I have a riddle for you: What do you get when you combine an east-coaster-travel-blogger with her east-coaster-photographer-best-friend? THE BEST BLOG POST YOU’VE EVER READ COVERING THE BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY I’VE EVER HAD, THAT’S WHAT!!!!
I wish I wasn’t THAT lame, I REALLY DO ^^, but in the spirit of transparency, what you see it what you get.
My best friend Kaitlyn and I had talked about taking a trip together in passing, as a bucket list item, as something you just say but you don’t really mean. Until one day we decided it was time to just go for it, and we bought the plane tickets!
So, where would we go?
When I decided to visit my cousin on tour with Hamilton in San Francisco**, I knew Kaitlyn HAD to come. SF has for sure always been on my list, but it is at THE TOP of hers! And we needed to conduct an important experiment highly integral in the furtherance of man kind: IS West Coast Really The BEST COAST????
Okay, last stupid joke, promise.
Actually probably not. Sorry.
It’s great that for us this was a bucket list destination as you’ve got to be REALLY excited about where you’re going to make getting up at 3:30 AM to catch a morning flight okay.
Neither of us are great flight sleepers, so we suffered through a five hour one way morning flight (in an aircraft with not ONE TV to be found…wtf @AmericanAirlines???) completely awake. We knew that we’d be exhausted, but we also made the conscious decision to carpe diem this situation…we had three days to devote to San Francisco and couldn’t waste one second!!
So, some opening thoughts…San Francisco is EXACTLY what you imagine it to be and all of my California dreams came true the moment I stepped off the plane. Rolling hills that give way to mountaintops off in the distance of the cityscape, beautiful San Francisco style homes splattered with every pastel color, ALL THE GREENERY EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. It’s just breathtaking walking out of the house!
We were staying in an apartment in the Mission District and spent soooo much time just walking blocks and blocks of the neighborhood. The sun is bright, happy, but not beating down on you as it does in the Carolinas. We left the heavy, near unbearable southeastern summer humidity IN THE FREAKIN DUST and we weren’t looking back!!!
We also found pretty quickly that the locals are quite inviting and friendly 😉
What We Did:
There is SO much nature that northern California has to offer, and luckily SO MUCH OF IT was in our backyard! This is an incredibly outdoorsy corner of the earth and everyone around you makes you want to be outside! Think hikers & bikers & runners EVERYWHERE.
We headed out of the city and into the Marin Headlands, the peninsula connecting the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco. You can hike through the hills and see mountainous and oceanic views in all of the 360 degrees around you. You could spend an entire day wandering!
One thing that I didn’t realize before coming to San Francisco is that there are approximately 38,293 designated places that you can view the Golden Gate Bridge. Numerous beaches, overlooks, parks, and hikes can bring you to various spots of the bridge showing off. But here’s one of my favorites, a panoramic lookout off the Slacker Hill trail head in the Marin Headlands:
I mean honestly, what is there to say here? (except that my best friend and I are in *~*~lurve~*~*~ and I am so happy that my cousin agreed to accommodate every basic ass photo opportunity we wanted)
Like okay, Golden Gate, we get it, you’re gorgeous.
We headed further into Marin County past Saucilito into the Mount Tamalpais State Park. More more views, more beautiful sunshine! There is SO MUCH to see that I can’t really even cover it. You’ll find hills, oceans, beaches, waterfalls, redwoods, and bay views as you make the drive through the park lands. Everything I saw just reminded me how badly I need to see the Pacific Northwest…everything was so vastly green and gorgeous.
A word of warning to everyone: the drive is hilly. And very, very curvy. Very, very, often. You might think to yourself, “oh I don’t get motion sickness!” And to that I say, THAT’S AWFULLY CUTE, because this drive AIN’T A JOKE. You might be forward thinking to bring along something for motion sickness…I say this from experience as SOMEONE unnamed in our party did get car sick. I’ll also say you’ll quickly get over it because the trek is quite honestly worth it but…save yourself some trouble from someone who’s been there, done that 🙂
Taking a second to relax on Stinson Beach
A lot of our time was also spent wandering through the city:
AND. What’s a Millenial’s visit to San Francisco without a stop at the house featured in the opening credits of the popular 90s TV show, Full House?!
Behold, the Painted Ladies. Which isn’t actually a name for this specific group of houses, but a broad term used to describe victorian styled row houses each painted a different color. However, these are arguably the most popular group of painted ladies in San Francisco, partly because of the aforementioned 90’s plug above. You can find these beauties on Steiner Street across from the Alamo Square Park, which is a gorgeous place to be in itself and is surrounded by tons of other beautiful homes.
~*~*~whatever happened to predictabilityyyyyyy, AMIRITE???
As awesome as this was to see in person, we’ve gotta disclose something with y’all. As far as this being the “Full House” house, we learned that AMERICA HAS BEEN BAMBOOZLED!!!
Basically, yes. This is the painted ladies featured in the Full House opening credits where you see Danny, Joey, Jesse, and co. having a picnic on a grassy area outside of some row homes. You’re looking at the Painted Ladies, and they’re sitting in Alamo Square Park. Cool stuff, yes?
We learned that the exterior of the ACTUAL Tanner house featured in the opening credits and in episodes is actually NOT one of the Painted Ladies like you would assume. It’s actually not anywhere near this area, and sits in a neighborhood over a mile away! So anyways, moral of the story, if you’re really hellbent on finding the Tanner house, you’re gonna have to do some hiking from this spot. I KNOW, I KNOW. I AM SHOOK TOO.
We also took a stroll down to Fisherman’s Wharf down to Pier 39 where you can almost guarantee a sea lion sighting!
I identify on a personal level with the sea lion on the right most days.
Alcatraz from the shore!
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of those things that you need to see in San Francisco, but I’ll also tell you that it’s VERY touristy. We’re glad we went, and seeing the sea lions was really cool, but just getting in and out of the sea of people was a process. To each their own, but I’d definitely chip a few hours out of the day to see it, but wouldn’t make it a serious stop.
Y’all already know as a traveling basic white girl, I have a thing for street murals. All jokes aside, there are A LOT of cool pieces in the bay area!!
We were SO EXCITED to see the Golden Gate from Crissy Field, another beautiful park and bridge overlook…however Karl the Fog (yes, they named the fog) had another plans. Still SO COOL THOUGH. The fog makes the bridge look so mysterious!
It also provided some A+ lighting.
Couldn’t quite get it together…
What We Ate:
La Mar is as delicious as it is beautiful. This restaurant sits waterfront in San Francisco on the Embarcadero with indoor and outdoor seating and is allllll about Peruvian food. A lot of the menu is tapas style, which I highly reccomend! Everything is so good, you can’t help but eat a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for good drinks, they’ve got you covered too!
This was where we ate dinner on our first night in the bay, and it was a PERFECT place to kick off our weekend!
I would just also like to provide photographic proof that while we seem to be closing in on our late 20’s these days, sometimes we still got it 🙂
Who doesn’t love a good bakery? Our search for a good SF doughnut actually ended up bringing us to Tartine Bakery, where you can find A LOT of delicious baked good, pastries, coffees, and more! We shared a few chocolate pastries to account for a well rounded and hearty breakfast to start the day :).
A word of warning here: this place is GOOD. Therefore it is POPULAR. You’re probably gonna be waiting in line when you go. I have no advice for you except that it’s worth the wait. But there was never a time that we walked by and there WASN’T a crowd so…be prepared. You’ll find Tartine’s on Guerrero Street in the Mission District, so check it out when you’re in the neighborhood! 🙂
Looking for something local, simple, & with plenty of options? Are you as obsessed with breakfast as I am? The Crepe House off of Valencia Street is so good that we ate there two mornings in a row! Standard breakfast plates, crepes, coffees, omelettes, oh my! They’ve also got some lunch options if you’re not much on breakfast. However, we are, so admire our crepe and omelette below:
The fact that Cha Ya doesn’t have a legitimate website beyond a Facebook page says it all. Absence of a website in the 21st century is either REALLY good or REALLY bad, and I’m happy to report this is definitely in line with the first option because this place is LEGIT.
Further up Valencia from The Crepe House, you’ll find Cha-Ya, the cutest and coziest ethnic restaurant I’ve ever been to. Dishes are all Japanese but also of note, this is a 100% vegetarian restaurant. CHILL OUT MEAT AND POTATOES READERS, IT’S ACTUALLY DELICIOUS ;). Seeing as Asian food is typically the most difficult to be vegetarian-friendly, I thought this was pretty cool! Dishes are teeming with veggies and flavor and it was SUCH a good experience as someone who had never been to an only vegetarian restaurant! If you wanna go, BRING CASH as the restaurant is CASH ONLY!
Where We Wined:
I swear there’s nothing better than being with people you love, ESPECIALLY when you get to explore new places together! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good rooftop bar, so on a night while we were feeling too lazy to go anywhere, we made our own and got a front seat to view to the San Francisco sunset. Yes, we really are this annoying in real life.
Sometimes, it’s the least elaborate plans that end up being the most amazing. Do you ever have moments that you try to take a step back and take in because you know you’ll remember them forever? Watching the California sun set with my person was right at the top of my list. <3
This city is vibrant, beautiful, and lovely in every way. I’m SO glad to have gotten to experience it with my best friend. This was one of my favorite trips I’ve taken just for that fact. And who knows, this may be the first of many to come?! There’s a lot of world out there to explore that’s FOR THE GIRLS! <3
Happy Traveling! xoxo