So Xeric and I visited San Francisco, California in July and we had an amazing time! We stayed at the Hilton hotel located in Union Square. Union Square is a great place to stay because it puts you in the heart of great shopping, dining, and transportation access points. We rode BART from San Francisco International Airport to the Powell Street Station, which put us just blocks away from our hotel. BART was clean and easy to understand. All trains leaving the airport take you into San Francisco. The fee is based on where you are going. It cost $8.00 for each of us to travel from the airport to the Powell Street Station.
San Fran is a walk-able city but with the steep hills and cool weather… dressing appropriately is key. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. Coming from Atlanta in July we were not prepared for the 60 degree weather that we faced upon arrival. If you come under dressed…don’t worry,vendors are stocked with San Francisco wind breakers and warm hats. The City is so unique. It is the only place that I have ever been where the temperature varies so drastically. If you travel to Sausalito, a neighboring city just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, you can expect the weather to be up to 20 degrees warmer.
So let’s get down to the food. As tourist, our days started early, so getting a good breakfast was essential. We stopped at a diner near our hotel the first morning. It was just ok and not worth spending much time discussing. However, the next two days we let Yelp reviews lead us to some great places! First, we went over to Nob Hill Grill. I had the chicken and waffles which were really good. Xeric had the sausage and egg breakfast sliders with home fries.
On the third day, we went to Mama’s. Mama’s is a great place to have breakfast or brunch on the weekend. Tip: get there about an hour before the place opens. We arrived about 45 minutes before the place opened and there were at least 20 people ahead of us. Luckily we made it in with the first wave of guests. The place is really small but full of character…you really feel like you are in a comfy family kitchen having a wonderful breakfast just like the ones mommy used to make. We tried the cinnamon and chocolate french toast. It was awesome! Tip: the place is cash only and you should look over the menu ahead of time. Once you are inside things move quickly…know what you want.
Later that day we went to Brenda’s French Soul food. What can I say? The Yelp views are stellar and for good reason. The place is great. When you arrive, place your name and the size of your group on the chalkboard wall… which sits on the right side of the register. Once you are seated, prepare to be amazed. Biscuits, grits, crawfish stuffed beignets and anything else that may delight the palate. Get the flight of beignets which includes one of each type :traditional, chocolate, apple and crawfish.
We also ventured to 21st Amendment for drinks. Xeric is a beer connoisseur and he couldn’t stop smiling. I even found a beer that I liked and beer is not my thing. Try the apple cider beer and everything else!
Well I haven’t even really talked about all of the great places to see and things to do. Of course we walked the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. It is impressive. Cold ..but impressive. We took the 1.6 mile trek across with piping cups of hot cocoa from the little cafe near the bridge. You get the best views of the City and Alcatraz from the Golden Gate. Tip: If you plan to visit Alcatraz, buy your tickets well in advance. We didn’t make it this trip 🙁
We took a two-day jump off jump on tour through Big Bus Tours. The company picks up at the Hilton and most hotels in the San Francisco area. We got the 48 hour pass for $50.00 per person. It was a great deal.
We spent time at Fisherman’s Wharf which was a fun experience. We ate dinner courtesy of one of the many vendors serving fresh seafood. There are at least a dozen places to get street food. There are also sat down restaurants.
So as a tourist you can’t go to San Francisco without riding a trolley at least once! It will run you $6.00 per person per ride. We waited in line for nearly an hour to ride the trolley …but it was worth the wait. Traveling through the city by trolley was exhilarating. Going downhill hanging off the side was thrilling.
We also went to Chinatown and took in the abundant shopping options in Union Square. Macy’s was awesome; the second largest in the country with one entire level devoted to shoes…lol. Tip: ask for the 10 percent visitor discount on your purchase.
I could go on and on but I won’t.
You really need a minimum of five days to really even scratch the surface of this diverse gem. We cannot wait to return.