San Francisco

San Francisco Trip 23

Last week, Kelly posted about what we ate at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Today is all about what we did. Before going on vacation I try to do as much research as I can about the area so that I do not miss anything I really want to see. This vacation was no different. But, I knew traveling with a 3 month old that I would not be able to do everything!


Here was the list of places we wanted to see and do:

  • Chinatown
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Alcatraz
  • Ferry Building
  • The Castro
  • Haight Ashbury
  • Pier 39
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Lombard Street
  • Painted Ladies from Full House

While we did not do everything, we did do a lot. Cliff really wanted to just go out and explore the city. He didn’t necessarily want to spend all of our time criss crossing the city to see tourist attractions. He wanted to see the neighborhoods where locals live and eat. I also like to do those sort of things but I don’t know when I will get back to San Francisco and I didn’t want to miss the tourist attractions altogether.


Winnie’s first hotel stay, watching sports with Daddy.

Here is what we did:

The first day we visited Chinatown and explored the area around our hotel. I knew that San Francisco was known for steep streets but I really didn’t realize the extent of it. Tiring! Cliff and Kelly picked us up Chipotle for dinner. We went all the way to San Francisco and ate Chipotle. Ha!

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Entrance to China Town

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The next day we headed to the Ferry Building. The hotel said it was a 3 mile walk but we were there in about 15 minutes. I really loved the Ferry Building. Tons of stalls with all kinds of different foods. My favorite was the cake from Miette and the Italian doughnuts.

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The Ferry Building’s Italian Doughnut Stand

Next, we took two buses to go see the Golden Gate Bridge. We hit traffic right before we got the the bridge and Winnie had an epic meltdown. I’m sure the other passengers were just as happy to get off that bus as we were. We walked around the bridge for awhile but it was really too foggy to see much of anything. But still, we can check it off the list!

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Our view of the Golden Gate Bridge, or lack thereof.



That evening we decided to walk the 2.5 miles to The Castro. This walk seemed much longer than our walk earlier in the day. Someone’s map was wrong. We had to walk through a very “interesting” neighborhood to get to The Castro. We decided we probably should not attempt the walk home in the dark. Cliff really liked walking around The Castro. There were real people there not just tourists. If you have ever seent he movie Milk, then you know about The Castro. Harvey Milk was known as “The Mayor of Castro Street.” Like I said, we decided to take public transportation home.

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The Castro Theatre in the Castro District

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On our last full day we walked to Pier 33 to take the ferry to Alcatraz. We were waiting for the boat and we noticed there were quite a few flies but did not know why. It got worse on the ferry. And by the time we got to the island I was ready to swim back to shore. Evidently, during the months of September and October the cormorant flies are all over the island. Honestly, if I had known about this fly issue I would not have gone. The whole morning was kind of torture for me. All I could think of was getting off that island. It was like being in prison.  🙂  Cliff really enjoyed the audio tour and could have spent much more time there learning about the history. Kelly and I, however, could not get out of there fast enough. Just standing there, there would be at least 10 flies on me at any given moment. Enough about flies though.

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Alcatraz as seen from the ferry.

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Winnie’s 1st ferry ride!

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San Francisco as seen from the ferry heading to Alcatraz.

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Taking the audio tour at Alcatraz was a must.

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Next, we went to pier 39 to see the sea lions. It was really crazy how many there were. At Pier 39 there was a Biscoff store. They sold coffee and Biscoff and Biscoff cookies. They also sold little cakes, doughnuts, and brownies. None of which were made with Biscoff. We were confused. Why not bake with the Biscoff. Seemed like a no brainer to us.

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We had planned to also do fisherman’s wharf and Lombard street that day but we were hot and exhausted. Everyone told us to be prepared for the cool weather in San Francisco, but we found it to be very hot and sunny. I even got sun burnt.

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The Transamerica Pyramid from street level. It’s the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco!

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That night we walked around Union Square and had dinner at a fabulous Thai place. It was a teeny tiny little place, but it was delicious. I had shrimp with a peanut sauce and Cliff and Kelly split chicken pad Thai and Thai chicken wings. Kelly and I picked up cupcakes on the way home and then we stopped in very strange bar for a drink. Kelly and I needed our cupcakes so we figured we owed it to Cliff to sit and get a drink. Even if the bar was not our taste. Thats all I’m going to say about that bar…

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The Powell-Mason Cable Car

The last day we spent around the Union Square neighborhood again. Cliff had breakfast at a little coffee shop but Kelly and I spied a little French place the day before so we decided to check it out. I am so glad we did. It was a very cute place and the breakfast pastries were fabulous. Kelly had an amazing cheese danish and I got an equally amazing chocolate croissant. So glad we went there.I think this place even supplies pastries to Starbucks in the Chicagoland area (nationwide?). I could be wrong though. I bought a pair of plaid pants and Zara and then it was time to head to the airport.

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Overall, we had a great time. Now that we have done most of the major tourist attractions I would love to go again and explore the neighborhoods. Its nice to see all the landmarks but it is also nice to sit at a cafe and people watch without worrying about missing the next tour or bus. Next time I hope to rent a car and take some side trips to Muir Woods, Napa, and the surrounding areas.