Sometimes life happens and we need to make adjustments to the best-laid plans. I had been looking forward to our visit to San Fran since the day we booked it in lieu of Valentine’s Day gifts. Three days in one of my favorite cities, I couldn’t wait! Because of other more pressing life events, we had to leave later than planned and return earlier, reducing our trip to 36 hours. Add in some rain and some very soaked shoes, Justin and I still had a great time exploring. I’m by no means a San Fransisco expert, but after a few visits to this great city I’ve learned a thing or two.
Justin and I stayed at the Fairmont Hotel, an old and beautiful hotel on the top of a (very steep) hill. It’s right beside Chinatown which lends itself to some fun exploring. It suited our needs just fine, but truth be told we were barely in our room, arriving around 11 PM Friday night and out the next day exploring by 8AM.
Since we were only in San Fransisco for 36 hours day one was basically our entire trip. We managed to squeeze quite a lot into Saturday without feeling rushed.
We took an uber to Pier 39 in hopes of going to Alcatraz for their early bird tour at 8:45 AM. Turns out weekend tours of Alcatraz fill up days, weeks and sometimes months in advance. Lesson one, book your tickets right away! We ended up walking to the Ferry Building Market, one of my favorite spots in the city. Located right on the Bay on Embarcadero Street, the Ferry Building Market hosts an indoor/outdoor farmers market, several artisan shops, and some great eats. A friend of mine who lives in the city brought me here the first time and it was love at first sight.
Justin and I were hungry and ate at Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop. Fresh milk and cheese and jam sandwiches! We walked around and tried a Chinese BBQ Pork Bun and slurped down a few oysters on the half shell. We then got coffee at Blue Bottle, a local coffee staple. A word to the wise on this one, their Ferry Building Marketplace location is always packed but they have other locations around the city that you usually can order right away at.
If you can believe it we ate again soon after that. I’ve heard that Yank Sing has the best Dim Sum in San Fransisco and as a dim sum lover had to check it out while were were in the area (the financial district). I’d have to agree, this place is good! Justin hadn’t had dim sum before and we both enjoyed checking out all the different foods that passed by us on carts. We tried duck, more Chinese BBQ Pork Buns (they are so good), ribs, and a variety of other seafood dishes.
Next we walked up Market Street to SOMA (South of Market) and ended up at the Twitter headquarters. They have the best market downstairs; groceries, a cute coffee shop, wine bar and also a few restaurants. San Fransisco is great for coffee, wine and beer, and while here I wanted to make sure I got my fill of both.
We continued up Hayes street to Hayes Valley, my favorite neighborhood in San Fransisco. There are so many great shops and restaurants here. In the area? Try Stacks for breakfast and make sure to visit Azil Boutique for the prettiest, delicate jewelry. In the mood for ice cream? Make sure to try Smitten Ice Cream. They actually make their ice cream with liquid nitrogen and it is delicious. We stopped for beers at Momi Toby’s Revolution Cafe & Art Bar. It’s tucked away off the main street and had a great, covered patio that let us enjoy our drink outside and experience the rain.
No trip to San Fransisco would be complete without a visit to Alamo Park. It’s a beautiful park at the top of a hill with great views of the city. Most famously it boasts the home place of the Painted Ladies, the adorable houses made popular by the TV show Full House.
From here we walked to Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. It was my first time seeing it and I’ve got to say it’s pretty amazing. It’s such a beautiful, quirky street it’s no wonder tourists flock to take pictures. We walked around the neighborhood after admiring some truly beautiful homes.
After a busy day of exploring we went back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to North Beach. North Beach is San Fransisco’s Little Italy. It has some great cafes and a lively bar scene. We ate at Caffe DeLucchi and enjoyed some decent pasta and Prosecco.
Even though at this point we were both exhausted, I insisted on a visit to the Press Club for drinks. The Press Club is the epitome of cool. It’s an underground bar with a swanky atmosphere. The DJ and mood lighting set the scene. The Press Club is what you think about when you imagine a “big city” bar/lounge. We enjoyed our glasses of wine before going home to put our PJs on and retire for the night.
Justin and I woke up ready to enjoy our last few hours in the city. A good friend of mine lives in San Fransisco so we met up with her and her boyfriend at Perry’s Financial District location. Great views of the Bay and bridge from their back windows, a definite must try.
We walked back after brunch together and enjoyed the sun that had finally come out.
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a Philz Coffee Iced Mint Mojito. Like coffee? Like mint? Then you must try this drink.
We realized we were behind schedule and needed to be in the uber… like now, and practically ran the 20 minute walk back to our hotel. Those hills will get ya! Justin and I were both a bit sweaty and out of breath by the time we made it up California Street to our hotel.
It started to rain again as we grabbed our uber to the airport, and I was appreciative for the morning reprieve so we could walk unencumbered by an umbrella our last moments in the city.
I think the best thing about San Fransisco is that it is so walkable. We took more ubers this time than normal because of the rain but we were still able to walk and explore quite a bit. Coming from a city where you need to drive from point A to point B, it’s nice to be able to let your feet take you were you need to go. It might have been short, but we had an enjoyable trip. I think Justin is a new San Fransisco lover too.
See you soon San Fran!
Do you love this city too? I’m always looking for tips on the best restaurants. Where should we try our next visit?
Here are some spots to check out if you plan on visiting San Fransisco soon. Obviously this list is by no means exhaustive, there is so much to do and see in this city I think a list like this could go on for pages, these are just some favorites I’ve discovered:
Ferry Building Marketplace
The Painted Ladies and Alamo Park
Golden Gate Park
The Marin Headlands
Beach Blanket Babylon (an amazing and unique show)
Golden Boy Pizza (supposedly the best pizza in town)
Yank Sing Dim Sum
Smitten Ice Cream
Blue Bottle Coffee
Two Sisters Bar and Books
KitTea (It’s actually a tea parlor where cats roam free)