California Trip Part 3 {San Francisco}

San Francisco. How do I describe it? It's such an eclectic city full of personality. We had a blast exploring it and we barely scratched the surface. We covered a ton of ground in just under two days, and I've got a bunch of highlights for you today! These are places I'd definitely recommend to go, eat and explore. I don't think we had a bad experience the entire time we were there. #longpostalert

After our journey up the Pacific Coast Highway, we arrived in San Francisco in time for dinner. We chose Pizzeria Delfina as our destination, and it turns out many others had that night as well. It was a popular place! We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table on a Wednesday night. I can't even imagine what it's like on the weekends. It was so, so good though. I'm such a pizza lover (it's a problem), and this definitely satisfied my appetite.

The next morning we chowed down on some baked goods and sipped coffee at Destination Bakery (yum!) up the street from where we were staying in Glen Park, and got a few business-y things done for CSW Designs and the blog before we headed out to explore the city.

Our first stop of the day was the Ferry Building Marketplace on the Embarcadero downtown. What a sight!

Besides gazing at the outside of the gorgeous building itself, the inside was full of food vendors, fresh food markets, and specialty shops. It's a great place to grab a quick lunch, putz around, and take in views of the San Francisco Bay. Many of the shops and eateries are local to San Francisco, and have flagship locations elsewhere in the city. {Side note: this is also where the big farmer's market is, which is a big SF attraction.}

We had lunch at Cowgirl Creamery inside the Ferry Building Marketplace. Total sucker for cheese of just about any variety. Can't. resist.

A few other favorite spots were Acme Bread Company, Blue Bottle Coffee (I didn't love their coffee, honestly, but loved their logo...design dork alert.), Biscuit Bender and Miette.

{Biscuit Bender}


The Embarcadero area surrounding the Ferry Building is a great place for views of the Bay Bridge as well:

{Bay Bridge to the right}

After lunch, we hopped on one of the historic street cars to get to our next destination: Fisherman's Wharf. 

Whoa, holy tourist alert! Fisherman's Wharf is a major San Fran attraction, and the folks down at the wharf have capitalized on that. If you're looking for a touristy place, this is it. We weren't totally into all that, but it was worth a trip - even if only for a few minutes. The views are outstanding, so we spent most of our time avoiding the cheesy tourist shops and instead spent our time looking out over the Bay.

See that flag to the right of my head? That's an America's Cup flag. The epic sailing competition is being held in the Bay this year, and it was one of the coolest things we got to see. It was a huge highlight for Charlie, who grew up sailing, to see these blazing fast boats fly on the water. And I mean fly. They certainly don't look like your run-of-the-mill sailboat...but apparently this design makes 'em fast as lightening!

If you go to SF between now and September, definitely make a stop at the America's Cup area on the Embarcadero near Fisherman's Wharf. Spectators can enter the "park" for free and wander around when the official races aren't happening, which is what we did, and we had a blast watching the different teams practice out on the water.

Next, we headed over to Union Square and wandered around a little bit. The park there is really pretty, so we grabbed a couple of glass bottle cokes (which seemed to be a "thing" in SF?) and took in the surroundings.


Then it was off to ride one of the historic Cable Cars! So iconic.

We rode the California line all the way to the end, and then took a bus over to Alamo Square Park, which is where the "Painted Ladies" houses are (the ones from Full House). Pretty cool seeing the beautiful Victorians in person after watching that show as a kid! There are "Painted Lady" houses all over SF though, so honestly, it wasn't all that different from many other parts of the city.

After all this activity, eventually we made it back "home" to our neighborhood and had dinner at a local restaurant with a friend. We were pooped, but it was great day! That was our only full day in SF (sadness).

The next morning, we hit up the famous Tartine Bakery for breakfast. GO THERE. It was so, so yummy. I had their fruit brioche and C had one of their quiches. I'd definitely get a sweet and a savory treat so you can experience both...my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

After Tartine, we headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge to start our journey up to Napa Valley...which is the subject of tomorrow's post! Stay tuned :).

A few thoughts on San Fran before I go:
  • San Francisco can be an expensive city. This is especially true for lodging. Decent hotels in popular areas cost more than we wanted to spend, so we actually rented out a one bedroom condo through airbnb for about half of what we would've paid for a hotel. It was in a convenient location, clean, and worth doing the digging (research) to find. If you want more on our experience with airbnb, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an email!
  • The MUNI public transit system is great. Besides the awesome history that goes along with the street and cable cars, they've done a really good job connecting the city through the buses and light rail systems. We didn't move our car the entire time we were exploring the city. Buy an unlimited rides visitors pass (A one day pass cost us $14 plus $3 for the Clipper Card. The cable car ride alone cost $6, so it's worth it!) if you think you're going to utilize public transit frequently throughout the day to explore the city. It saved us a lot of hassle and we didn't have to worry about having a wad of dollar bills with us at all times to pay the fare each time we hopped on a bus or train. We managed to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time thanks to easy public transportation access. 
  • The fog. Like clockwork, it rolled out every morning around 10am, and rolled back in around 5pm. It was totally bizarre to me. If you're planning on taking in any views from scenic overlooks, don't even bother unless it's between the hours of 10 and 5. Obviously, the weather can vary, but our experience was that we had bright, sunny days after the fog left each day. So wait to take your photos then!
Questions? Thoughts? What did we miss in SF? I need to start making a list for the next time we go...because there WILL be a next time. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of this awesome city!

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  1. I'm from California and my parents were both born in San Francisco. So, in no particular order: Coit Tower--more beautiful views and the parrots of Telegraph Hill; Jitlada--the best Thai food in the cleanest restaurant I've ever seen; Fillmore Street, which has turned into a bit of a design district of funky fresh stuff.


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