San Francisco, CA: March 4-6, 2017
Another weekend trip alert! San Francisco! One of my favorites cities! This city is the coolest - so much to do and so pretty! Also, being an hour away from wine country does not hurt either! Because of my job, I get out to San Fran a couple times a year at least, and have visited Napa and Sonoma several times as well as an add on to a SF trip. This is super easy to do, so many times I'm in SF for the week, then I'll rent a car and do the weekend in wine country. It's only about an hour drive with no traffic from SFO airport, and totally worth it if you are craving wine time or just a little more warmth (it's usually 10 degrees warmer and much less windy than SF out in the vines). However, this trip was fun because I went out during the week for work, and Joe flew out and met me for the weekend since he had never been! So by the time he showed up I had reaquainted myself with the geography of the city, and was ready to show him around and explore more myself. We stayed at the Parc 55 hotel in Union Square- which is about $250/night. It's in a great location, the rooms are a good size, then again what isn't a great location in SF, you can basically walk everywhere! Or if the hills are getting to you, you can always live out tourist dreams and hop on a cable car.
March 4: The first day we kicked off with an excursion to Muir Woods and Sausalito. I bought this ahead of time online for $64/each through a site called viator. Well worth the money. It was a half day tour and we elected the morning portion. We met them in Fisherman's Wharf, and hopped on a bus which took us first across the Golden Gate bridge. It stopped briefly for bathrooms, views and photo opps. Next stop was Muir Woods- the entrance fee was included in the excursion price. We were given 1hr 30min to walk around and check the park out. It was a little damp and chilly, but we dressed appropriately, and were just fine. The paths/trails were very manicured so we had no problem walking around in our sneakers. It is a gorgeous park with lots of huge redwood trees, some streams, and the paths were at different heights so you could check out different views. The park does not have cell service, so you do need to either drive there yourself, go with a tour or pre-arrange taxis, no ubering from here. After our little hike around the park, the last tour stop was Sausalito, which is a really cute town in Marin county across the bay from SF. Great views of the city, and lots of really cute restaurants, bakeries and boutiques. We grabbed pastries for brunch and sat on the water - then checked out the amazing dream homes (so adorable I want them all). After about an hour, it was back on the bus and back to Fisherman's wharf. From there, we headed to the hotel for a minute (we took an uber, about $11 to Union Square), and from there we walked to the Painted Ladies, and through Haight-Ashbury. It's like walking through the 60's there I swear, so very retro and funky! And the houses! I love the architecture in San Francisco- the houses are just too cute! We packed in a ton for our first day, so we made our way back to homebase and from there it was dinner and drinks in Union Square.
March 5: Why relax? With only 2 full days in SF we had to try and do it all of course! We started out with a bike ride - we rented bikes in Fisherman's wharf (about $20 per person) and rode to the Golden Gate bridge. It is super flat that way, and there is a great bike trail that hugs the cost almost the entire way (cuts through a few parks as well) Took us a little less than an hour to bike to the bridge, where we walked across it (of course) as well as checked out Presidio park and Cliff side. You get such great views of everything up to, and on, that bridge! After our bike ride back, we checked out the sea lions at Pier 39 and walked to the Ferry Building where we had some lunch at an oyster place overlooking the bay. Was it pricey? Yes, but necessary. I had to give Joe the full San Fran experience! I have been to Alcatraz before by myself, and it is worth checking out for sure, however with time being limited I did not take Joe there. Gotta leave something for next time. But on the subject of Alcatraz, it is a 10min ferry ride, you should buy tickets in advance, and give yourself an hour to do the audio tour and walk the island. Another spot where you get great views of the city from across the water. Anyways, back to our trip- after the Ferry building we slowly made our way back to the hotel- stopping along the way to take in a few of the San Fran sights - Coit tower, Washington square park, Chinatown, Lombard street, all the way back to the hotel. After another day of a million miles of walking/biking/etc- all we had the energy for was happy hour at a cocktail bar 3 blocks away (PCH-a really cool spot) and dinner another few blocks away.
March 6: After a quick breakfast at the hotel (buffet style and comped, just the way I like it) we took the free hotel shuttle to the airport (30-40min ride). SFO is a big ass airport and always busy, so give yourself extra time. From Union Square, you can also take the subway which goes directly to the airport- much cheaper but does take more like an hour. Until next time San Fran!
Recommendations for San Francisco:
- Another place where being comfortable = layers. It's hot during the days, cold during the nights, sometimes foggy, sometimes rainy, just pack for all conditions and seasons.
- For flat surfaces, go towards the water, because the rest is all hills!
- The touristy spots and activities here are touristy for a reason...they are all awesome. Go to Fisherman's wharf, see the Sea Lions at Pier 39 (they are actually really entertaining), get lunch at the Ferry Market, eat chocolate at Ghiradelli Square, walk over the Golden Gate Bridge, hang out in one of the awesome city parks, ride the Cable Car up and down the hills, check out the windiest road Lombard Street, do the tour of Alcatraz, and take a ferry ride under the Golden Gate.
Cost Breakdown for one weekend/2 people:
Parc 55 Hotel: $500 (breakfast included)
Joe's uber ride from airport to hotel and back from Fisherman's wharf: $36
Excursions (bike ride and half day tour): $168
Total for 2 of us: $1004