Sunday, July 31, 2016

San Francisco in Two Days

I'm way behind on sharing travel posts about all of our adventures since May, but hey- you've got to start somewhere. I managed to squeeze in a post on Napa and Sonoma back at the end of June, but the rest of that trip included a couple of days exploring the amazing city of San Francisco! The land of seafood, streetcars, and amazing sunset views did not disappoint. Here's what we did and what we'd recommend for an amazing trip to the city by the bay.


DAY ONE:


We rolled into town on the BART after returning our rental car on the way back from Napa and Sonoma.  The BART was very affordable and clean. We got on at the Oakland Airport (where our rental car company dropped us), and then rode through to the Coliseum stop, where we transferred and rode to the Embarcadero stop.

Club Quarters Hotel San Francisco
Rooftop Lounge at Club Quarters Hotel

We stayed at the Club Quarters Hotel in the Financial District. It was only an 8 minute walk from Chinatown and a 9 minute walk from the Ferry Building. There was also shopping right across the street in Embarcadero Center. We were upgraded to a suite, which was awesome because we stayed for free on the credit we'd earned from submitting Best Rate Guarantees on Orbitz. All in all, it was a great location where we could easily walk and get around to all the major city sights!

We checked in and headed out just in time for a little pizza at Golden Boy Pizza (which was recommended by a local). It's located in San Francisco's Italian area- North Beach, which has tons of awesome food. It was served by the slice and was the perfect lunch before we headed off on our biking adventure.


My favorite activity of the day was when we biked the Golden Gate Bridge! We used Basically Free Bike Rentals, which I would highly recommend. There is literally no catch- you just pay to rent the bikes, but get store credit at their retail store, Sports Basement, for the full amount of your rental. The credit is good for three days.

Sports Basement
We rented two bikes for the full day for $64 total, then rode to the store and used that credit to buy Aaron a new pair of running shoes that he needed anyways. Winning! The views were amazing, and the ride was super comfortable and pretty easy.


After biking, we explored some of the crazy super hilly streets of San Fran, and then walked over to the Ferry Building to eat at Gott's Roadside where we enjoyed the most delicious burgers and the best Mexican corn I've ever had!

Gott's Roadside


DAY TWO:


Of course, a San Francisco visit isn't complete without a visit to Alcatraz, so we walked over to the Pier 33 for our reserved time to tour. Make sure you purchase these tickets in advance, or you won't be able to get them. You can find the official site here.


Alcatraz Cell

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz was super interesting, and we had a really great time doing the audio cellblock tour. It was kind of creepy, but definitely worth seeing. Ferries run back to the Pier quite often, so you can linger as long as you like.

Fisherman's Wharf

After Alcatraz, we walked to the super touristy Pier 39, where we grabbed a yummy lunch at Mango's Taqueria and Cantina. We had a beautiful outdoor table that overlooked the harbor. Then we walked on through the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, which is also super touristy but fun to see. We're not really seafood folks, but this would be a great area to get it!

Ghirardelli Square

If you've got a sweet tooth like me, any trip to San Francisco has to include a stop at Ghirardelli Square. I had an ice cream sundae with hot fudge that was to die for!


After our sweet stop, we walked up the crazy, crazy hills to the ever popular Lombard Street, which is known as the "crookedest street in the world".

Lombard Street

And of course, I just had to ride the streetcar! We rode it in the direction of our hotel, back into Chinatown. After that we were pretty beat, so we went up to the enjoy the hotel's views, and then ordered some Chinese to our room.


If you've got the time...


We had a little extra time the next morning before our flight left, so we made a couple of fun pit stops.

1. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
You can see them actually making the fortune cookies, and you can even personalize a message to put inside if you'd like. Pictures cost 50 cents. Located in Chinatown.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

2. Ferry Building Farmer's Market 
If you're in San Francisco on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, it's worth a stop at the Farmer's Market in the morning. They have lots of yummy food and craft booths set up. We had fun exploring!

Ferry Building Farmer's Market

Hopefully you're able to make a visit to San Francisco in the near future. We loved it, and would definitely go back for a visit again, probably coupled with Napa and Sonoma again. Let me know if you have any questions!

Currently,
Kelsie

20 comments:

  1. I was in San Francisco at the beginning of July! I'm jealous that you got to visit Alcatraz! I didn't know that you had to book in advance so we just did a bay cruise that took us around the island - which was fun too. We even saw a humpback whale!

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    1. It was a TON of fun! Hit Alcatraz for sure next time!

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  2. I love, love, love San Francisco. It seems like you guys had an awesome trip! I'm definitely going to check out that pizza place next time I am in town!

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    1. I love it too! It was such a blast. And do it- pizza by the slice there was delicious!

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  3. These all sound like such fun things to do in San Francisco! I love pizza , so Golden Boy Pizza will be on my list when I visit :)

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  4. That basically free bike rental thing is so cool! Angel always has something he needs to buy at a sports store, so I definitely love the idea of getting a bike rental thrown in! :P You guys saw so much in two days! The fortune cookie factory sounds really interesting to me...

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    1. Umm yeah, it was totally awesome!! Aaron needed new shoes anyways so it was a win win! We had fun seeing the fortune cookie factory. Check it out!

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  5. Fun stops!! My brother-in-law and his wife and kids live out there and sadly we've only been once. It wasn't a long trip, so we didn't experience much in terms of food, but seeing the piers is so fun. But jackets are a must, because when that fog rolls in it gets COLD! So crazy! Glad you guys had such a fun trip!

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    1. Yes yes, it was so fun! And you're right, it gets very chilly there! I did a lot of leggings and cardigans!

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  6. It all looks so fun! I've driven across the Golden Gate Bridge, but biking would be even better!

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    1. It was a BLAST- one of my very favorite parts of the trip!

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  7. Dustin and I have gone to San Fran twice and you hit basically everything I would have recommended! We love Chinatown, since I lived in China and always can find my favorite Chinese snacks in the little shops there! We also love getting ice cream at the square and walking down Fisherman's Wharf at night to see all the street artists! We did the San Fran zoo last time we were there and it was an EXCELLENT adventure! Lot's of animals and things to see!

    xo, Chelsie @ Hey There, Chelsie

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    1. Oh YAY! Chinatown was awesome. I had no idea you lived in China, that's super super awesome! Fisherman's Wharf is super fun. We didn't hit the zoo this time, so I'll have to add that for next time :)

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  8. How fun! My husband will be traveling to San Francisco for work a few times this year, so this is great for us!

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    1. It was a blast! Glad this post can help :)

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  9. I want to go to San Fran so bad!!

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    1. Yes, you should definitely make a visit!

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  10. That would be such a cool place to tour. My brother is headed to San Francisco the first week in September for a wedding, I can't wait for him to explore everything.

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    1. It's a really awesome city, and we had a ton of fun there!!

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