I just got back from San Francisco on Sunday after spending a few days there for a wedding. There were a bunch of wedding festivities to attend, but there was still plenty of time to explore and play tourist. SF is such a fun city to visit as a tourist because there is so much going on. It’s one of those places where you can keep going back and finding new neighborhoods to explore and new activities to do. Even though I had made the trip to San Francisco back in June, it was for work, and I didn’t really get to see anything.
I haven’t truly toured the city since I was in middle school when I went with my family. It was so much fun going back as an adult with friends (and as a normal non-blogger person). I packed my big camera but ended up sticking with my iPhone only.
Even though we had such a great time, it was a sad time to be in the area with the terrible fires going on. The smoky skyline and air quality was a constant reminder of the devastation happening not too far away. The bride’s father lost his home a week before the wedding, so everyone was just trying to focus on the wedding and remain as positive as possible. (You can donate to the Red Cross if you’d like to help with relief efforts.)
We took a 6 am flight out to California which was brutal in the morning, but worth it, because we got to spend a full day exploring. The first stop was the Botanical Gardens. The grounds are beautiful.
The group then voted to go to Haight-Ashbury and, while it wasn’t my favorite part of the trip, it was still pretty cool. We eventually made our way down the Wharf. It’s super touristy, but you can’t go to SF without a visiting. After a quick lunch at The Buena Vista (home of the Irish coffee!), we went to Musée Mécanique. I was dying to visit because it’s in a scene of The Princess Diaries, haha. Did I feel like the Queen of Genovia? Yes, yes I did.
(Also, that arm wrestling machine is NO JOKE. I thought I broke my wrist on it and had a massive red mark for the rest of the afternoon. Even the guys conceded that it hurt to play.)
It’s a huge warehouse full of vintage coin-operated games and machines. It’s a little junky, in the best way possible. An easy way to blow through a pocket of quarters (that is, if you “jingle” hehe).
We visited the sea lions for a few minutes before heading back to the hotel to get ready for some wedding festivities. The big guy below was totally hamming it up for everyone on the pier.
The first night in SF, we stayed at The InterContinental Mark Hopkins. Before dinner, we grabbed a cup of coffee (seriously necessary after that early flight) at The Top of the Mark. The views of the city from the restaurant can’t be beat. There is a filter on the photo above, but you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance (as well as the hazy sky from the smoke).
The architecture in San Francisco is so unique and charming. Every street feels like it has its own character and I kind of love how everything’s a little imperfect because of the steep hills.
We then moved into an Airbnb rental with friends in The Mission. So much bougainvillea everywhere.
Thursday was hands down the most interesting part of the trip. The family of the bride owns a ranch near Half Moon Bay, and we were invited to spend the afternoon there. I have no words for how stunning the property is! When you’re sitting under Red Wood trees, it’s hard to believe you’re under two hours away from such a bustling city.
On Friday, one of the girls I was with suggested we go to Tartine for breakfast. When I mentioned I was heading to SF, a few readers had mentioned that I should visit there, so I was all for it. OMG, it did not disappoint. Between the five of us, we ordered a handful of things (Pain au Jambon, Croque Monsieur, Bread Pudding, Hazelnut Biscotti, Walnut Butter Cookie, Lemon Cream Tart) and every single item was delicious.
Instead of eating there, we took the breakfast to Dolores Park for a little picnic. The park ended up being our favorite spots. We went back a few times to relax and hang out as a group. Dogs are allowed off leash (puppies everywhere, I repeat, puppies everywhere) and there is a TON of space to spread out and soak in the sun.
Half the group went to rehearse the wedding, so my boyfriend and I went off to do some more touring with one of his friends who got in that morning. We all wanted to do a lot of walking (that Croque Monsieur though…), so we hit the ground running.
The first stop The Painted Ladies, of course. It’s crowded, but who can resist a selfie in front of them? Certainly not me!
Next up was the Golden Gate Park but I was disappointed because no flowers were planted in front of The Conservatory of Flowers. It was a bit of a letdown, to be honest. Then we took an Uber down to Crissy Field to see the Golden Gate Bridge up close.
Despite being the warmest afternoon, it was so wonderfully chilly down by the water. I loved watching the surfers (even though I had to close my eyes when they got close to the rocks) and taking in the majestic bridge. It truly is something– it looks amazing from every angle.
On Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early and met Maxie down by the Ferry Building for the Farmer’s Market. It’s her weekend ritual, and I was so happy to get to join her! The Farmer’s Market is amazing. So many vendors selling everything from yarn to doughnuts. I got a raspberry filled doughnut and sampled a bunch of delicious foods and fruits. Max and I even went and got our nails done. There’s something so special about visiting friends in their city and experiencing it through their eyes!
The wedding itself was at City Hall and unbelievably beautiful (and fun). Sadly though we had an early morning flight out on Sunday.
For such a short trip (where half was booked with wedding festivities), I feel like I covered a lot of ground. Loved it!