I’ve been blessed to be able to have explored some of the best cities in this country and SF is, by far, one of my favorites. However, anytime I go into the city, there’s some plan or reason why I’m there. So, I decided last Saturday, I would go into the city and just see what I could find and do while exploring. I had a few general ideas of things I wanted to see that I hadn’t previously done but no concrete plans.
First thing I had to decide on was how I was going to get there. Driving in the city is horrible and parking is a nightmare not to mention a killer on the bank account. But, for me personally, I love driving over the Bay Bridge and I decided I would just drive over. I’ve always loved driving over big bridges and the Bay Bridge has become one of my favorites.
Side note: One of my best app finds, so far, since moving here has to be SpotHero. I ended up not paying a dime for parking during my day in the city and I knew my car was safe in garage parking. Definitely try it out if you’re looking for cheap but safe parking in a big city. There’s also codes online for discounted parking.
First stop of the day was the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building. While I was walking over to the waterfront, I noticed there was something going on in the park. Turns out, it was Kevin Hart’s Rally event. I hung around for just a little bit before starting my day but unfortunately, Kevin didn’t come out while I was there:/ I did see some of it on his Snapchat though. I walked through the market place and saw a lot of goodies I wanted to get but I knew that wasn’t a good idea since I was going to be out all day. Next time though! Fresh vegs, hand cut meats and so many desserts. 😋😋
After the Ferry Market, I headed towards Coit Tower. I wanted to go with my mom when she was in town but we just didn’t have time. Let me tell you, Filbert Steps are NO JOKE! It was intense but I did it from bottom to top. Of course, I stopped to catch a glimpse of the view just a few times. 😒😉Once I got to Coit, the views were even more impressive. You have a 360 degree view of the city and the Bay. It was a nice, clear, “Karl the Fog” free day. It’s a touristy thing to do but I think you should definitely climb Filbert Steps and go to the top of Coit Tower at least once while you’re in the city. Just be careful on those stairs if you have any serious medical conditions because the elevation changes pretty significantly – there are other ways to get up there via metro or buses and there’s actually parking up there too. (The healthcare provider in me needs to throw that out there!) What goes up, must come down…into Litttle Italy and Chinatown. (At least going down all of the stairs is better than going up more😂😂).
After my time at Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill, I decided to make my way through Littly Italy as I was headed to Chinatown. Let’s be honest, I was really looking forward to some good Chinese food but once I got there, I just couldn’t find anything that I really wanted. I was even prepared with cash (I usually forget that part). So, I ended up walking through the streets and getting some postcards to send to my family/friends back in the South.
The last time I went to Chinatown in SF was years ago – I think I was a sophomore/junior in college. While we were there last time, they had a big parade and everything. I was upset when I missed the Chinese New Year this year because I knew the celebration was something else over there!
I made my way through most of the main areas and some of the side streets, eventually heading to the famous gateway – Dragon’s Gate. No parade this time but I always love seeing the decorations and bright colors all around!
By this time, it was getting close to lunch (or past actually since I didn’t eat breakfast). I didn’t even know where to start because of all the different good options. After Yelping a few places that I might not have otherwise known about, I decided on The Bird on New Montgomery St.
I’ll tell you this, coming from the South, I love a good chicken sandwich. Throw on a little spice, some pickles, add ranch and I’m good to go. I know a thing or two about a good chicken sandwich and The Bird definitely lived up to its reputation of “best chicken sandwich in SF”. I got the spicy bird (no mayo – always!) and was lucky enough to find a seat outside in the sun. I’ve never been big on taking pictures of my food before I eat it but this one would’ve been IG worthy (I still didn’t do it though:/). I, unfortunately, couldn’t eat it all because 1) I had another stop in mind for later in the afternoon and 2) it was pretty big but oh so very good and worth it!
After lunch, I decided to get on the Metro and head up to Alamo Square where the infamous Painted Ladies reside. (Disclaimer: normally, I would’ve walked but my legs weren’t having this SF hills after all the steps that morning and I still had a few more things I wanted to see so I decided on the quicker option). As a kid, I LOVED “Full House” and always wanted to see those houses in SF, so this was the day my inner kid got her wish. Granted, they look a whole lot different now but I still knew what they were when I saw them! Next stop of the day was close by Dolores Park near the Castro District. I walked a little bit but I also jumped back on the Metro and headed for Bi-Rite Creamery. This little SF gem I found on Pinterest and I was craving some ice cream so it just worked for me.
Of course, like most places in the city, there was a pretty good line but from what I had heard about the place, the wait was worth it. So I just stood there for a while and catched up with an old friend from the past.
When it got to be my turn, I had every intention of going with my favorite – salted caramel but I decided to change it up a little and see what the other flavors were like (they let you taste test before choosing your flavors). I had heard everyone loved the Honey Lavender – it was good but not my favorite. I’m not a big fan of lavender. I am, however, a big fan of the Boozy Irish speciality flavor they had going on. Just the right mix of “boozy” and “creamy”. The Boozy Irish root beer float was definitely a winner! #pinterestwin
By this time, it was mid afternoon and there was two more things I really wanted to see before I headed back home but they involved driving so I headed back to my car.
You can’t go to SF and not see the famous Lombard St in the Russian Hill neighborhood of SF which is hailed as the “crookedest street in the world”. Now, if you don’t know about Lombard St – this block of Lombard St is so steep they had to add 8 hairpin turns to help prevent accidents and injuries. It’s a traditional tourist spot and people love to walk/drive down it. (Did you know: according to the Internet, Lombard is not even the “crookedest” street in SF much less the world – the crookedest street in SF is actually Vermont St in the Potrero Hill District (I believe); however, Lombard is more famous and is more visually appealing).
I decided to walk down (even though that meant more stairs – my calves and flutes were getting an extra workout today) so I could take a few pictures and honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to sit in traffic to drive down a block. Maybe one day…It is pretty interesting to look at but could you imagine living on this block! So many cars going down for no reason AND you have to have a special pass you show just to get to your house! Craziness😳
And last but not least, one of the things I was looking forward to the most was the drive up to Twins Peak. The drive was gorgeous and the views from the top were incredible! I would love to see the views at night but I’m not sure how I would feel about driving to the top in the dark!
While I was headed to my final destination, I was flagged down by a guy who was by his car, which appeared to be not running. I hesitated for a second just because I’ve seen way too many shows and heard way too many stories about what could go wrong. But, I ended up stopping because we were on a busier street and hoped if anything happened, someone would help me out. (And if I were in the same position, I would hope someone could help me out if I couldn’t call AAA).
Turns out, the guys battery had died and the area where we were, while busy, had no cell service so he couldn’t call for help. Thankfully, his battery started with a jump and nothing bad happened! My good deed had been done for the day (because I wasn’t even supposed to be on that road – my GPS took me to the wrong street). Now, I have to admit, I might not have stopped if it was night…I’m a little paranoid about that kinda thing but I’m glad I could help him out.
A few short mins later, I made it to the top of Twins Peak and had one of the most stunning 360 degree views of the city, the ocean and the Bay. Photos really don’t do it justice! Clear views without a touch of fog to be seen but the wind…it was almost too much. 😒
By this time, it was getting to be early evening and I was ready to be home and I knew, even though it was Saturday, traffic would be waiting for me on the Bay Bridge and on I80.
I’ve definitely learned some of the traffic patterns around here…that’s for sure!
I was able to mark a few things off of my SF to-do list and now, I can add even more things I want to do. I want to check out some of the museums, go to the Zoo (I know, I’m still a kid:/), definitely hit up AT&T park for a Giants game and so much more in both SF and Oakland. I can’t believe I’ve already been here for 3 months and I only have 3 months left before I have to decide what to do next and where I’m going to do it!
Until then…my next big trip is HEADING BACK HOME! I’m headed back to the south in less than 2 weeks for the arrival of my new niece or nephew and to see all of my family and friends! I. Can. Not. Wait!