Vacation Post: Touring San Francisco

Even though we arrived in California later than we planned, the rest of our trip went smoothly and we managed to visit and see everything we had hoped to during our vacation! One of my favorite days of the whole trip (and probably of life) would definitely have to be our second day in San Francisco!

I am the very definition of someone with a “Type A Personality” – I pride myself on my organizational skills, I get uncomfortable when things don’t go as planned and I’m the type of person who makes to-do lists for her to-do lists. I spent months preparing for our vacation, and I planned the entire thing out – from our flights and car rentals to our hotels and fun vacation activities – down to the smallest detail to avoid any complications that may arise!

The hotel I found in San Francisco was in the very heart of the city, just a short walk from the Piers as well as various restaurants, bars and shopping spots. Normally, it would’ve been out of our budget because of the location, but Travelocity had a great sale going on and the rate was about 40% off!

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It boasted free parking and Wifi, and from the balcony at night we were able to see the whole city, plus a few far away bridges! The room was comfortable and, aside from cleaning ladies that REPEATEDLY left our room window open while we were out (which resulted in me complaining to the office because, come on, don’t leave a window open when everything we brought on vacation is in this room!), it was really awesome!

Our first official day in the city was Easter Sunday, which also happened to coincide this year with a certain celebration on a very special intersection. The streets were all blocked off, and we walked down them with crowds of people all dancing, singing, blowing bubbles and a million other things! Everything was so colorful and everybody was friendly. The shops lining the street were amazing, and we managed to find quite a few souvenirs to bring home!

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We had a full day of sightseeing ahead of us next! The following morning, we left for the Piers to take a ferry boat to Alcatraz Island! I’ll have a separate post with the photos we took at the prison so as to not bombard you all with too many in this one, but here are a few Instagram ones:

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After the Alcatraz visit, we decided to start on our long list of “must see” spots. The first was an attempt to see redwoods, since our trip was initially supposed to include a visit up to the Redwood National Park. I saw online that there were trails and paths if you crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and lots of forests with redwoods in them up in the Muir Woods!

The Golden Gate Bridge was amazing! It’s so huge and red and so many people were walking / jogging / bicycling across it. We ended up driving back and forth over it a few times due to some poor GPS directions, and the trip was not cheap, haha! But it was still really fun – we even took a small detour and pulled off the road at an overlook so we could snap some photos of it!

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We headed to the beach after spending the early part of the afternoon driving through the mountains. I grew up in Florida and have been to the beach more times than I can count, but I’ve never touched the Pacific ocean and I’ve always wanted to!

We visited while the weather still had a slight chill in the air, so we weren’t able to go beach crazy, but I did stand in the ocean and I found little seashells and driftwood bits that I brought home with me!

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It was such a beautiful day! I can’t wait to visit again sometime and experience the beach during warm weather. 🙂

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Although our day had already been completely packed with sightseeing adventures and activities, we still had one more stop to make!

I grew up watching Full House and named my younger brother Jessie after Uncle Jesse from the show – I was five, leave me alone! 😛

I couldn’t resist making the trip to see the famous Painted Ladies, and they didn’t disappoint! Although one of the beautiful old houses was under renovations, the rest of them were perfect and it was so surreal to see them up close! I stood across the street on a hill and snapped some photos, and then marched up to them and purposefully touched each one as if it meant something. I’m a weirdo, and it was awesome! 😀

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It was such an amazing experience to have the whole day to see whatever we wanted. I thought I was prepared to see it all, but it was SO surreal to see things from photos and movies in front of you. It put things into perspective about being from Florida, too – I probably take our theme parks for granted much more than visitors do, because I’m so used to seeing them. It must be so exciting to visit the parks for the first time, not having ever been to Florida before!

To end the day, we got Jack In the Box for dinner – a fast food chain we don’t have in Florida. I got about halfway through it before getting really grossed out by the amount of grease residue I discovered soaking through the wrapper and paper bag the food came in, haha! But the ordering experience was pleasant – I explained to our cashier that we were on vacation and had never been here before, and she recommended a bunch of things for us to try and also gave us free tacos!

Overall, it was a great day! I was so happy to spend it with Nick and to have experienced everything we did together. I can’t wait to visit again – maybe Los Angeles next time!? 😀

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Comments
6 Responses to “Vacation Post: Touring San Francisco”
  1. jazalvarez says:

    Beautiful pictures! I fell in love with San Fran when I went over 7 years ago.

  2. As a native Bay Area born person, and a lurker on your blog, I have to comment on this post. 🙂 Looks like you had an awesome time! It’s a wonderful, beautiful place, and it always warms my native heart to see it through the eyes of newcomers. Your photos are gorgeous, I really enjoy the bubbles shot and the rainbow tunnel. Doesn’t the bridge just take your breath away? I especially love seeing it through the rainbow tunnel when you’re headed south on 101. That first glimpse is just freaking spectacular.

    I just spent 2.5 years living up in Portland, and every single time I came down to visit (about once every 2 months to see my family/friends) I was teary at the thought that I no longer lived in the place that I truly loved. Portland has its points, but it just isn’t California/SF. Just moved back the first weekend of April, and it’s like I’m on a vacation as well! Everything seems new and shiny and exciting. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see your Alcatraz photos, its such an interesting place. I only got around to touring it about three years ago, which seems crazy since I’ve lived 20-40 minutes away from it my whole life. >_< Definitely the kind of place I need to revisit. I adore old institutional buildings. It has a great urban exploration vibe, even though it's a kept up landmark, which I love.

    Also, I never would have thought about Jack in the Box as being an exciting destination place, but I totally understand. When I visited New Orleans a few years back, drive-through daiquiris were a must. Because…Serving open alcohol containers into a moving vehicle is weird, and even though I wasn't driving, I still felt kinda like a criminal. 😛

    Also- Your shirt totally made me squee with awesome. 🙂

    • Everything was SO beautiful! The bridge was GORGEOUS, we were so amazed that were ON IT! So crazy how we can see something our whole lives on TV or in pictures but it doesn’t compare to actually being ON IT at all, haha! Same for Alcatraz! And just everything over there really, it was so wonderful.

      Portland was definitely great, I adored it, but it’d be more of a “visit” place for me too I think. Growing up in Florida, I need way more sunshine and less rain than we experienced – although the drizzle wasn’t so bad, it’s just constant and my mood sours when I don’t get enough sun, haha!

      I absolutely agree about Alcatraz!! It looks sort of wild and desolate, like so much shit has gone down there. It’s almost eerie? Knowing about what has happened there, learning about children who used to live there even while the prison was used, what a different sort of life and upbringing that must have been! And there’s a section where you are out in the “rec area” and you can just barely see over the wall to the bridge and the city — how depressing that must have been! I felt so disconnected from civilization out there, haha. I liked it but was also relieved to come back!!

      And yes! One of our biggest things was to try tons of food we didn’t have available here, so in California we mostly ate bad fast food and then stocked our minifridge up with stuff from Trader Joe’s to eat! In Portland, we ate at so many places and were stuffed with leftovers like 80% of the time, ha. It was AWESOME!

      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting! It’s so cool that you live over there, my friends keep asking me to come back and just move there, haha. It’s similar to Florida but nicer! I love it, totally get the whole ‘left my heart in SF’ thing! xD

  3. Amelie says:

    Love your pictures!! I’m in the middle of planning for our first SF trip and I’m sooo excited!! We’re still deciding on which hotel to stay at and reading through reviews on sites like booking.com and san-francisco.hotelscheap.org. A friend recommended airbnb.com to us so we might check that out as well.
    I hope the weather will still be great during our october visit… 🙂

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