On my way to Sydney, Australia, my family and I got to have an impromptu day trip in San Francisco, California. We flew with United Airlines, and through some frustrating and unfortunate circumstances (like an hour delay of mechanical issues and taxing for 50 minutes), we missed our flight to Sydney and were stranded in the middle of the night in San Francisco. But, my family and I made lemonade out of lemons and decided to make the best of this situation.
I have traveled to San Francisco about 5 years ago, so it was cool to be able to see the city again with older eyes. To me, lots of parts seemed dirty and touristy, but other parts were cute upbeat areas.
Here are some places I visited, including some of the tourist attractions and also some newer areas I got to see.
Known for their sourdough, my family and I stopped here for some breakfast. Sourdough is actually the “best of the worst” of bread, since it is fermented it is better for your body than a bleached white loaf. Since this bakery is considered one of the best, we ordered some waffles and french toasts and wraps knowing they would be good, but the best breakfast food were their english muffins (get those!!). Also, around the back of the store, they have a cool area where you can watch them slice dough and prepare it for the oven; these master chefs roll and cut batches of bread.
There are also TONS of bread to eat. The bakers create interesting designs, shaping the bread into crabs and mermaids. The store inside the bakery is also super trendy and off-beat with an array of cookbooks and kitchen tools.
The aroma of steaming crabs and fried shrimp soaks the air. The Fishers Warf is the perfect place if you are in the mood for some San Francisco seafood. Since I had just ate, I walked through the hallway and admired the food and watched the lines grow by the minute. I would say this would be a good place for lunch, if you don’t mind waiting a bit. The bay is also within reach, so grab a crab sandwich and take a stroll by the water.
Who can resist San Francisco’s finest chocolate? Trekking up the steep hills, we arrived at the doorstep of Ghirardelli in need of a sweet treat. In the back they demonstrate how they make the chocolate and it took all my will power not to dive into the creamy coco and make snow angels. One unfortunate thing is they use high fructose corn syrup in their recipe 🙁 My healthy side just started crying. But, I would still get some free samples out front (shout out to my girl Angela who hooked me up with multiple chocolate flavors!!) because there chocolate is so good.
Also known as the curviest street in the world. You’re going to need some serious mad driving skills to complete this 8 turn road. I admired it from afar and took a picture from the top (see above). It was a boring stop because all I did was look at it, and I have seen it before, but it’s a tourist must do. Check it out if you have access to a car or want to test your driving skills.
Mama mia! This small area is filled with Catholic Cathedrals and small fine food shops. It was a quick pass through. If you are looking for a place to eat, go to The Stinking Rose. If you love garlic and anything with flavor, this spot it amazing. But just to warn you, you might want to invest in some nose plugs…
This was a long street filled with tacky shops and interesting stores. I remember when I first came here 5 years ago, I bought Baoding balls and still have them on my book shelf. There are tons of tea places to try and a lot of herbal stores filled with deer antlers (no kidding!) and Ginseng. A cool store I went into was only filled with pop anima creatures.
The best part of Chinatown are the Dragon gates, so if you don’t feel like walking through small, crowded streets, I would recommend taking a picture of the gates and wander around the area a bit.
Union Square/Financial District
It isn’t a city without a shopping district. This place is right after you leave Chinatown and it is even busier. Check out high end stores like Dior and Rolex. The mall where Nordstrom is in is gigantic and awesome! You could get lost in there for hours.
While I was shopping, I stopped by the Microsoft store to see a guy playing Just Dance and killing it, getting 5 stars every time. It was such a spectacle, a crowd formed around him to watch his sick moves. It made my day!
BART (Underground Subway System)
To get back to the hotel, we took the BART to the hotel and then to the airport. It is fairly efficient. There is a terrible screeching noise so prepare for that (bring earplugs/phones). Also, not trying to scare anyone, but an underground train in earthquake city is a little sketchy. It is a good way to get from place to place for cheap!
Have you been to San Francisco? What places have you seen? I hope when I come back to revisit Alcatraz and the seals. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for some Australian Adventures!