One Day in: San Francisco

So remember when I said I’d actually keep up with posting here because my life was going to be interesting and full of cool travels? Yeah, that didn’t quite happen. What’s funny about having cool travel opportunities for work is that it’s still work so there’s always so much to do. Who knew?! That’s not much of a revelation, but what is is how much you can fit into just a few hours in a city.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been to San Francisco twice before – once for work, and once for an interview – and that’s it. Aside from going to Fisherman’s Wharf to see the sea lions (both times – I’m a shameless animal lover) and getting an up-close view of the Golden Gate Bridge on a catamaran, I hadn’t seen many of SF’s iconic sights. When I had about 6-7 hours to kill on a Saturday following a couple days in SF for meetings, I thought I’d create my own very brief tour of San Francisco. I knew of a few places that I felt were must see tourist spots, but I also took to Instagram to scope out where to eat and take a few pictures. Looking through local hashtags is one of my favorite ways to find some hidden gems in a new city. Touristy photo ops are great, but it needs to be balanced with some truly local flavor.

I woke up relatively early, for me at least, at 8am and headed out for my day of fun. I had found Mr. Holmes Bakeshop on Instagram while trying to find some fancy doughnuts, and I ended up getting so much more than that here. I walked a little over a mile from my hotel, most of which was slightly uphill, so by the time I arrived at the bakery I was ready for some breakfast. This is one of those spots where you know it’s going to be good because there is a literal line around the block of people waiting to get their hands on something delicious. In this case it was Cruffins – the cronut’s muffin cousin – but sadly, I missed trying one by only a few people. Not all was lost though, I ended up with the most delicious cookie dough stuffed bear claw. I also met this cute pup while waiting in line. I think his face summed up everyone’s mood in that line – how could you not be a level 12/10 on the excitement scale when there are so many delicious things in front of you. So glad that I got baked (goods) in San Francisco.

mr_holmes_bakeshop

 

After devouring my bear claw, I called a car to take me to the Painted Ladies – the victorian buildings best known for their cameo in the Full House theme song. Sadly, Alamo square, the park where the Tanners enjoyed a lovely picnic, was closed for renovations/landscaping, though. Despite that, I loved walking around the neighborhood to see all of the painted ladies in their glory. The painted ladies are all Victorian era houses painted in three or more colors that help to showcase the intricate architectural details that were popular at that time. I could have happily moved into any of them.

From there, I made my way to the Palace of Fine Arts. This may seem like a weird connection, but as a kid I studied Latin in school and became a huge fan of Roman history. I’ve always wanted to go to the Palace of Fine Arts because its architecture evokes the same look and feel of some of the Roman Ruins I saw in Rome and Pompeii years ago. I felt transported back to those places as I strolled around the lagoon and in the rotunda, even though I was still very much in California. Beyond the overall vibes the architecture gave, my favorite part was the symmetry of the rotunda in particular. I stood right in the center of it just looking up in awe of how beautiful it was. I probably looked quite silly, but I didn’t really care.

Next I looked on Instagram for a cool place to take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, as I knew it was nearby. I ended up picking Crissy Field Beach, mainly because it featured a dog park! If I’m an animal lover, then that would make me a fanatic about dogs (my dog in particular). They’re really the best. I walked down the beach and got closer to the bridge, and conveniently closer to the dogs. It was a super sunny day, so I picked a log to sit on for a while to soak up the sun, read, and enjoy watching people and their dogs go by. I laughed for ages at this one dog that seemed to just be yelling at the Bay by running up and down the beach barking its head off. You might have had to be there, though, because that actually sounds super lame written down…

Feeling on the verge of getting a sunburn (thanks dark Seattle winter), I decided to find a spot to have a proper meal. Presidio Social Club was nearby and apparently had a great brunch. I made a reservation and hopped in a car to get over there. Upon arriving and announcing that yes, I had intended to reserve a table for one person, the hostess game me such a pitying look and I had to explain that I was in town for business and didn’t have friends nearby. I know she meant well, and I truly don’t mind doing things on my own, but man – I felt pretty lame for a moment there. I felt much better when I was sat under an umbrella on the patio with a mimosa in one hand and my kindle in the other. I snacked on some oysters, which were ironically from the Puget sound, and some of the most delicious parmesan truffle fries.

Stuffed, I left and made my way back downtown to go to the Ferry Building. I had plans to go get a scoop of ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe, but I was still too full to even think of desert by the time I got there (whomp whomp), but ended up with the most delicious almond milk cappuccino from Blue Bottle instead.

At this point, I was getting pretty tired from lugging my bag around and I still wanted to go shopping for a bit to see if I could find a dress to wear in my friend’s wedding this summer. I always seem to end up in the Westfield Mall in SF right before hopping on a flight. This has been the case each of the three times I’ve visited the city so far. I didn’t end up with a bridesmaid’s dress, but I did find a great pair of destroyed jeans, and felt ready to head over the the airport. I had plans to get there early, sit and drink wine while finishing up my book. However, the terminal I was in had exactly one restaurant and it was a packed sports bar. Luckily, I put myself on standby for a flight leaving to Seattle, and was able to get on just in the nick of time. I think I spent maybe 20 minutes at SFO between getting out of the Uber and getting on to the plane. I was tired from a long day of sight seeing and ready to go home and pick up Brodie.

Short trips like this are super fun because they force you to be really active and make the most of your time. I love the feeling of accomplishment you get by ticking multiple places/experiences off your list in quick succession. However, I need to try my hand at more relaxed vacationing. I have SO MUCH vacation time I need to take this year (Hi, I’m Alli, and I’m a work freak who fears taking time off…). Where should I go to kick my feet up and relax? Thoughts?

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