In the summer of 2013 I had the privilege to help lead a group of students through a weeklong intensive youth leadership training held at the Presidio of San Francisco. If you get the chance to travel to San Fran, visiting the Presidio is a must! At the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio is a park and former military base. It is almost jarring when crossing from San Francisco the city, where houses are lined up one after another, to vast green spaces with wild life and a ton of history.
After the training my husband came out to meet me for a week in San Francisco and Napa Valley. This is a trip I have taken prior; in 2010 I did something similar with my dad. San Fran and wine country is a perfect trip for those who only have a weekend or a short period of time. We started off by exploring San Fran and I think an important detail to share is that San Francisco is pretty hot and cold in the summer. “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”, this quote is often attributed to Mark Twain but there isn’t much documentation on that. The quote is a bit dramatic but I will say that if you are traveling to San Fran, expect to experience many different temperatures throughout the day based on where you are and the status of the fog.
Below are some of the things I did in San Fran (in no particular order). It is not an inclusive list of all the things you should do or places you should eat- just where I went.
Where we ate
Best sushi I have ever had in my life. You must go. The place is tiny and does not take reservations so either go early and get there when they open or go late because you will wait in line.
Oh ma gawd. I want to cry when I think about eating there it was so good. Service was awesome and ambiance was perfect. I think it may have been some of the best fried chicken I have ever had… drops mic. My husband got a delicious benedict with pork. Ahhhhh… take me back.
I do a ton of researching where to eat when I am traveling. I use Yelp, Google, TV Food Maps, etc. Many top lists led me to Molinari’s and I heart Italian delis so I had to try. It was a beautiful little shop with a ton of options, we took our food to a nearby park and devoured it. My favorite was the authentic arancini.
Because if you are in San Fran… you have to. There are a lot of better food options than the Buena Vista but make sure you at least stop by and get yourself an Irish coffee.
Places I want to go next time: Mama’s on Washington (must be willing to wait in a two hour line),
Things to do
While we were there we saw people dressed in anime costumes, a pocky eating contest, Daiso– the Japanese dollar store, and a plethora of delicious sushi. While we were visiting there was a farmer’s market going on with local vendors that was fun.
This was a relaxed little neighborhood of diverse shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. AND THE WORLD’S LARGEST TIE-DYE SHIRT! This was a great place to visit in between meals when you needed to walk off your lunch. Do not leave without checking out the Piedmont Boutique .
San Francisco has the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America according to their website. Great shopping, street music, and food.
The warf is pretty touristy… I will admit. Most likely all of the things I am sharing are touristy. Try not to eat down there… there are way better places to dine. Check on the Sea Lions on Pier 39 – the way they got there is an interesting story. Of course you need to see and EXPERIENCE Lombard Street. Then take a cable car down Embarcadero to the Ferry Building Marketplace on Sunday mornings for the farmer’s market.
If you want to go to Alcatraz, get your tickets before going as they do sell out. I can’t tell you what a good price for going there is but people were trying to sell us tickets for $100 each and it just didn’t see worth it. We did find a fishing boat that was taking people on a cruise of the bay for $15! It seemed a bit shady at first; just a guy selling tickets in front of the boat but it was legit. Find BASS-TUB down at the Fisherman’s Warf, Berth 4. I am glad we did.
Golden Gate Bridge & Presidio
As I stated earlier, a must! Try and dodge the fog though you can be standing right next to that bridge and not see it if the fog has rolled in.
As you head out of town stop by Muir Woods for either a mini or a major hike! The first part of Muir Woods is very touristy- KEEP WALKING! The trails get better and sparse with people.
Places I haven’t gone but I hope to in the future: Exploratorium, Sausalito
What else did I miss? What do I need to see next time I go?