The ultimate USA trip! Part two; San Francisco

We arrived in San Francisco after a 7-hour flight with American Airlines from New York. It was a great flight because I slept for half of it, a win for me as I’m a terrible sleeper.

Good morning, American Airlines!

Arrival – day 1

When we landed, I had a few observations. Firstly, the transition from chilly and grey East Coast to the mild and sunny West Coast was almost a surprise even though it was expected. Secondly, San Francisco International Airport was one of the nicest airports I’ve seen. It was immaculate! By the time we hailed an Uber and arrived to The Marker Hotel we couldn’t wait to eat and chill out. It was the day of Thanksgiving and everything was closed so we ordered takeout and watched the celebrations on TV. After the craziness of New York, it was complete bliss and it made us ready for our first proper day exploring the next day!

A welcoming sight at The Marker hotel.

Day 2

After breakfast, we walked from our hotel to the house from Mrs Doubtfire. It was a beautiful Victorian-style mansion located on Steiner Street, overlooking San Francisco Bay. It’s on a steep slope, much like the rest of the city itself!

“Help is on the way, dear!”

But most of the houses were stunning with lots of Victorian and Tudor styles. Then, we hopped on a bus to the colourful streets of Haight-Ashbury, full of flamboyant boutiques such as Wasteland, So So Supermarket and Indigo Vintage. There was also the iconic Love on Haight as well as several restaurants and quirky coffee shops.

Designer galore at Wasteland
I concur!
Trinkets at Indigo Vintage
Tie dye central at Love on Haight

The Painted Ladies weren’t far, so we strolled there before catching a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was every bit as picture-perfect as you’d imagine, and it wouldn’t be the first time we’d visit on the trip. It was far too magnificent!

Another must-visit is Pier 39, on the Waterfront. With its two levels of dining, entertainment, and shopping surrounded by amazing views, it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. I’m still dreaming about the chowder bread bowls, wow!

Day 3

This was my favourite day! Sam had the brilliant idea of renting bikes and we spent the morning riding around the city. Our first stop was the Golden Gate Bridge again and it was even better than the day before. It just doesn’t get old!

Renting bikes was the best idea!
Sightseeing with you is my fave!

For lunch, we rode to Bluestone Lane in the Financial District before heading to the Japanese Tea Garden, which was utterly beautiful, peaceful and serene. And of course, we couldn’t leave without a visiting the tea house!

The restored pagoda at the Japanese Tea Garden
Miso and matcha in peace
Serene scenes

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the California Academy of Sciences. The Rainforest exhibition was spectacular! With 80-degree temperatures, lush greenery and butterflies fluttering above our heads, I thought it was wonderful! The Aquarium and Planetarium were very cool too.

Beautiful butterflies at Cal Academy
Making reptile friends

Day 4

It was our last full day before driving to Yosemite, so it was important we crammed in as much as possible. We booked tickets to Alcatraz, but we arrived for the ferry too early, so we ordered a coffee at Pier 39 and watched the sea lions nap and bark at each other on the Marina.

Cell life at Alcatraz
Sample menu – doesn’t seem too bad to me!

The ferry ride to Alcatraz Island only took 15 minutes and after some briefing, we ambled up the hill (there are small trams for visitors with mobility impairments) and made our way to the prison itself. The audio tour is worth doing as you get a real sense of what life was like there for both guards and the inmates.

We couldn’t leave the city without getting on a cable car and it was so much fun to stand on the outside and hold onto the poles!

Getting on a cable car is a must in SF!
All aboard!

Next on the list was Lombard Street, famous for its steep, one-block section with eight ‘hairpin’ turns. Watching cars navigate the turns was rather entertaining! Oracle Park was up next, home to the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Cool to see!

“The Crookedest Street in the World”
Any excuse to say HOMERUN!

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to love San Francisco as much as I did. I thought it would be one of those places, I would tick off the list and not really think about again. But how wrong I was. In fact, we’ve both vowed to come back sooner rather than later. It really has a piece of our hearts.

Until then, time to pick up our car and drive to Yosemite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.