First thing first,
It took us around 5 hours to fly from Houston to San Francisco… After getting our rental car and checked into our hotel it was 2 am(which was 4 am in my normal time zone) but were young right?! My alarm was set for sunrise(6:45am) because the early bird always gets the worm.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
My day doesn’t start without coffee. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is known for serving a mix of tarts, donuts & croissant-muffins, plus coffee in a cozy, bright space in the east side of the city. The place was super busy at 7am but thankfully the line wasn’t too crazy! The coffee was average but the croissants were amazing. If you are feeling adventurous, try the California Croissant!
Cable Car Adventure
Since Mr. Holmes Bakehouse doesn’t really offer places to dine, we hopped on a cable car so sit down so we could eat. Little did we know, you’re not allowed to eat food on the cable car. Luckily, the guy was super nice and delightful, he let us eat on the cable car (shhh, don’t tell anyone!). We paid $20 dollars for an all-day pass for the Muni System. It included buses, cable cars, streetcars, and the light rail. It was our transportation around the city! We downloaded the app and got around perfectly.
The Painted Ladies
Do you notice the house from Full House? "One of the most photographed locations in San Francisco, Alamo Square's famous "postcard row" at Hayes and Steiner Streets is indeed a visual treat. A tight, escalating formation of Victorian houses is back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers, providing a stunning contrast. The grassy square itself is an ideal midday break."
Although we never stopped in Chinatown, I snagged this photo on one of our cable car rides!
Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco that is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. We made the mistake of taking the cable car to the top entrance of the street… so we walked down so we could see the crookest street at its best view but then we also had to walk those steep stairs back to the top! Totally worth it, it is a must see if you are ever in the city!
Mostly known as a tourist trap but also home to local sea lions! Pier 39 is a bayside pier with great views, restaurants, and shops. The sea lions are honestly the only reason we went… they were so goofy and barked so loud! We had such great laughs watching them especially when they would belly flop off the pier.
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
We walked over to Bike San Francisco to use our Groupon but most importantly bike across the bridge! San Francisco offers great biking routes all throughout the city which actually avoid some of the steep hills. It took us about an 45 mins to actually get to the other side of the bridge from the bike shop because we stopped and enjoyed the view. It was also a little overwhelming to see the bridge for the first time… I’ve always seen it in movies and pictures but to actually see it with my own eyes was fascinating. There were hardly any people on the bridge when we crossed around mid-morning which was so nice. After our Kirby Cove adventure, it was around noon when we crossed back over the bridge to go back to the city and the bridge was PACKED with people.
After we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, we biked over to Kirby Cove. It is a trail that begins at the Battery Spencer parking area (bikers beware it is a huge hill). I gracefully walked my bike up the hill, okay I was panting ungracefully if you want me to be honest. The trail is about a mile-long featuring multiple hills (of course) but offers a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city! At the end of your trail, you will find a beautiful beach with a view like no other. Did I mention there is a hidden swing? Lock your bikes up and see the Golden Gate Bridge from the other side!
In-N-Out Burger is a fast-food chain around the US but doesn’t everything taste better in California? Realistically no but let’s just pretend for a second. It was my first time ever at In-N-Out Burger! The place was packed and Andrew and I were hangry animals. We ordered classic cheeseburgers with fries. It was BOMB!
Grand View Park (Mosaic Stairway)
Most locals call it Turtle Hill but Grand View Park will be your google name to use. It offers a beautiful view of the city from the Sunset District side of San Francisco. The community, about 300 people, actually came together to create a beautiful mosaic running up the risers of the 163 steps at the park. It was absolutely beautiful and so detailed… with vibrant colors and different culture styles. Add this to your bucket list!
Boudin at Fisherman’s Wharf
Not only can you watch the bakers made bread but they also have a bistro, museum, and shop! I ordered their famous clam chowder in a bread bowl. Oh my gosh, it was sooo good!! Andrew’s pizza couldn’t even compare and he couldn’t resist so he had to go order him one too! I loved the fun shapes of bread they make but my frugal self couldn’t pay $20 for a loaf of bread just because it’s shaped like a teddy bear. Regardless, the food was great and the atmosphere was so much fun!
It’s a public square filled with local vendors, little souvenir shops and restaurants in the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco. We stopped in Ghirardelli (duh) and enjoyed two sundaes as we watched the sunset over the bay. The chocolate was the real deal! It was so rich that about half way through I couldn’t eat anymore. I recommend sharing a sundae if you ever go. Also stop by and see Stewart to get a quick drawing done!
It is pretty much a local trail in the Northwest side of San Francisco for walking and hiking. It is super easy to get to, free parking, and not as crowded as all the other known parks and beaches. The trail has a stretch of Cypress forest and is bordered by cliffs plunging 200 feet to the sea below. Out of all the parks and beaches we explored in San Francisco, Land’s End was hands down my favorite, less crowded with the most beautiful view.
Probably one of the coolest coffee shops I have ever been to. I love the fact it is an independent sibling owned company. Although as I imagine running a business with my brothers, I almost cringe lol. The atmosphere was open in a bi-level, industrial space. They actually roast their coffee in house. Did I mention the coffee was great?!
Golden Gate Ferry
We took the Golden Gate Ferry to Sausalito for a few reasons… our feet were killing us and we wanted to see more of views of the area. The ferry ride roundtrip was about an hour and around $25 per person. The views were incredible and it was great to sit down to address my postcards. I also send my parents, nephews, and best friend a postcard while traveling. It has become one of my travel traditions! Anyways, I highly recommend a ferry ride while in San Francisco to see views from the bay!
Are you a bacon lover? If you screamed yes (like me), you must eat at Sweet Maple! Their signature brown-sugar-glazed “millionaire’s bacon” is impossible to compare… it is life-changing good. They offer deep-fried french toast and so many more unhealthy but amazing breakfast items.
Billy Goat Park
The tiniest park with the most incredible view of San Francisco! It is located in a neighborhood with tons of parking. The trail is not even a quarter of a mile so if your feet are in flaming pain from all the walking and hill hiking, you can squeeze Billy Goat Park on your list! Locals said there used to be a swing from the tree but mischievous tourists cut the swing down. At least that was their side of the story… Regardless of the swing or not, the views enough should add it to your San Francisco bucket list!