San Francisco is a unique and fun city to visit. Kyle and I spent about two days here during our vacation to California last October. Once we arrived in the city, we immediately checked into our hotel, Marriott – Fisherman’s Wharf. The location was perfect. We were within walking distance to most of the places we wanted to see our first day, which was spent in the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
Our first stop was to get lunch at Boudin Bakery. The sourdough bread was fantastic. Like a lot of things in San Francisco, it was expensive, and crowded, but an overall good lunch spot.
We finished our lunch quickly and headed over to Pier 33 for our Alcatraz tour.
Alcatraz was definitely a highlight of our time in the city. It was an awesome experience. (Read all about my Alcatraz Island Tour!) The most important thing to know if you want to visit Alcatraz is that you need a ticket. (Booked ours here) AND it’s best to book them as early as possible.
After we finished our time on Alcatraz Island, we went over to Pier 39 and moseyed about for a while. Fisherman’s Wharf is touristy in general, but Pier 39 was where all the tourists seemed to congregate. It kind of reminded me of Gatlinburg with all of the shops and restaurants.
The main reason I wanted to go to Pier 39 was to watch the sea lions. It took us a while to find them. But, thanks to Google, I found out that they post up at the K-Dock. It was nice to chill out and watch the sea lions after a busy day of travel and walking.
That night we had a couple of free drinks at the hotel bar (thanks Marriott) and then grabbed some dinner at In-N-Out Burger because we’re classy.
After breakfast at the hotel, we walked a few blocks to Lombard Street. If you’re not familiar with Lombard Street, it’s basically an extremely curvy street. I think I learned about it in art history class and always thought it would be neat to see in person. I thought it was interesting but I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see.
Then we just walked around for a while as we made our way over to Ghirardelli Square.
Ghirardelli Square was nice to walk around and look at the shops.
Our plan for the rest of the morning was the drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and make our way to Muir Woods. We happened to walk by Hyde St Pier and realized we could purchase our National Park pass there. Since we were there we walked around the Pier (I guess it’s technically called the San Francisco Maritime National Park). It was actually pretty cool to walk around all these old ships. We had a good time exploring the park- even when the rain started pouring down on us.
Then we traveled north to continue our vacation. Muir Woods and Napa Valley are both a short drive north of San Francisco. They each have their pros and cons but I think are worth checking out at least once. (You can read about our Morning in Muir Woods here.)
Day 2 (Continued, a week later)
So, since we technically didn’t spend a full day in the city on our second day, we finished it up on our last day of vacation. We ended up driving up to Muir Woods, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Fresno, Carmel, and then back to San Francisco because we had an early morning flight out of SFO.
It was a great time. Even with all of the driving.
We stopped to check out the Painted Ladies. That experience was basically walking up a hill to take pictures of these beautiful houses and being surrounded by people doing the same exact thing. Not really worth it.
I was then determined to find a good spot to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. I was pretty bummed out earlier in the week that it was too foggy for me to photograph the bridge. Thankfully our last day here was gorgeous and perfect for photographs.
We somehow ended up at Fort Point and it was the perfect spot. We made our way up to the top of Fort Point and took some pictures there. Then we walked a short distance to Torpedo Wharf and got some great shots there as well. So, I was pretty happy.
We stayed at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront hotel that night and it was super nice. I would definitely recommend it if anyone ever needs a hotel by the San Francisco airport.
Overall, San Francisco is a pretty cool city. At first, I thought it was overrated. Everywhere was crowded and expensive. But there are SO many pockets of the city that I didn’t even get close to exploring. I’d be happy to spend some more time here in the future.