4 days in San Francisco

by Dec 10, 2015North America, USA4 comments

When we first started planning the start of our big round the world trip we thought we’d ease back into full time travel and have quite a relaxed start to it without too much running around sightseeing.

I had already spent nearly a month staying across the bay in Oakland way back in 2007 so had already seen a lot of the area and Dayna was happy to skip a lot of the main popular touristy things like Alcatraz (despite me saying they were pretty cool). We also didn’t really do any of our usual brainstorming and planning before we left so we were expecting some chilled out days hanging out in nice cafes etc. Maybe we would go to a movie to fill in time…

As is pretty normal for us, things didn’t work out exactly as we were thinking they would and we ended up with a packed itinerary for our 4 days in San Francisco. It was a great little start to our travels though – here’s a few highlights of our time in San Francisco.

Day 1 – Walking tour of San Francisco

The best way to get your bearings in a city is on foot so we took off early on our first full day in town to explore. We stayed at HI – San Francisco Downtown hostel because it is in a great location nearby Union Square so it was a great spot to start a walking tour (also, they thankfully included unlimited free earplugs at reception which came in handy as it was a really noisy spot!).

Chinatown San Francisco
View of San Francisco from Coit Tower
Lombard Street
Sealion's at Pier 39 in San Francisco
Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Walking up to Lombard Street

We capped off the day with a delicious dinner with my Uncle Steve at La Méditeranée in Berkeley (sorry for getting lost and being late Steve!) and made plans for a drive up north the next day.

Day 2 – Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge

The weather forecast was pretty miserable so we were grateful to not do any sightseeing on foot. Uncle Steve picked us up in time to drive around the bay and sneak a few photos of the Golden Gate Bridge in before the rain set in and hid everything.

golden gate bridge from fort baker
Golden Gate Bridge covered in fog from Marin

We drove up to Point Reyes for lunch and had some scenic drives in the rain through Californian redwoods but we didn’t brave the rain for any photos on the way. Even on a rainy day it is beautiful there though. And so good to catch up with family – thanks again Steve!

We ended the day with a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to see where we’d be biking the next day.

driving across golden gate bridge san francisco

Day 3 – Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

We got up bright and early on a beautiful sunny day to go down to Fisherman’s Wharf to pick up bikes for the ride.

There were some great views of the bridge on the ride.

golden gate bridge san francisco from bay
on golden gate bridge
pointing at pier 39 san francisco

You can check out our post and video of our day biking around the bay and catching the ferry back from Sausalito by clicking here.

Day 4 – Painted Ladies, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park & Baker Beach

This was another busy day of walking.

We started the day by heading to Steiner St & Alamo square; the home of the Painted Ladies. They maybe sound a bit more exciting than they are (the ladies in question are actually houses) but this is a must see if you’re a fan of the 90s TV show Full House (you’ll probably recognise the shot from the opening credits of the show).

painted ladies san francisco

Dayna and I have agreed we’d both have been awesome hippies if it was the 70s now so we had to go check out one of the suburbs famous for its hippie/alternative culture. We walked from the Painted Ladies and took a stroll down Haight Street, checked out some hand made tie dye clothing stores and plenty of other quirky shops before having brunch and a beer at Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery to refuel for the rest of the day.

Image - haight ashbury san francisco
Image - haight ashbury san francisco

Walking west along Haight Street, you get to the huge Golden Gate Park where we headed in to see the Japanese gardens and Huntington Falls. There are other botanical gardens in there that you can pay to see but we opted for a free stroll instead.

Image - huntington falls san francisco
turtle at japanese gardens san francisco

We left the Golden Gate Park to go get some more views of the Golden Gate Bridge; this time from Baker Beach (we had to go see “my” beach after all). Turns out the northern section of this beach is actually a nude beach but we were there on a chilly enough day to avoid seeing anything on display.

It was a nice way to end our time in San Francisco and get one last view of the bridge we seemed to be so obsessed with (we ended up getting photos from pretty much every angle!).

golden gate bridge from bakers beach

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