The first time I visited San Francisco was for a Family Trip in 2013 when my brother Nick had a lacrosse tournament in San Francisco for Ohio State University; we decided to make a family trip out of it, and I’m really glad we did. In 2015, after Mike and I drove up the coast along the pacific coast highway, we spent two nights in San Francisco. I was also here for a client in 2015. I will compile my favorite experiences from those trips.
The famous Fisherman’s wharf is right on the San Francisco Bay, and it’s traditionally a spot where local fishermen sell their fish on the market. We stayed at the Marriott right there in the wharf, which was really nice because it was in walking distance to everything.
This pier has rows and rows of shops for tourists, including chocolate stores, restaurants, souvenir stores, games, etc. At the end of the pier are these floating socks where there are hundreds of Sea Lions chilling out and sun bathing. It was so cool to watch them play around with each other, and play king of the castle and push each other off of the docks. When Mike and I went, it was July, and the Sea Lions had all migrates south to mate. Make sure you go to SF during the winter so that they are there!
The famous Ghiredelli square is where they make Ghiredelli chocolate, and it smells amazing outside. We went into the store and split a delicious and ginormous ice cream Sunday with cookie dough ice cream, Ghiredelli chocolate sauce, some mini Ghiredelli squares, and lots of whipped cream.
This street is known as the most crooked street in the world. It zig zags back and fourth going down a very steep hill, and has thousands of colorful flowers along the sides with houses lined up right next to it. All of the streets near here are very hilly. When Mike and I walked up here from Ghiredelli Square, I was out of breathe.
A unique mode of transportation in San Francisco is the rail trolley cars. People can buy monthly passes and when the car is coming by, they just run up to it and jump on. We bought a day pass took one on a ride all around the city.
The town has a little Italy, so of course we had to go there for dinner one night since my family is Italian. The streets are lines with Italian restaurants, and the smell on the street is like fresh garlic. It is really amazing how steep some of the streets in the city are!
This is one of the tallest hills that sits way above the city of San Francisco, and over looks the entire city and bay. We went at sunset, and it was a beautiful site; it was also extremely windy.
San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic
My brother played lacrosse for Ohio State and played in the San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic. It was a really fun experience to watch him play in the city.
I also visited San Francisco many times for work, and I always like to stay at the JW Marriott right in Union square. The square is where a lot of local artists sell their art work during the day, and the city holds events there. There is also a Bart subway station not too far away, which is a quick and easy way to get around the city.
We wanted to go here to see all of the pretty colored houses that look like the ones in full house. What we found was a bunch of hippy and hipster shops. We stopped at a really unique coffee shop.
Golden State Park
At the entrance of the park, there were a lot of homeless people lounging around, which was pretty sad to see. Once you keep walking in the park, it is truest a great park for San Francisco to have. They have basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer and football fields, gardens, and so many activities for people to do. We went to the Japanese Tea Garden, which was unique to see, but cost 8 dollars to get into (that doesn’t include tea, that is separate). The garden was really unique and cool to see, but for 8 dollars a person, it was really small, and didn’t have much to do.
Outside Lands Music Festival
Every summer, there is a music festival called Outside Lands inside Golden Gate Park. I went in 2018 with my husband and some of my work friends. They have many different themed “lands”. I don’t know if my favorite was the Wine Lands, Chocolate Lands, Cheese Lands, Comedy Lands, Flower Lands, Grass Lands, or Beer Lands!
Golden Gate Bridge
When I drove across the bridge with my family, it was so foggy, and it looked like it was going to storm. It was so bizarre. When I went across with Mike, it was clear and beautiful. It really crazy how quickly the weather can change in San Francisco!
Mike and I went to Baker Beach to participate in Silent Disco beach yoga with Outdoor Yoga SF, and it was so much fun! A really awesome Bay area teacher guided us through a 75-minute experience of yoga, zen beats, dance, and the beach vibes. We played in the water, pranced around, and listened to some really great songs. I would highly recommend anyone of any age or any yoga experience (or no experience) to check this out! It was so much fun!
Mission Dolores Park
Dolores Park is in the Mission Area, and every weekend during the summer it is packed with people picnicking and hanging out with friends. During the Summer of 2018, while we lived in Redwood City, we came to the city with my work friends to celebrate Mike’s birthday. It was a beautiful day, and so much fun!
Right on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a cute little town on the water called Sausalito. Mike and I ate brunch outside at a really cute restaurant. So many people rent bikes and ride them across the city, and then hang out there. I think it’d be fun to rent them and do that one day.
San Francisco Ferry
Mike and I took a ferry back from Sausalito to San Francisco. The ferry goes right near Alcatraz, which is a unique site. The ferry ride was about 20 minutes, and it was beautiful to see the city from the water.
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is about 30 minutes further north from Sausalito, and it is a beautiful preserved area of nature with a cathedral of redwoods that age from 400 to 800 years old, and their height up reaches up to 250 feet high. For many people that live in the city of San Francisco, it is truly a breath of fresh air to visit here. The park is 554 acres, with many different hiking trails of various degrees of difficulty. There are boarded trails that families walk with babies in strollers, and there are others where you hike for days across the mountains. It is definitely worth checking out for a quick trip away from the city!
Sonoma and Napa Valley
Wine country is about an hour drive north east of the city. We stopped in Sonoma first, which is less famous, and honestly I liked better. We went Evolve, which is the wine tasting room that one of the past Bachelor’s on ABC owns.
I had a client that was downtown Oakland. From the reputation I heard about the city, I decided to stay at the JW Marriott right downtown in San Francisco in Union Square. I took the Bart underground subway to Oakland every day, which goes underneath the San Francisco Bay. Downtown Oakland reminded me of Detroit how parts were nice, and other parts were desolate. There were many cute restaurants and shops for people to go to on their lunch breaks. I bought some of the most amazing chocolate I’ve ever had at a little market.
This city is on the hill top above Oakland with amazing views looking at San Francisco. It’s so unique, and I can see why it is such a popular place for people to go to college. While I was here, I had to drive past the Kappa Alpha Theta house; it was so massive and so beautiful.