Continuing on from Lake Tahoe, we drove the 3ish hours to San Fran. Our hotel was in the area called fisherman’s wharf, so we drove right along the piers when we first arrived, and my first reaction was that San Fransisco is waaaay different then any city I’ve been to before. It was just like… WEIRD. Right off the bat. San Fran is totally weird. You get that vibe instantly! I thought that was pretty awesome.
When we arrived it was around 12, so we went out to the wharf right away. We were thinking about taking a bus tour, but since we had the rental car, we passed on that. We ended up just walking to see some things. We wanted to head to union square from the wharf, so I checked google maps, and it turns out you can hit Lombard street, china town, and little Italy all on the way to union square. First of all, it’s HARD TO WALK IN SAN FRAN, like I was sweating. There are so many ups and downs, it’s so hilly. Anyway, first stop was Lombard which was extremely busy. The street was so cute. I’ve honestly never heard of it before or seen it. It’s this super zig zag street going downhill one way, and it’s bordered by flower beds. There are actually houses on either side of Lombard too. I have no idea how the residence there deal with the crowds or the parking. You can walk up and down on either side of Lombard so we did that. It’s nothing crazy special but it’s pretty cool to see, and the houses there are so beautiful. We then walked down it too and took a bunch of pictures. We returned a few mornings later to drive down it – tip, we went around 9am and there was NOBODY there, so that’s the time to go if you want photos and such (or even earlier).
Next we continued down a main road and ended up in little Italy. We didn’t stop there but you could definitely tell it was Italian influenced with all of the pizza places and such. That eventually turned into China town when you veer off to the right. China town was super authentic. I saw a crushed turtle on sale for its meat and it really grossed me out, though, for the entire trip, which isn’t a good thing because most of the food we ate there was seafood.
Finally we got into union square which is basically just any downtown of any major city. It reminded me of Toronto. You have your giant Apple Store, Macy’s, Louis Vuitton etc. It was nice but not mind blowing. Definitely familiar but a nice place to hang out nonetheless.
We ended up catching a bus back to the fishersman’s wharf (the F streetcar goes straight there as well, the wharf is the last stop) and got ready to go out for dinner. We had booked a Vietnamese place called The Slanted Door. It was delicious. Everything is served family style so you share it. I thought that was pretty cool. That night, we walked around the wharf and it was poppin for sure. There were all these old cruisers on the street, hydraulics and all, driving on one set of wheels, people yelling, junky tourist shops, hyperstimulation, it was just weird. For example, I saw a guy on a bike pulling some other guy in a wagon, yelling and screaming… San Fran is weird. I love it!
The next day, we woke up, and drove to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, but not without first stopping on the other side and going up to a lookout point to take photos. That day we saw two whales in the bay from the lookout, and they talked about it on GMA the next morning because it’s super rare. We kept driving and went to Muir Woods, where the redwood trees are. They’re pretty massive. The forest was so peaceful and quiet, absolutely gorgeous. I think it’s a must-see. We then went for lunch in Sausalito, a main city on that side of the bridge. It was a very beautiful waterfront city. We ate lunch by the water with a view of San Fransisco, and then walked through the shops. Grabbed an ice cream, and then headed back to the other side of the bridge. We stopped back at the hotel, and then walked to Ghiradeli square, which was near the wharf. Super pretty place. Chocolate everywhere, jazz music, just a nice little spot. We also hit an art gallery on the way there that specialized in Dr. Seuss art and it was pretty cool. That night we were taking the night tour of Alcatraz.
Our tour left at 6:30, so we got on the cruise and headed to the island. It was so windy and cold. The island looks like something from a movie, kind of foggy, dark, odd shaped. The cruise showed us almost 360 of the island which is apparently rare. We got off and had a mini tour, and then an audio tour of the jail, the hospital, and explored the recreational field, kitchen and showers. Alcatraz was for the worst of the worst, and it totally had a creepy vibe. It was so cool to see where some of the worst prisoners have lived. At the end of the tour, they did a demonstration about how to open and close the doors, and how loud it was. It sounded terrifying! Another weird thing about the island is that it became like a freaky bird sanctuary. Tropical birds and plants live there now. Very weird.
After the tour, we got back to the bay around 10, and every restaurant was closed, so we ended up eating at Joe’s Crab Shack… Just don’t go there, ever.
The day after all of this was our last day. We toured around on the bus and went to see the painted ladies, which was kind of a disappointment, but kind of cute anyway. We actually ended up on a main shopping street that wasn’t union square. It was called Market. We shopped for a while. From there, we went back to the piers, specifically pier 39 to see the sea lions. There is also a little square around there with some restaurants so we got Mexican for lunch, and then went into the aquarium which was SO worth it, it was beautiful in there! I loved it so much! After that, we went out for dinner at a place called Foreign Cinema – absolutely delicious, recommend 10000x. If you sit outside, they project a movie on a giant wall while you’re eating. I got the Kobe steak and it was amazing.
That was our last night in San Fran! The next day we flew home in the afternoon. Right now I’m on a flight to Venice lolz. My last trip for a long time!! Stay tuned!