Visiting San Francisco

We spent a wonderful weekend in San Francisco! John’s dear friends’ daughter was becoming bat mitzvah, and we attended the ceremony honoring this beautiful young woman. We spent the rest of the weekend wandering around the city, eating and drinking. It’s such a magical place.

Everywhere we went, I was blown away by the architecture. Seriously, I was standing on street corners gaping at people’s houses. The whole place felt like a movie set.

I hung out the window of a cab to photograph some of the beautiful homes on California Street! The landscaping was gorgeous, too — so many succulents.

If you have plans to visit, I learned a few things that might be helpful.


I strongly recommend lunch or dinner at China Live (not cheap but amazing) and the reasonably-priced breakfast burritos from The Morning Fix. Our friend said the Tonga Room has the best tiki cocktails in the city, but sadly we didn’t have enough time to check it out.

We spent a glorious Sunday afternoon around a fire pit at Spark Social, a food truck park in Mission Bay. More than 20 food trucks were on hand, and the food was out of this world! I had a Peruvian tofu noodle dish, some sparkling rose, and a s’mores cupcake. Yum! The food options ranged from artisanal pizza to tacos to poke bowls to burgers and fries, so everyone (even the kids) found something delicious to eat.

That said, we saw so many old neighborhood joints and sidewalk cafes that I’d love to try some day. I don’t think you can go wrong with so many intriguing options.

Exploring the City

We loved walking along the water from the Embarcadero to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. There are so many street entertainers, concession stands, and fun little restaurants on the water. Plus you get a great view of Alcatraz, and you can see the sea lions playing near Pier 39. When I had a few hours to myself, I rented a bike through Bay Wheels for a very reasonable fee and rode along the protected sidewalk, admiring the view and taking it all in.

If you want to visit Alcatraz, book your tickets weeks in advance. The boat tours fill up fast!

If you’re looking to kick back or have a picnic, there are many beautiful green spaces in San Francisco. My favorites were the park in front of Ghiradelli Square and Washington Square Park.

We learned that you’re allowed to hang off the trolleys like in the Rice-a-Roni commercial! That was great fun. One of the trolleys we rode was 149 years old — it’s so incredible to think about all of the people who’ve ridden on that trolley over the years. Trolley rides are $8/person. You can pay with cash or download the Muni mobile app to pay with a credit card.

We happened to visit during Chinese New Year, which was awesome. I loved wandering through the crowded streets and looking at the interesting things for sale. I bought a Chinese newspaper for a yet-undetermined craft project and bought robes for my daughters.

My biggest tips for visiting San Francisco

  1. Bring a fully-charged phone. You will need it to buy tickets for the train or rent a bike, and it’s helpful if you want to buy tickets for the trolley. Also, some of the food trucks we visited only accepted orders online, so it was very helpful to have a phone.
  2. Bring a water bottle and a bag or backpack to carry it. We didn’t pack water bottles and ended up buying some in the city. I learned that San Francisco really discourages single-use plastic, which is very laudable, but it also meant that we had trouble finding bottles of water.

We didn’t have enough time to visit the Castro or Haight-Ashbury. Next time!

Happy exploring!

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