i know i have only lived here for three months, but i did visit three other times before we moved here - and i got around this summer! because i only worked part time, i spent a lot of my days off finding good eats with girlfriends, wandering neighborhoods alone, or escorting myself to museums. if you're headed out to the bay anytime soon, here's the best things to do see and eat, according to kayla.
1. my golden girl. we have already established that i have a weird obsession with this bridge, but it is certainly the most iconic part of san francisco. the best views of my beauty are (in order) 1. lookout points in sausalito, (i'm talking about the ones that you turn onto right before you get back on the bridge headed into the city, i think it's called "battery spencer") 2. kirby cove, 3. baker beach, and 4.the pavilon. there are a lot of parking lots around the area of the pavilion that boast insane views, with less of the crowd. no matter where, or the amount of fog - she is GORG.
2. the best views of the city itself are (also in order) 1. twin peaks, 2. treasure island, 3. top of the mark hotel, 4. bernal heights park, and 5. my friend lindsay's apartment complex in diamond heights.
3. golden gate park is SO MASSIVE - every time i've ventured in i have a specific plan of where i'm going and what i'm there to see. you can't really just wander. i've loved the japanese tea gardens, the botanical gardens, and the de young museum - but since it's $8 a pop, i try to find the "free days" that occur each month. we also loooved the rowboats on stow lake, it was totally romantic.
4. my favorite "touristy" thing to do in the city is catching a trolley on nob hill and riding it all the way down to the water. california street is crazy steep and has the most breathtaking views of downtown and the bay bridge. you hang off the side of the trolley, listen to the trolley bell ringing, and let the wind blow in your hair. it's san francisco perfection. when you get to the bottom, have lunch at the ferry building (my favorite SF building!) and shop the cute little stands & markets surrounding it. then ride the trolley back up!
5. sf always has something free going on - a concert in golden gate park, yoga in a cathedral, movies in a rooftop lounge, meditation instruction... sf.funcheap.com has been a very valuable resource.
6. land's end and sutro baths - the views are dramatic and reminiscent of "big sur" - but you don't even have to leave the city!
7. hang out in the marina - i'm probably a little biased, but this neighborhood ROCKS! you can walk along the water, take in some stellar views of the bridge and alcatraz, take a quick stroll through the palace of fine arts, and then stop for food and shopping on chestnut street. (causwells, super duper and tacolicious are my personal favorites.) the best view of the marina is from the top of the lyon street steps, but if you're not feeling like getting sweaty make sure you drive to the top!
8. here's a dessert run down, because who needs real food when there's good dessert to be had? #priorities - you won't want to miss ghiradelli (duhhhhh) bob's donuts on polk street (open 24 hours a day, get the crumb donut!) susie cakes for the most decadent cupcakes you've ever had, (on chestnut) smitten ice cream, CREAM ice cream sandwhiches, and hot cookie on castro street - but be careful about looking at the pictures on the walls, unless you enjoy seeing gay porn on accident.
|somehow i don't have any pictures of food on my camera roll?? i guess maybe i don't want to be reminded of how much dessert i eat? so here's a picture of some street art outside of smitten ice cream :)|
9. when you're feeling like wandering a neighborhood and taking pictures of the CUTEST houses, here are your best options: noe valley, pacific heights, russian hill, presidio, ashberry heights, and nob hill. (nob hill is the most "regal" and the most "san francisco" of all the neighborhoods!)
10. take a picture of the mosaic steps, the hydrangas on lombard, the painted ladies, and the princess diaries school that is actually a house. (ordered by cool-ness.)
11. if you're wanting a little "escape" from the city feel, try mt. davidson, (reminds me of being in the PNW) the woods around presidio, or bernal heights park.
12. if you're wanting to avoid the most "touristy" places in the city, steer clear of chinatown, fisherman's wharf, and union square. they can be fun, but prepare yourself for masses of selfie sticks and fanny packs! if you go - get a lobster roll in fisherman's wharf, see how fortune cookies are made in chinatown, and shop zara in union square. (and the cheesecake factory above macy's has a pretty sweet view of the skyscrapers.)
13. if you can go to a giant's game, at&t park is unparalleled and fans are super intense. stellar views of the bay + delightful food = one happy kayla. (garlic fries and tony's pizza, please & thank you.)
14. maybe we've just had good luck this summer, but the sunsets here are UN-REAL. especially the ones over the water - try to find a good spot to enjoy the pink sky if you can.
15. and lastly, if you can get out on the water - DO IT! take a ferry (get to alcatraz if you can - it's pretty great and you can kill two birds with one stone, but it books up so fast) or a sailboat to enjoy the smell of the ocean and the views of the bay. you guys, it is STUNNING out there. this city is a magical place!