The last leg of our Northern California vacation was two nights in San Francisco. Seeing places that were so different was awesome, it was like a brand new vacation every two days. Its hard to say what stop was my favorite. I loved both San Francisco and Sonoma, but for very different reasons.
We saw lots of things while in San Fran but my favorite part was easily the uber rides around town. I just loved seeing all the different neighborhoods. The row houses are everywhere! The city just looks so much different that other cities and I love that. There’s definitely a “feel” about the city. I somehow didn’t take a single picture of any of the neighborhoods we drove though. Which I’m actually ok with, its a sign that I was just enjoying the sights. Sometimes we’ve got to do more of that on vacation you know. The adorable honey bear was across the street from our airBNB. I found the artist through instagram, clearly I’m not the only honey bear loving grammer out there.
Our first stop was the newly opened SFMoMA. This was was one of my only must-sees on the trip. I have a minor in Art History and some of my very favorite pieces are housed here. I was most excited to see Woman with a Hat and Fountain. I’ve been to a couple pretty serious art museums in Spain and France, but it was before I’d ever set foot in an art history class, so this was my first post-grad visit if you will. And man did I get excited. There were a couple things there that I wasn’t expecting and when I stumbled upon that pile of dirt I wrote an A essay on, I got pretty excited.
After SFMoMA we took at little shopping break for the flagship Gap store. Then swung by the Painted Ladies. I was looking forward to seeing them, but ended up feeling really creepy. People actually live in them and there a constant flux of tourist taking pictures across the street. It was weird.
Now let’s talk about the food. Our first night we had dinner at Inovino, a cozy little Italian place a few blocks from our airBNB in Cole Valley. Service was fantastic, wine was great, food was even better. We sat outside on their tiny little sidewalk patio, highly recommend.
The next morning we had brunch at Zazie’s first thing. Online reviews mentioned long waits, we got there right at 8am when they opened and were seated right away. Again, on the patio–of course. I ordered Eggs Benedict with OJ and coffee–my brunch go to. Gratitude was included in the price and they mention that they offer really awesome benefits for their employees which I love. I spent alot of time working in food service during school and its not an easy job. Props to them. Plus it takes out the tip calculating at the end of the meal, so its just that much easier. Again, highly recommend!
After Zazie’s we headed down to the bay to tour Alcatraz. Had I gone alone I probably wouldn’t have gone on the tour, but man am I glad my vacay partners wanted to go! I was expecting it to be creepy and claustrophobic–which the inside of the prision kind of is. But the island is beautiful! There’s panoramic views of the bay and San Fran skyline and the gardens are really something. Who knew that an old prison had so many luscious gardens?! The tour of the prison is a recording–which I thought sounded really lame–but again, I was wrong. You can go at your own pace and aren’t stuck with a guide or certain group and the recording is pretty legit. Don’t go to San Francisco without touring Alcatraz, OK? OK. I would recommend going on an earlier tour. Our ferry left at 10am and by the time we were heading back around noon it was very busy. I think the very first one (that leaves around 8am I think) would be ideal.
For lunch we found The Codmother Fish and Chips, a super tasty little food truck with some bomb fried seafood. The portions were huge–I would recommend sharing. And it seemed like there were a lot of locals there, which I always take for a good sign. After lunch we made the hike up Lombard street. Such a touristy thing to do, but its worth it for the quirk. And a good way to burn off some lunch calories.
Towards the end of the day I started to come down with a head cold and that, combined with the after effects of Sonoma (so much wine) I was fading fast. We went to the Presidio of San Francisco for the views of the Golden Gate bridge. Awesome place to take pictures and no admission fees! Our last stop of the day was another bay tour, which was a bit of blur as I was falling asleep for part of it. It provided some interesting information, but it was too windy and cold to sit outside and VERY touristy. Like we were probably the only American citizens on the boat.
We ended the day with a quick stop in Chinatown for snacks, then ordered in pizza at our airBNB (we had super early flights the next morning).
Phew, I think that’s it. We crammed in alot. I would love to go back and spend a whole week there. Take a couple drop in yoga classes, explore more eateries. Ah, but some many other places to see. I sometimes feel like I have to see ALL THE PLACES before I go back to visit someplace twice.
Check out our first two stops, Yosemite and Sonoma too!