Dear Friends and family,
What a great time in San Fran!!! Beautiful city with lots of heart; I knew this right away when I ordered a latte and the barista gave it some extra special attention. When you ask me what we did my answer would be “what didn’t we do”? We packed more into 2 1/2 days than a week-long tour with Rick Steeves.
My first day started with learning how to navigate the streets of San Francisco in our rental car. I was driving a Corolla which was low to the ground so when I went over those big hills, I literally felt like I was going over the edge of the world. Kind of like being in one of those sketchy carnie rides, but without buying a ticket!
Thank goodness I had my Business Class pod and 40 winks before I landed. To celebrate my arrival my son Ross organized the afternoon for us including a “stroll” through Muir Woods State Park. I tease him but that kid should be a Sherpa guide; he always researches the best places to hike before we arrive and always offers to carry my stuff. Plus, he is so enthusiastic you can’t help but want to tag along.
This stroll was a breathtakingly beautiful 6 mile hike among the redwoods- a “very manageable” 12,426 steps after my 5 1/2 flight with a 3 hour time difference. Then, drinks and dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf with Cousin Nick- which we walked to from my hotel. Lucky for me I have decided to do this trip in my 52 year rather than my 72.
On Day two we payed homage to the Yankee clipper ( the great Joe DiMaggio), went on a super awesome day long walking tour with Free Tours By Foot, ate Dim Sum in China Town at Good Mong Kok Bakery, learned about the gold rush, rode those famous cable cars, and dined in the Mission District.
Yesterday was the highlight for R and R and Nick though; we escaped from Alcatraz! I’ve never seen three guys so enthusiastic about going to prison. We ended our trip with a fabulous dinner at Fable restaurant on Castro street with Nick, Will, and Will’s lovely fiancé Marissa.
One of the highlights for me was our visit to Grace Cathedral (see the decorated doorway photo below). We arrived to a gospel choir complete with tambourines coming out of the church singing “oh happy day”. They sounded great, were grinning from ear to ear, and so was I; so thankful for all these experiences. It gets better though...that was only Day 2 and 3 of my super awesome trip -off to Honolulu now...Aloha! ️
Stay, Play, Dine and Shop in San Francisco
425 North Point Street, Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco
I stayed at Hotel Zoe and had a fabulous experience. It is clean, safe, 30 minutes from the airport and has good parking facilities. It is also within walking distance of many attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, the Alcatraz Island Boat Launch, and the fantastic Wharf Market on Saturday mornings at the Ferry Building Food Hall.
Whenever I travel, I like to book a walking tour of my destination. I have done this successfully all over the world and come out on top every time. Usually tours are very reasonable, (some are even free), and you tip your guide whatever you feel is the value they have provided (“name your own price”). Guides are knowledgeable, friendly, and will take you to attractions and destinations and provide a history that you just would not get otherwise- plus you get some steps in while doing so! In San Francisco I recommend Free By Foot Walking Tours; for a base price $7.00 per person this fits any budget and you will have a fantastic day long tour of San Francisco Neighbourhoods and attractions.
Click for tours
1 Muir Woods Rd. Mill Valley CA 94941 USA
Muir Woods National is a breathtaking redwoods forest just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge near Sausalito California. Not only is this park breathtakingly beautiful it is also very accessible with a boardwalk walking path through a large section of the forest and alternate foot paths with more challenging hikes. You can drive to Muir Woods, however you must pre reserve a parking spot beforehand; don’t just expect to just show up and get a parking spot. Tours are also available through Viator.com from downtown San Francisco and you can buy an optional ferry ticket to Sausalito for that sea- side Sausalito Summer Nights experience!
National Park Service, San Francisco California
The National Park service does a terrific job with this tour plus you get a boat ride and some great views of the city too. Leaving from Pier 33 Ferry Terminal, tickets sell out quickly, especially in the summer so consider booking at least a week or more in advance if you are planning on going. Bookings for tours can be made year-round through Alcatraztours.com.
San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise! Tons of fantastic restaurants abound in China Town, downtown, Little Italy, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Good Mong Kok Bakery
1039 Stockton St. San Francisco CA. 94108
Fabulous dumplings in the heart of China Town at a terrific price. Personally, I would fly back to San Francisco just for those dumplings…
Filled with merchants, shops, vendors, restaurants and cafes this market is a feast for the senses! Make sure to make a stop here and check out the website for hours and special events.
558 Castro Street San Francisco CA.
A jewel in the heart of the Gay village, Fable is a fun casual eatery serving delicious fresh food. If you go, ensure you make a reservation and ask for a table outside so you can dine in their stunning and romantic garden of paradise!
One Ferry Building San Francisco CA. 94111
Although I did not get as much time as I wanted to peruse the stores in San Fran, a few suggestions would include the Embarcadero District with the Ferry Terminal Farmer’s Market, Union Square, and Filmore Street. Check out blog.ihg.com for more suggestions.