03.07.2012 - 08.07.2012 24 °C
We loved San Francisco! The only problem was that 5 days just wasn't enough time to do everything we wanted. It was a bit of a shame about the weather too as it gets pretty chilly and foggy in the summer for some reason. We left the car in a car park for the whole time and explored the city on foot and by bus which made a change as we’ve got used to the American way of driving such short distances!
We were told there are lots of cool murals in San Francisco and we came across our first one as we drove into the city:
We didn’t arrive until late afternoon so we just spent a couple of hours doing a bit of shopping as our hostel was near the main downtown area. In the evening we just chilled out and did some much needed laundry!
Today was 4th July, US Independence Day, so we thought there’d be lots of cool stuff going on to get involved in. Unfortunately, no one in San Francisco seemed that bothered and life seemed to be going about as usual! There were some good fireworks in the evening at Fisherman’s Wharf, but that’s about as far as the celebrations went.
In the morning we went to the ‘Exploratorium’ which is a hands on science museum and very fun. It’s free on the first Wednesday of every month (which is was), so that was pretty nice. There was quite a long line to get in but they had staff out entertaining everyone with science tricks.
The Exploratorium is next to the Palace of Fine Arts, which is a nice building in a pretty little park:
On the way back to the hostel we stopped off in Chinatown which was interesting. Apparently fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco and we visited a little factory that’s made them for decades. We bought a bag and got some pretty random fortunes!
While waiting for the fireworks at the Wharf we went into the Musee Mecanique which was museum of old arcade games and photo reels. You could play and watch them all and it was really funny!
We didn’t try this one as we ran out of quarters, but I’m sure it would have been funny to see what was considered racy years ago!
Today we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and went to Sausalito. Most people rent a bike and cycle over as it’s about 5 miles, but I don’t really like cycling so we just walked it. It was fairly windy and cold while we were walking across the bridge but it wasn’t too foggy so we got some quite good photos.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Sausalito was a very pretty little town with lots of nice shops and restaurants. Some San Franciscans we met in Fiji recommended that we go a restaurant called ‘Fish’, but it turned out that this was the other side of town and another 2 miles walk! We went anyway and I’m glad we did because it was so delicious.
Yummy yummy fish tacos (with Stephen's monster of a meal in the background!)
Being the other side of town also meant we could visit the Bay Model. This is a huge replica of the San Francisco bay that was used to work out the effects of changing salt levels and other geography related things. It was just huge and really interesting as it’s still all working so you can watch as the tides change! Stephen could probably have explained it a bit better than me, seeing as he’s the geographer!
A small section of the bay model
We got the ferry back to San Francisco and got a nice view of the city on the way back:
In the evening we went on a hostel organised bar crawl. It was pretty fun and we met a lot of people, but drinking in bars gets very expensive so it was a one-off!
Today Stephen surprised me we lunch as one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. It was really nice and so delicious, especially dessert. It was nice to go to a place where we had to dress up nicely for a change!
Lunch with Stephen at Boulevard
In the afternoon we had a walk around Golden Gate Park and then went to our new favourite supermarket (Whole Foods) to buy some dinner. We want them to open up Whole Foods in England!
We got up early and went to the Farmers’ Market at the Ferry Building. We got some delicious breakfast there and had a nice wander around. After the market it was time to head to the pier for our trip to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz was really interesting and there was a good audio tour narrated by former prison officers and inmates. It was quite busy though and also freezing!
After Alcatraz we went to a cool street in the city called The Haight. It’s comparable to Spittlefields in London, with lots of vintage clothing shops, delis and alternative people around. There were some pretty eccentric people about, including these guys who were riding pennyfarthings around in old fashioned clothes!
We then headed to the Mission district where we hung out with the cool kids in Dolores Park. If it was a bit warmer we could have easily spent the whole day here, it was great for people (and dog) watching!
There was an ice-cream place by the park that had a queue that went right around the block so we thought we had to check it out. Turns out it was the best ice cream we’ve ever had! I had salted caramel and malted vanilla with peanut brittle, and Stephen had salted caramel, balsamic strawberry and honey lavender. They were all amazing and definitely worth queuing for half an hour for!
The best ice-cream ever!
While walking around the Mission District trying to find another recommended place for dinner (Tacolicious – the best tacos ever!) we came across lots more cool murals and painted buildings. Some of them were so detailed and must have taken so long to do!
We managed to squeeze in one more 'must-do' on our last morning - seeing the world’s crookedest street! We parked up the car and watched other people drive down it for a while and took some photos:
After driving down the crooked street ourselves, it was time to wave goodbye to San Francisco and start our three day road trip down Highway 1 back to LA.