San Francisco, the city on the bay. We didn’t arrive in San Francisco until late September, so the weather wasn’t all that in our favour, however we still greatly enjoyed our time catching up with friends and seeing what San Fransisco had to offer.
Top of my list for San Francisco was the famous Alcatraz and it did not disappoint. Catching the ferry over to the island was a great way to see San Francisco from the bay and I would definitely recommend taking the audio tour around Alcatraz. Its easy to follow, you can go at your own pace, it ensures you don’t miss anything important and of course its filled with fascinating stories. I don’t know what it is about prisons that interests me so much. Maybe its trying to figure out how humans just like you and I can do such awful things or how a prison is meant to help these people change or learn from what they have done? Sorry to disappoint but I can’t say I’ve found the answer yet…
Close to the ferry wharf for Alcatraz is Fisherman’s Wharf (near pier 39). It may be overpriced and touristy but I did love the idyllic shopping and restaurant area. Luckily our mid week September visit meant that it wasn’t too busy. You don’t need to spend a great deal of time here but enjoy the shops, go check out the sea lions who hang out on the water front (there are heaps of them!) and don’t forget to try the famous clam chowder! Deeelicious 🙂
From Fisherman’s Wharf you can walk right around to the Golden Gate Bridge. Another option is to hire a bike and cycle over the bridge. There is a cute little town on the other side of the bridge which goes by the name of Sausalito. I didn’t have time to make a visit over there, but I’ve heard it has some great boutique shopping, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. Its definitely on my list for next time! If walking or cycling over the bridge doesn’t sound appealing you can also catch a ferry to Sausalito.
The Painted Ladies in Alamo Square are one of San Francisco’s most photographed locations. The picturesque houses, also known as Postcard Row, are a row of colourful Victorian houses that have been used in many films & TV shows including Full House. You can take your perfect Instagram shot here or just enjoy the view of the Painted Ladies while relaxing in the park. I’d suggest you do both!
Golden Gate Park should also be added to your list! Its a rather large park, so I would suggest hiring bikes to explore the park properly. You can begin with a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden, for a tranquil and relaxing experience or if you’d rather get that brain of yours working you can visit the California Academy of Sciences. We walked the full length of the park and ended up at a cafe on the beach. I would say walking was a mistake as by the time we got to the beach, we didn’t have much time to actually explore and enjoy it. Hence the cycling suggestion, or you could hire a segway if that’s your preference.
A trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Napa Valley for some good quality wine tasting! We stayed in a lovely AirBnB and explored several wineries. The most impressive was most definitely Castello di Amorosa. A castle and a winery in one, what more would you want?! Plus the wine was delicious. Another place I would highly recommend is Oxbow Public Market. It isn’t a winery but it has a delicious selection of food and drinks. The atmosphere is great and it features a mixture of local good, artisan cafes and organic produce.
Before we knew it our time in San Francisco was over. I must say I had high expectations for San Fransisco, everyone seems to rave about it! I enjoyed San Francisco, but I guess my high expectations weren’t necessarily exceeded. Maybe after I spend some more time there, I’ll fall in love with it as much everyone else seems to? I am sure there are plenty more amazing things to do in San Francisco, if you have any more suggestions please mention them in the comments below.