travel

Snapshots from San Francisco

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.)

Golden Gate Bridge

Musee Mecanique

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.

San Francisco Sea Lions

San Francisco Smoke

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).

San Francisco Architecture

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.

San Francisco Bougainvillea

We then moved into an Airbnb rental with friends in The Mission. So much bougainvillea everywhere.

Red Wood Forest

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.

San Francisco Tartine

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.

Flowers Painted Ladies

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.

Chrissy Field

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.

San Francisco Farmer's Market

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!

Farmer's Market Ferry Building 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!

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38 Comments

Best, Isabella

I can’t believe all those pics are just from your iPhone! They look great. The picturesque beauty of the SF Bay Area also helps. Love when East Coast bloggers visit the West Coast. Any trips to LA in your future? I would love to see how/what you capture here.

Best,
Isabella

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Samantha

I got engaged at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay 🙂 My favorite place in the world!

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Rachael

I am scheduled to go to San Francisco and Sonoma next week, based on your recent experience being there, do you think it’s okay to travel there with the wildfire aftermath?

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Karen

Sonoma’s in pretty rough shape, I’d opt to go south of SF- Monterey is gorgeous- or East if you’re looking for wineries- Livermore is amazing in that regard!

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Michelle Price

I would rethink Sonoma. I live in the Bay Area and the fires are still not fully contained.

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Emily

What great photos!! I have to ask because I’m on the hunt for a new sweater, where did you get the sweater you are wearing in the second to last photo (with the flowers)?

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Carrie this fit chick

So fun to see you in my neck of the woods! Sorry you were here when the smoke was so bad. It’s still pretty smokey, but it’s cleared up, which is nice! Nob Hill is a great place to stay!

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Sinead

I used to live in SF and miss it every. single. day. Each visit is so unique and you could never get bored. Haight was one of my fav places but I admit it can be a hit and miss depending on the time of year you go (it’s great during the Summer with all the festivals but perhaps a little less attractive/seedy during other months). Hit up Sausalito next time if you haven’t already!

I’m so glad you had a good time – next time it’ll seem like a completely new place. SF is timeless but constantly reinventing itself.

Reply
Jordyn

San Francisco is such a great city! My family lives in Napa Valley so I love visiting SF on my way to see them. Thanks for raising awareness for relief efforts in the area. Your trip looks like SO much fun, all of your photos are gorgeous!

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Marcella Ryan

My husband and I lived in Ocean Colony (gated community next to the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay). When our son was a toddler, we’d pack up our suburban with 2 glasses, wine and Austin his car seat and watch the sunset where the Ritz now stands. It’s one of our favorite areas.
Last year we visited San Francisco and I found the Lyon Street Steps. It’s a set of sets that we found that when you hike to the top, you will see the most amazing views of The Palace of Fine Arts. The steps are near some beautiful mansions. It’s really worth a visit and truly a hidden gem. Lyon Street/Green Street.

Thanks as usual for posting your adventures!

Reply
Karen

My favorite way to catch up with friends is a Sunday morning picnic, sprawled out in Dolores Park equipped with Tartine goodies and Four Barrel coffee! So glad you enjoyed SF (the smoke is thankfully clearing now)!

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Emily

I’m really glad you said something about the fires. Also wanted to say the photos in this post are gorgeous. It’s inspiring that they were taken on your iPhone! What did you use to edit?

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Emily

I also cringe every time you describe the Musee Mechanique as “junky” :(. San Francisco is my hometown and I understand the machines are old and well-loved but I feel that that is what gives them their charm!

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carly

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that place but it is kind of junky… in a fun way!

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Marcella

I went to San Francisco/Yosemite National Park last summer with my boyfriend as a post-graduation trip and it was so awesome. Relaxing in Dolores Park was one of my favorite things 🙂

Reply
Beth

I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip, San Francisco is so rich with history and beautiful sights. I’ve lived here for years and I still take photos every time I happen upon a pretty vista.

There are a million recommendations I could give you for San Francisco, but something I’ve enjoyed in cities across the US is an app called Detour (https://www.detour.com/). Essentially, they’re audio tours that are guided by GPS and tell a great narrative. It is absolutely fascinating. Next time you come back to San Francisco, I’d really recommend trying one out (or try one out in New York City!). I keep learning new things about my own city every time.

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Amanda

Great photos! I think the pelican with Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Makes me want to go to San Francisco even more!

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Kim from 3 peanuts

Your photos are beautiful and make me want to book a trip to SF. Those doughnuts look fabulous. I feel like I saw a photo of you somewhere in a gorgeous gown but I don’t see it now (maybe IG stories). I want to see that gown. It looked stunning on you. My nephew is getting married Oct 28th and I have had the hardest time finding a dress I love. I found 2 gorgeous ones for Kate (rehearsal dinner and wedding) but nothing I love for myself. I might end up wearing something I already have. The problem with Houston is that its still 90 degrees and the ceremony is outdoors. So I am returning 4 dresses that I ordered to try today:(

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Anne at Large

Aww, I’m sad you were disappointed by the Conservatory of Flowers not having flowers outside, did you go inside? It’s one of my favorite places in Golden Gate Park!

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2017 Favorites - Carly the Prepster

[…] // Rang in my grandma’s 90th birthday in Tampa // Celebrated my birthday down the shore // Traveled to San Francisco for a wedding // Went back to DC again for a meet and greet with Tuckernuck // Spent Thanksgiving in […]

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