We spent a total of 3 and a half days in San Fran which was enough to take in the city sights and feel the vibe of the city.
What I remember about San Fran is a chilled out, hipster kind of city with a large homeless population (thanks to Ronald Reagan cutting government funding for mental and homeless institutions in the 1980s in California). It was a little confronting for me and I felt sad everytime I stepped out of our hotel. Maybe that’s why I found that the people were much more kind, friendly and laid back compared to the people I encountered in LA and New York City.
The climate is the same all year round (and possibly one of the reasons why California’s homeless population gravitates towards this city). It’s a bit like autumn – cold one minute, windy and brutal the next and suddenly warm and pleasant. I wore plenty of layers during our stay so I could whip out my beanie as we walked over the Golden Gate Bridge but take off my jacket when we ate lunch in the sun at the Ferry Building.
Food, I thought, was a little expensive although similar to Sydney prices. We had a few meals at Bob’s Chop House in our hotel which was a bit too manly for me – big meals of steak, potatoes and honey glazed carrots. The bread served before the meal was pretty much a big cob loaf of bread to share between the two of us! But SF also had plenty of healthy options. We had lots of sushi, empanadas, salads and bagels during our short stay. I’m sure there are more foodie places to explore next time.
Overall, SF was a fun city to visit before heading to Canada.
This is what we did:
- Caught the cable car and was thankful I didn’t have to drive my manual transmission car in such a hilly city! At the end of our ride, we accidentally gave the driver a larger tip than intended (due to jet lag as we had landed that morning!) so he let us ring the bell. It was actually heavy and hard to ring but fun!
- Tried to see Lombard Street which is famous for being the most crooked street in the world but there was always a throng of tourists blocking the view. Oh well, I’ll have to trust the pictures on the internet.
- Walked over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cold and windy, with plenty of gorgeous views but none as gorgeous as Sydney, in my opinion!
- Strolled through the Fisherman’s Wharf which was packed with – and obviously caters for – tourists. We managed to grab some lunch at a restaurant where we saw one lone sea lion at Pier 39.
- Wandered through the Ferry Building and had pizza and salad at Roulette’s Larder.
The second time we visited we had empanadas from this little store and ate outside in the sun on a bench.
- Ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in the Macy’s building which has some lovely city views.
I ordered lettuce wrap tacos with grilled chicken from the skinny menu. We shared a s’mores cheesecake for dessert but couldn’t finish it… It was way too sweet but worth trying – we were in America after all….
- Caught the Big Red Bus which took us to all the major stops. We were treated to the windy, blustery, rainy SF weather as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge sitting on the open top deck of the bus… it was cold and I had to hang on to my beanie and camera or it would definitely have flown off. We got to see some cool buildings from the bus including the historical and pretty mansions in Alamo Square. And no, I didn’t see the house that was in ‘Full House’ because I was lazy and cold… maybe next time!
- Ate breakfast at the Workshop Cafe where cool freelancers and start-up owners work at their own little area… We need some of these in Sydney! It was the closest we got to Silicon Valley/start-ups/internet companies etc so I thought it was worth it! (Tours to Silicon Valley cost US300 or more!)
Have you been to San Francisco? What did you do there?