Golden Gate Bridge
So bizarre to be in a place you've seen tons of pictures of. Feeling so grateful to be there. SF was my #1 city I wanted to see when coming in the US, and I ended up doing it last, it was well deserved !Now, to find a spot without tourists is so hard, even in the middle of the week, even in the rain. Yep, that’s how touristy attractions are. I probably stood there for 30 freakin minutes before being able to shot some pictures / videos without anybody in the frame (at some point I actually asked a group to get out of the way lol)I crossed the bridge all the way to the end, where you have a view point and I wanted to cross it from the other side. Not easy to find my way, you have to go under the tunnel with the cars.As I was biking my way back on the other side of the bridge, a biker came up to me as if 'winter was coming', telling me to hurry because fog and thunder were about to hit. So I did pedal a little harder to avoid a shower and the 'rain walkers'.
My afternoon was spent wandering around Union Square, and headed to Chinatown. I ended up in the Fortune Cookie Factory - so hard to find, in a little alley - where you can see the ladies shape the cookies and you get to try them, always down for free food !From all of the US, San Francisco’s Chinatown is the best, I think. It made me want to discover Asia so bad ! I saw men read Chinese newspaper, the bus speaker announce stops in Chinese before Spanish ! Incredible how big the Asian community is.--> Watch the video down below to see more :)Telegraph Hill is a nice climb to do, where Coit Tower is. To get in the Tower costs $7, no thanks I’d rather enjoy the pretty decent view of the bridge from the parking lot.
The biggest and best day of the trip !I went for a 10am visit to Alcatraz Island ! So excited about this.I went with AlcatrazCruises which has the best rate, I paid $31 (at the time, I looked it up doing this article and it’s $35 now).FYI - I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, like 2 weeks in advance because it gets full pretty fast !You have the choice between a day tour or night tour, which can be quite interesting ;)It’s a self-guided tour, audio included which is great, it explains you so much stuff and you have some prison background noises - loved it.
2. Indulge in chocolates and desserts at Ghiradelli SquareA landmark public square home to the famous Ghiradelli chocolate company boasts of some lovely restaurants and nice stores. Be prepared to be transported transported into a world of aromas, chocolate and lots of chocolate!
3. Lombard Street: the crookedest street in the world!Famously known as the crookedest street in the world, this street is an east west running street in the city of San Francisco. This street is a steep one block section, having eight hair pin bends tightly packed into it!Colourful flowers and grand houses line the sides of this street while a large number of cars navigate this crooked narrow lane.
Tip : Rent a bike to explore faster and cover more distanceFun fact, I was with my little backpack waiting for bus 7 to take me up the city to meet a friend of mine. And a guy asked me the time and wandered if I was on the way to work. I loved this interaction. I don't why I just feel good when I blend in and people think I’m a local.Anywho, so I meet up with my friend in her neighborhood near Golden State Park and Haight Ashbury.Weather is out of our control. And it can be frustrating when you’re in such beautiful places without the sun. Everything would have been more enjoyable under the natural light and not rain drops. But eh, that’s how it is.
6. Shopping at Union SquareThis refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district of San Francisco. The area got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War,earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark. Come here to visit the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and beauty salons in the United States.Union Square is a major tourist destination, a vital, cosmopolitan gathering place in downtown San Francisco, and one of the world's premier shopping districts.
Golden Gate Park
Rent a bike from Golden Gate Park with ParkWide and you get the option to drop it off at a different location, which is awe-some. I don’t remember the rate but I think it was a 3h ride. They have a map with best routes to go and get back depending on the uphill or downhill.
Offering a spectacular 360 degree panoramic view of the whole city and located right in the heart of the city the majestic Twin Towers is a monumental natural wonder standing up to 920 feet above the sea level. It offers some breathtaking and stunning views of some of the most iconic symbols of the city like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, the Alcatraz and the Market Street making it a must visit place in San Francisco. Also if you are around the place in early morning, watching the sunrise from such an elevation is an experience you will never get again in your lifetime.
Legion of Honor
One of the most beautiful museums of the United States, the Leign of Honor is an historical building housing some of the greatest art masterpieces in the country. Its perfect placement overlooking the glamorous Pacific Ocean and the mossy Golden Gate Bridge makes visiting this museum a must thing to do in San Francisco. It was mainly architectured to commemorate soldiers of California who lost their lives in the first World War.
There is something so beautiful and pure about mural art. San Francisco is filled with these public art displays but the best is in this ally off of Valencia in the Mission district. Stroll along Balmy and Clarion Alleys for some amazing works of art. These masterpiece murals painted by Mexican-American artists and other residents of this predominantly Latin-American neighborhood.
The Monk's Kettle
Monk’s Kettle (3141 16th St.) is a San Francisco Bay Area destination. Beer Experts pair and select from 200 brews and match up their unique pub food providing the ultimate Gastropub experience. There is always a Beer Specialist on hand to pair the perfect Beer with the perfect dish. This neighborhood bar with and unbelievable beer list is worth the stop. Did I mention that they also serve amazing food? Thing gourmet Mac n’ Cheese, seasonal fare, and juicy burgers with quality indigents. The food here is outstanding and pairs well with beers listed.
Ritual Coffee Roasters
San Francisco’s coffee culture is legendary and on par with cities like Rome, Buenos Aires, Paris, and Seattle. Cafes form the vital social backbone of most neighborhoods and many are just as much cultural centers, performance venues and even living rooms for the city’s creative class as they are local businesses. And, in the Mission it is no different. Each cup of coffee is hand brewed at Ritual Coffee Roasters (1026 Valencia St.) at the Mission District’s hippest cafe and is sourced from a small and sustainable grower in one of the world’s top coffee growing regions. Besides the high grade cup of joe, Ritual is also the social center of bustling Valencia st, a hip and artistic area that is home to the city’s alternative set.
Charles Bridge is a 14th century stone bridge linking the two sides of Prague. The open air gallery of beautiful statues which adorn the bridge walls make a stroll here more than worthwhile. The Vltava river flows beneath it and the enchanting towers of Prague Castle are visible from here.
To begin your journey, enter through the ornate Chinatown Gate on Grant Ave at Bush St. A gift from the Republic of China in 1970 as a symbol of good faith between the countries, the bright colored pagoda topped doorway is like a portal into a tiny universe of bustling tourists and locals shopping for everything from live chickens to jade statues. Peruse in the many shops and wares on Grant Street just as it was decades ago. Chinese slippers, good luck charms, and mechanical trinkets are just a few of the items you’ll see by the basketful. So don’t be surprised to find a ribbon-adorned phallus in one of the storefront windows.
One of San Francisco’s most popular parks, and for good reason. Take in an impressive view of the San Francisco skyline from atop Dolores Park (Dolores and 18th St.), a distinctly urban green space shaded by palm trees and frequented by families and colorful characters alike. Grab a few items at near by at Bi-Rite (550 Divisadero St.) and picnic in the park while people watching and admiring the city views.
Mission Street itself isn’t going to offer much for shoppers other than thrift stores, Mexican pro wrestling masks, and a surprising number of shops selling cheap luggage. Just a block away, however, Valencia Street is starting to look a lot like its posh neighbor to the west, Noe Valley, though its boutiques and vintage clothing stores are decidedly younger and hipper. It’s also home to local favorite Ritual Coffee, perfect for a mid-shopping spree break.
Do lunch at Pizzeria Delfina (3611 18th St.; 437-6800), a stellar eatery serving truly exceptional thin-crust pies, rustic side dishes, and wines inspired by the flavors of Naples. A must try is their fresh Burrata. Though, the space is tight, and seating is limited, do expect a wait…but it’s well worth it. It is worth a trip for a memorable treat.
Great Eastern Restaurant
For a yummy lunch and the best dim sum in town try Great Eastern Restaurant on Jackson Street between Wentworth Pl and Cooper Alley, an authentic experience complete with white tablecloths and aquariums of live delicacies. There’s usually a decent wait time but the food is well worth it. Highlights are shrimp dumplings (har gow), pork dumplings (shumai) and lava buns. If you miss out on the dim sum, Peking duck satisfies every time. After lunch, mosey over to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory at Ross Alley at Jackson St. The ‘non-Chinese’ origin of these cookies is comically illustrated in The Joy Luck Club when Lindo Jong finds a job at a fortune cookie factory in Chinatown. After a few attempts at translating the fortunes in Chinese, she realizes the cookies contain “bad instruction” rather than good sense. Observe how cookies are made and purchase them fresh—they even have more racy fortunes. Or try the egg tarts and lotus pancakes.
Cafe Trieste New Montgomery
Newly inspired to write the great American novel? Then grab a table and an espresso at the original Caffé Trieste (from City Lights walk north to Vallejo and turn right). Opened in 1956 by Giovanni Giotta, this Beat haunt has housed many a writer including Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Hirschman (Poet Laureate of San Francisco) and a young Francis Ford Coppola who wrote the screenplay to the Godfather here. Admire the archive of black and white photos on the wall or stay for the Caffe Trieste Saturday Concert series, the longest running show in SF since 1971.
Ripleys Believe It or Not!
While I wandered around Fisherman's Wharf, the curious cat in me couldn't resist the famous Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. As a kid, watching the show and reading it's yearbook was one of my favourite pass times. And when I got the opportunity to relive all those unbelievable, strange and unusual man-made sights on Earth, it didn't take me long before I entered the two-story iconic building. I got completely lost for hours in its numerous exhibits and creations of the most strangest yet quirkiest minds in man's history!
It would be almost time for sunset when we reach here. If it is so, it means we are on schedule. Like me, you may have a good fortune of catching a local fisherman at work trying to nab some dinner for the evening. Don't miss the chance of snapping the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker's Beach. It was truly a quintessential moment for me. The beach is a place to socialize with the plenty of fellow tourists or locals, giving you enough space to enjoy at the same time.
Walked to Japantown, around 45min. Oh yes you didn’t know ? SF not only have the best Chinatown but it has ALSO a Japantown !! So cute, give me a plane ticket for Japan RIGHT NOW.Okay enough of walking for today, I admit, I took Uber Pool to get home. For my defense I had to get ready quickly for an important event….
Mission Dolores Park
Alamo Square and his famous Painted Ladies, Castro (gay neighborhood), Mission Dolores Park. OMG let’s talk about this park for a second. It’s the best spot ever. It overlooks the whole city, I was mesmerized. Guess what, it was raining again. But, Mission Park, with the sun, a towel, some food, drinks, a book.. you feel me ? Per-fect spot.In short, one of my favorite cities ever, I’ll be back asap !! And if you want to see more here's my little video, share and subscribe if you'd like to see more about the USA
Visit Mission Dolores (Dolores and 16th St.; 415-621-8203), the city’s oldest building and first mission. Founded by Spanish settlers in 1776, the mission and neighboring church feature historic adobe architecture. Scenes from Hitchcock’s Veritigo were filmed in the church cemetery.
Take the Mason line of the cable car north to Columbus Ave. then travel south along Columbus Ave, past the slew of alfresco cafes and turn left on Kearny to the newly erected The Beat Museum. This tiny space packs a punch with carefully selected collection including Ferlinghetti paintings, Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter and first edition prints of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The museum also sells books, memorabilia and hosts special events like book signings, readings and lectures. Need to replace your college copy of Kerouac or Kesey? Turn right onto Columbus Ave until you reach City Lights Bookstore. Founded in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, it is the quintessential Beat headquarters complete with publishing house for fringe writers and dharma bums (Alan Ginsberg’s Howl was published here). From existentialists to modernists, you can almost smell the clove cigarettes in a cloud of black turtlenecks like ghosts amongst the towers of books on the second floor of this Beat Poet’s paradise. They also sell journals so you too can create your own literary masterpiece.
The Balmoral Hotel
Complete your bus-tour by returning back to the starting point. From here a short walk up the road will take you to the decadent Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street. You will be greeted by doormen fully kitted in traditional kilted Scottish dress, before indulging in the award-winning Balmoral’s Afternoon Tea served in the Palm Court. A divine and luxurious experience!