Tony Bennet sang, “I left my heart in San Francisco”, it’s easy to understand why. For starters, San Francisco, with its iconic Golden Gate bridge, cute cable cars, ocean breeze and sunny climate, how can you not fall in love? There are many layers to this vibrant city, the show-stopping architecture alone could keep you in awe for an entire day. We sped past some beautiful examples in our Uber, it was all I could do not to stop the car at each and every block, wishing I could have had more time to explore.
Views, views, breathtaking views, SanFrancisco is not shy when it comes to the camera, she comes alive when given the right moment. We were fortunate to have sunshine in our forecast, warm, not too hot, with a little breeze coming off the ocean. Reminding me, there are many similarities between SanFrancisco (perhaps our big sister?)and my hometown, Vancouver, making me feel right at home.
Where to stay? With so many great options, it’s hard to decide which property to book. Honestly, it took a little research and having a budget in mind, we wanted a central location, so, for us, Union Square was an obvious choice. Villa Florence tried and true, only a half-block away, was convenient as it was easy on the wallet. After booking our hotel, I came across a newer property that piqued my curiosity, the SanFrancisco Proper Hotel. Decorated by Kelly Wearstler, you know it’s going to be special, her signature vintage European style is done to perfection. Take the elevator to Charmaine’s the hotel’s rooftop bar. I was wowed on impact, spectacular views, overstuffed lounges complete with fire pits to keep you cosy, as well as a hip dressed crowd to keep you entertained.
I’ve visited SanFrancisco several times over the years, this time with my beau, which was a new and exciting experience. It was never a concern of mine, but I couldn’t help but wonder, are we, compatible travellers? Lol, perhaps it was his suggestion of renting segways? Full disclosure, I was a bit nervous when he signed me up for the advanced 2-hour tour, Segway & Scooter Tours yes, there was panic in my face. I’ve never tried or considered BUT, it was so much fun! I gotta say, it’s a great way to discover a city, travelling in groups of ten, riding on the road, including the famous “Lombard” street, the most crooked street in the world, TWICE! We covered a lot of territories that you wouldn’t be able to on foot. This guy of mine might be on to something?
After touring on our segways, we stumbled into The Buena Vista famous for creating the popular Irish coffee drink, who knew? With an assembly line of glasses lined up on the bar and a perfect pour of Irish whiskey, coffee and a large dollop of whipped cream, it made for a yummy end to our afternoon.
A trip to San Francisco is never complete without a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf. Brace yourselves, this is one of the busiest tourist areas, filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, seafood stalls and yes, a colony of sea lions! Nearby and worth checking out is Ghirardelli Square, a landmark filled with pubs, a cheese school, boutiques and of course a Ghiradelli store, make sure you get your free chocolate sample. Down the road is See’s Chocolates, with so many tempting choices it was difficult deciding which was my new favourite, thankfully, samples are provided here too.
Alcatraz, I know what you’re thinking, we all watched Clint Eastwood dig his way out, I promise you, it’s nothing like the movie. If you’ve never been, it’s a great outing, definitely worth considering. It’s an easy ferry ride across the bay, once you land, you’re left to explore at your own pace, or take the tour. Alcatraz is loaded with history and interesting stories of its infamous inmates. It’s with a sigh of relief, boarding the return ferry to the mainland, imagining what it must have been like in the day.
Hungry? SanFrancisco’s food scene is second to none, where does one begin? Honestly, it was by total fluke that we discovered Octavia, booked initially at Frances, (a sister restaurant) unfortunately, there was a scheduling mix up which was rectified without due course. We were greeted with champagne, our entire dining experience was amazing. The staff were professional and courteous, did I mention both of these restaurants are Michelin star? Lol, we had no idea. Hands down a memorable evening and the handsome guy sitting across the table from me had nothing to do with it;)
So many diverse neighbourhoods, China town and North Beach, I loved the small cafés and eclectic restaurants, i.e. not your Cheese Cake Factory and yes, we ate there too…BTW great roof patio but definitely a miss. Another great meal, a true classic Zuni Cafe we shared the Ceasar Salad, roast chicken with bread salad aka stuffing with gravy, yeah!! To die for…the chicken takes 45 minutes so come prepared…order a bottle of wine.
A great couple of days, I loved SanFrancisco but the guy has my heart…