to a restaurant in Burlingame. It was a nice downtown area with high-end shops. Restaurant was Peruvian and was called Limon Rotisserie. Very good as well!
We returned the rental car and took Uber back to our hotel. Went to bed for a 4:30am shuttle ride to the airport.
San Francisco 2019 was such a great trip!
Best sandwich ever!
...A note about the homeless population. Yes, there were homeless on some streets. Many would have carts full of random things and set up camp on a corner until they were told to pack up (and move across the street). I was never approached or asked for money. I get asked for money almost daily in downtown Davenport but not on the streets of SF.