After a much needed break this past weekend, I can’t wait to share my San Francisco vacation with you as well as the top 10 things I would recommend to any tourist visiting the area. I found quite a few of these ideas from other blog posts, but we also got a few from San Fran locals as well as friends who have lived or visited the trendy city previously. So without further adieu, I give you:
THE TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO!
1. Buy an umbrella. Okay, I’m teasing… buuuuuut not really. Prepare for rain and fog and make sure you pack a rain jacket, rain boots, umbrella, and a sunny attitude as it will most likely be a little dreary out.
Number 1 FOR REAL: Visit the Golden Gate Bridge
There are a number of ways you can do this and endless gorgeous views of this 1.7 mile art deco bridge. Mike and I decided to be adventurous and bike across the entire thing. Now, 1.7 miles doesn’t seem like that long of a bike ride, but we decided to start our ride at the beginning of Golden Gate Park and climb over 10,000 feet in elevation to get to this bad boy. It was exhausting, but boy were the views worth it. Plus, now we can say we have biked across the Golden Gate Bridge! WORTH IT.
This was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. It was so cool taking the ferry to Alcatraz Island, as well as learning about the notorious prison and all the island’s history. They have a very handy self guided audio tour now is over a dozen languages. It was especially eerie when we visited because it was cloudy and rainy all morning. We got a ton of photos and had a fabulous time just walking around.
3. Fisherman’s Wharf
The possibilities are endless in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. It was very overwhelming deciding on a place to eat! Depending on what you are looking for, the food varies from fancy sit down restaurants on the water to walk up spots selling 4.99 Fish and Chips and clam chowder. My personal favorite was the Boudin Bakery. They are known for their incredible sourdough bread bowls and clam chowder. Clam chowder is always a requirement for me when sitting on the water. Boudin’s is to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco as Ivar’s is to Pike Place Market in Seattle. 🙂 YUM.
4. Ghiradelli Square
Everybody loves ice cream. And if you don’t, there is chocolate and brownies and cookies, oh my! Not to mention a deliciously rich white mocha. Even if you aren’t a big dessert person, Ghiradelli Square sure is pretty to visit at night. Your eyes are sure to big bigger than your stomach. Mike and I both ordered separate sundaes and we barely finished half of them. I highly recommend the brownie sundae. If you have every baked the box of Ghiradelli brownies that you can get at the grocery store, you know what I’m talking about!
5. Buena Vista
Known as the first place to come up with the traditional “Irish Coffee,” we made sure to stop in and try it out. Buena vista is located just 2 blocks from Ghiradelli square and Fisherman’s Wharf is only a few short blocks away as well. We would have stayed for a bite to eat, but we had a hard enough time finding a seat at the bar! It was quite the hoppin’ joint, and they had a number of other fancy drinks as well, including a Gin Fizz milkshake that I saw others drinking at the bar.
6. Musee Mecanique
This was an extra fun stop that we wouldn’t have made if it wasn’t for the bartender at the wine bar that we visited my first night in town. It is pretty plain looking on the outside and part of it is a parking garage, but inside is a fun arcade full of vintage arcade games that are hundreds of years old! They all worked strictly with quarters and we had a blast seeing fortune teller machines, arm wrestling, and even visiting an old school photo booth! All of the fun is located at Fisherman’s Wharf as well, right next to all the booths that sell fresh seafood at quite the bargain!
7. Ryoko’s Sushi
When Mike and I were first talking about our trip in San Francisco, we both said that the one meal we wanted to make sure we had was some fresh seafood. We are from Montana… so sushi isn’t the freshest if you know what I mean. 🙂 I started searching for sushi places in the city and simply decided on the one with the most raving reviews. Boy was I glad that I did because there was no way that we would have found this place. It is in the middle of Union Square in a little basement with an EDM DJ playing every night. It is very crowded and very LOUD, but so delicious! We got seats at the bar as well so we were able to watch all of the chefs create the sushi. Make sure you get the volcano! They add peanut butter to that roll… sounds weird, but it was the best part!
8. The Painted Ladies
Hey Full House Fans!! With the Fuller House reunion show coming up on Netflix soon, this was quite the touristy spot. It is also a really cool neighborhood to walk around in with a local cup of coffee in your hand. Make sure to check out the house from Mrs. Doubtfire too! It is on the same street about 8 blocks down or so. Brought back lots of fond memories from my childhood.
9. Take a Cable Car Ride
When we decided to take a ride, the cable cars were down for the day. So I just settled on a picture of the car. I have experienced trolley rides in other cities so I wasn’t too bummed, but if you have never been on one it is worth the fun!
10. Lombard Street
Known as the “crookedest” street in the world, Lombard Street is definitely a top tourist attraction in the San Francisco area. It was also the only recommended attraction that we forgot to see!
If all else fails, take a stroll! You are bound to end up running into a chic shopping boutique, a trendy wine bar, or some delicious seafood. 🙂