When I set out to plan a trip, usually my first thought is to head out of the country. I always forget we have some beautiful places right here in the U.S.! As my 25th birthday approached (golden year!), I brainstormed places I’d never been and landed on San Francisco. As a transplant to California, I figured it was time to see more of this amazing state.
As most people know, San Francisco isn’t the cheapest city. We opted to stay at a friend’s house so we could save some money, but if you are visiting and that isn’t an option, I would recommend looking at Hotwire or Hotels.com for a room. When we were back in the city a few weeks later, we used Hotwire to find a last-minute room and we were able to find a five-star hotel for a reasonable price.
When we arrived, we settled in, cheersed to my birthday and headed out to explore. Our first stop was Fort Mason. Besides Austin, this area hosts one of the coolest food truck scenes I have ever been to. It’s full of live music, unique and flavor-packed food options, and did I mention, you’re surrounded by food? Originally, I had wanted to go out to dinner and eat something at one of the restaurants I had researched before the trip, but I was a foodie in food truck heaven and I ate pretty much everything in sight. I’m in a bit of a pork belly phase right now so I ended up trying three different trucks with three different types of pork. Between pork belly wrapped in a rice burrito and pork belly taco style topped with turmeric daikon and cabbage, I think my belly turned into pork (does that joke make sense?). To finish, because you’re never actually full, I had some margaritas and an empanada. Besides the food, there’s plenty of space to grab a beer or cocktail and stand or sit around listening to music. Sidenote: Drinks can get a bit pricey if you’re ordering a cocktail.
The group we came with all headed over to a cute bar not too far away. The Interval at Long Now, is a coffee shop during the day, bar by night. Known for its specialty drinks, views, and library-esque atmosphere, it’s a great spot to go with a small group of people after you’ve had your fill from Fort Mason. If you’re wanting to keep the party going, you’re in luck because the night life in San Francisco has options. To name a couple:
Stock and Trade located in Marina has games for drinking and hanging out.
Kells in North Beach has the perfect setup for outdoor drinking when it’s warm outside.
The next day ended up being sunny and warm, which was perfect since I had a list of things planned. As it goes with the best laid plans, we ended up doing nothing on my list. A friend suggested we go to the farmers market at the Ferry Building. To put into perspective, farmers markets are like my own personal
Disney World and this one was probably one of the biggest I’ve been to. What makes this market so great are the food vendor options. If you can’t decide on something, look for the biggest line. It’s a long line for a reason. I dabbled in the chilaquiles, pickled hard-boiled eggs, sopres topped with carnitas, nutella stuffed donuts, blue ribbon lattes, and pork/avocado cauliflower rice bowls. I have been told numerous times that the cheese stand is the best. I haven’t tried it, but based off the line I can tell it’s a must. We spent about a couple hours here walking around and checking out everything it had to offer. With the Bay Bridge in the background, the ferry building makes for a super cute Saturday morning.
Next, we did the most touristy thing a person can do in SF. Ride the trolleys up California street (start at Market and California). And to be honest, it was worth it! For $7.00, you can get you a ticket and you can even hang off the side car like they do in the movies to get that perfect shot. The higher you go, the better the views of the city and the ocean. We took the trolley to Polk St.
Away from the main attractions, I thought the street had a little more local vibe. We walked up and down checking out different boutiques and trendy, innovative stores. We made sure to stop and get me a birthday donut at Bob’s Donuts. Polk street has a lot to offer and Bob’s stays open 24 hours; so, you can’t go wrong!
Since it was sunny, we decided to take advantage of the day and stay outside. After walking a bit further, we found Blue Barn restaurant and grabbed salads to go. Solid size portions and healthy options if you’ve drowned yourself in the occasional donut every few hours. We took our food with us down to the Marina District next to Chrissy Field. People fill the park playing grass volleyball or riding bikes and staying active. It was the perfect set up for a picnic and to enjoy the views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
After basically stuffing myself with food for two days, we decided to do a little walking tour to work it off. The Palace of Fine Arts is right across the street from the park. You can walk around checking out the gardens/ponds or look at the Roman-esque architected structures. Not something you’d expect to see in SF that’s for sure. We kept walking to the Lyon Street Steps.
What makes this staircase so cool are the homes and gardens around it. You can see some of the most expensive homes in all of America and find yourself with one jaw dropping view of the city at the top. Burn calories/get views… worth it. We continued along the street just admiring the charming homes. It was a pretty low-key day but it was the perfect way to see the city. My birthday weekend was complete with a visit to my favorite place in the world, Santa Cruz. Topping it off with one more local farmers market, some paddle boarding, and one incredible homemade dinner with Brian’s family made for a pretty golden 25th.
We only had time to spend a day and a half in SF, but I’m dying to go back for more! If you’ve seen or been let me know your best tips or places to go! PS. if you go, bring layers.
Shop my look from San Francisco here!