In 2014, Donovan and I took what still remains my favorite trip of ours. We flew to San Francisco and stayed with a family friend of his for a few days exploring the town. Then we rented a convertable and drove up Highway 101. We were introduced to the redwoods, beautiful rocky coastlines, and sea glass beached. Finally we ended with a few days in Portland before flying home.
This post has what we did while in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Park:
We could have honestly spent a ton more time here. I love parks, but here the few things we did do:
Japanese Tea Garden – We took advantage of their free morning entry on Mon, Wed, and Fri. The garden was very lovely and peaceful. The grounds are impeccably kept. I would recommend, especially if you get in for free.
Stow Lake – we walked around the lake after the Japanese Tea Garden. It was peaceful and lovely.
de Young Museum – there are beautiful 360 views from the top floor, Harmon Observation Tower, and entrance is free! We didn’t actually go in the museum.
Bison Paddock – We drove past the bison paddock and saw the herd from the street.
Ocean Beach State Park:
This was a quick stop for us to see the ocean. We didn’t spend much time here as we knew we’d see the ocean constantly on our road trip up 101. It was a nice pit stop and we ate dinner at Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, which you could skip.
Haight & Ashbury:
This was another quick stop to see the historic corner. We popped into a few shops and had lunch at Street Taco on Haight. Interesting if you’re into the hippie movement and singers like Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin; otherwise it’s just a street corner.
Row of Victorian houses, known for their appearance on Full House and other TV shows. The Full House house is a different color now. This was just a quick stop. It’s a must do because it’s so iconic, but it wasn’t really that thrilling.
Famous street for its 8 hairpin turns and pretty flowerbeds. The view is gorgeous from here, definitely worth doing.
We came here for the farmers market. It was enjoyable just walking around and we bought a few pieces of fruit for our upcoming road trip. We also ate lunch here. Easily the biggest farmers market I had seen. It was very very crowded.
From here we actually walked up the embarcadero to the piers and San Francisco Fishermans Wharf. It’s less than two miles, but it felt really really long. Probably wouldn’t recommend it.
The streets are beautifully decorated with hanging lanterns and pennants. We wandered through shops and the streets; looking at street art. We ate lunch at Hang Ah Dim Sum, the first Dim Sum restaurant in the USA.
Golden Gate Bridge:
We stopped headed back into town from Muir Woods and found a spot to pull over at the northern Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point. Obviously a must do!
We took public transportation almost our whole time in San Francisco. The parking rate is very high. We rode on ferrys, buses, trolleys, and trains. We also did a ton of walking. The city is of course famously hilly, so look at where you’re going before hand.
There’s great street art in San Francisco, so I would look it up and seek it out while you’re there. We spent time walking around neighborhoods to find street art.
If we ever go back to San Francisco there are other places I’d like to see such as Presidio, Angel Island State Park, Alcatraz, the 16th Ave. Tiled Steps, Lands End Lookout, maybe a museum or the zoo. Several redwood preserves exist south of town that would be exciting to explore. There are so many things to do and we really enjoyed our time in San Francisco.
Places we ate:
Street Taco – a fun small restaurant with tacos and other Mexican street food on Haight St. It was good.
Hang Ah Dim Sum – the first Dim Sum Restaurant in the USA, opened in 1920, delicious and not too expensive
Bi-Rite Creamery – hand made ice cream. The line was around the block, but next door was a Bi-Rite Market and we bought ice cream out of their freezer section. Good ice cream, but I wouldn’t recommend standing in a long line for it.
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market – Farmers market that’s open Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There are tons of vendors with fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, meats etc. and different food vendors selling ready to eat foods.
Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant – a pricier option with ocean views from their floor to ceiling windows. The food was honestly just “eh”.
We also explored Fort Funston where we went hang gliding and Muir Woods, redwoods park about a 40 minute drive north from San Francisco.
After we were done in San Francisco we rented a convertible and road tripped up Highway 101.