My Travel Guide to San Francisco

 I have included my must see activities to get the true San Francisco experience. I have included places to shop, eat, and sights to seeGuess who is back again…..with another Travel Guide.

I know, I know “Is she ever home?”

Answer: No!

Yes, it is fun but also stressful when you are moving into a new home. Add another layer of stress when work is being done on it and you can’t really unpack or get settled.

BUT! I am not complaining. I feel ultra #blessed to be able to travel and see new things.

So….how did I go to San Francisco for a week? Well, Jeff’s company has an office in San Mateo which is about 20 miles south of San Francisco. Jeff had the opportunity to work there for a week and I am not working this summer so I tagged along like the clingy wife that I am.

Most of you know, one of my BFFs Becca aka Non Basic Blonde (check out her blog, it is awesome) lives in San Francisco. She took some time off work to show me around and we had an awesome time. I wanted to share with you, the things I saw and what I would recommend if you are making a trip to the Bay Area.

Travel Guide to San Francisco:

Visit Pier 39: So this is a very touristy spot and can be overwhelming, especially on the weekend—we went on a Sunday, but if you are an animal lover I would recommend it. There are HUGE seals that chill on the docks there that are so fun to watch. I pushed my way to the front and stared at them with a smile on my face for 10 minutes. You are very close to Fisherman’s Wharf, so this is a great spot to visit if you want to see that too. Info about Pier 39 here 

Shop and explore The Mission: Okay so San Francisco is like a cool city and their neighborhoods all have these names and the locals are saying them all the time so casually. As in “hey, we’re going to grab drinks in The Mission and then head over to Nob Hill for dinner” —that could be nonsense and very inaccurate geographically because traffic is heinous but you get the point. The Mission has a ton of cool shops (we walked into one where the cashier had a rat on his shoulder), bars, and 1000 taquerias. I had an acai bowl, like a real California girl, at Project Juice. We got burritos from La Taqueria which were awesome (worth waiting in the long line) and had drinks at Cha Cha Cha, try their “world famous” sangria.  One of my favorite stores was Little Paper Planes Shop, tons of cute gifts and home items. 

Visit the Painted Ladies and the “Full House” House:  So fun and so nostalgic. Many people think that the “Full House” House is one of the Painted Ladies but that’s not actually correct. The “Full House” House is on Broderick street, if you google it you can find the address! The Painted Ladies are on Steiner street right by Alamo Square park which is on a hill and provides a nice view of the city. 

Go to Napa: Napa is about an hour and ten-minute drive from San Francisco (with no traffic). Becca and I went to two wineries while we were there, Castello di Amorosa and Frog’s Leap Winery. We wanted something more laid back and after some research and a recommendation from a friend we decided on these two. It was so much fun learning more about the history of wine and how it is made. I would love to make another trip out to the area and stay for a few nights to visit some more wineries and really enjoy the Napa Valley. Just make sure to eat before or make lunch plans—we literally had half a muffin, some almonds, and a few cracker/breadsticks. Do as we say—not as we do. 

Isn’t she so cute?? Go follow her– nonbasicblonde.com

Self-Timer for the win!

See a Giants Game: After our Napa trip, Becca and I met Jeff at AT&T park for a Giants’ game. We purchased $10 tickets and had an amazing view of the city. Becca and I were starving (read above…half a muffin, a few almonds, and some cracker/breadsticks) so we wolfed down some food immediately and then took in the game. It was a ton of fun and really relaxing to just sit and take in the scenery of the city.

Visit Land’s End Park: One of Jeff’s co-workers recommended this spot to us. We went on a Thursday night after work and spent about an hour and a half exploring. There are walking trails (beware STAIRS) and phenomenal views of the golden gate bridge and the bay. We even saw some humpback whales…so cool! Definitely, take the time to explore, you may want to wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes.

Spend an afternoon in Dolores Park: So, I don’t really know how to describe this experience…it’s sort of like a day at the beach meets tailgating. Grab a blanket to spread out, some cold beverages, and snacks. Find yourself a spot to lounge for a few hours and enjoy the people watching. While we were there we saw a “robe party”, dogs roaming freely, and some interesting “performances”.  It’s fascinating to see such  different groups of people meeting in the same place.

Visit Alcatraz: Once we had finalized our plans to visit San Francisco, booking our trip to Alcatraz was one of the first things we did. We decided to take the first ferry over on Saturday morning ( I would recommend doing this). I would suggest allowing yourself a few hours to explore the island and take in its rich history. Definitely, do the self-guided audio tour in the jail cells. It is narrated by former inmates and security guards, their stories are so interesting and there is something cool/eerie about hearing the accounts from the people who lived through them. The island provides a unique view of the city all while you are learning about it’s deep and complicated past, truly an interesting experience. 

Tips for your visit:

-Bring/wear layers….the weather changes constantly and it’s amazing how you can be sweating walking up a hill and then shivering the next.

– Pack a backpack…we did a ton of walking and I wish I would have had a stylish and functional bag to put my layers in (read above) and all the stuff I would want throughout the course of a day.

– Wear comfortable shoes….again, don’t know what I was thinking but bring and wear comfortable shoes

-Save money by using Uber pool….us Michigan folk don’t have uber pool offered in our town but it is available in large cities. Uber pool is a service that allows you to save money on transportation by sharing a ride with someone else. It may have added 10 minutes or so to our travel time but we were never in a rush and we were able to save on average 50% on our rides.

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 I have included my must see activities to get the true San Francisco experience. I have included places to shop, eat, and sights to see

Anything I missed? Leave me a note in the comments 🙂