The fiancé and I recently returned from an epic trip to California to hike in Yosemite National Park.
We flew in and out of San Francisco, and while we didn’t spend a lot of time there, we did spend enough time to explore the city a tiny bit.
We were in San Francisco for a little over 24 hours split between two days with Yosemite in the middle.
It was our first time in San Francisco, so we had a long list of things we wanted to do there. We didn’t try to cram everything in because we didn’t want the trip to feel too hectic.
We may have only seen a small part of the city, but we definitely fell in love with the hilly streets, colorful row houses, views of the Golden Gate Bridge and afternoon fog.
Here’s a recap of our short trip to San Francisco…
After we arrived at the airport, we had about five hours before my cousin, Kristi, and her husband, Avery’s, flight came in. So we paid to have our luggage stored at the airport’s travel agency, and we took the BART into the city.
Our first stop was the Mission District. I had done quite a bit of research on this neighborhood, and all of my internet research said this was a great non-touristy area to explore.
Historically, this was an area inhabited by Spanish and Mexican families, and still has Spanish-Mexican influences. We planned to grab lunch there, and I thought we could just walk around and find a restaurant. We ended up going into a burrito place that was just so so. But after walking further we came upon some restaurants that looked way better, so I should have done some restaurant research ahead of time.
We hopped back on the BART and got off on Powell Street. Both of us really wanted to see cable cars. They’re such a San Francisco icon. We didn’t ride the cable cars, but we walked up and down Powell Street to watch them.
We stopped in Union Square to people watch.
Palm trees! I definitely felt like a Midwesterner getting excited about palm trees.
This area was populated with lots of chain retail stores, so we didn’t do any shopping. But it was fun to just walk around.
We were there over pride weekend, so it was fun to see all the window displays and rainbow flags everywhere.
After a few hours in San Francisco, we got back on the BART and headed back to the airport to greet Kristi and Avery. When they arrived, we picked up our rental car and began our journey to Yosemite.
I’ll share more about the Yosemite leg of our trip soon!
After a few days in Yosemite, we drove back to San Francisco. We arrived in the city around noon, which meant we had the rest of the day to explore. Our first stop was the ocean!
We couldn’t be that close to the ocean and not dip our toes in the water.
We didn’t spend much time at the beach, but it was fun to breath in the ocean air.
Feet in the ocean!
We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, and stopped to take a few photos.
It was really cool to see such an iconic place in person.
On the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge is the cutest little town, Sausalito. We had lunch at Napa Valley Burger Company. I had a delicious veggie burger and we all shared some onion rings.
A lot of people rent bicycles and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. There are tons of cute shops and restaurants to explore, and you can take a boat back to San Francisco. I would love to do that next time we’re in San Francisco.
We returned our rental car, parted ways with Kristi and Avery, and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the King George Hotel, which was very close to Union Square. We had a lot on our list of things to do in San Francisco, and we weren’t really sure what do to with one evening in the city. We thought it would be easy to head to Fisherman’s Wharf and walk around. We took our very first Uber to get there, which was exciting.
San Francisco is gorgeous!
As soon as we got there, we stopped at Ben & Jerry for ice cream. I take ice cream eating very seriously, obviously.
I had the new vegan caramel almond brittle, which was delicious.
I really enjoyed walking around Pier 39. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge were amazing and all the shops were super cute.
We smelled sourdough bread as we were walking down the street, so we stopped in the Boudin Bakery to order bread and local beer. It was so delicious.
I had read online that Fisherman’s Wharf was a place to avoid because it’s so touristy, but I loved it. I think it’s fun to go to the touristy places that cities are known for.
I loved all the color in San Francisco. The city was celebrating the anniversary of the Summer of Love, so there was amazing artwork all over the city.
After walking around for awhile, we stopped at a little wine bar for California wines.
We stayed at Pier 39 for dinner. We chose the Fog Harbor Fish House based on reviews from Yelp. This was our view during dinner. Absolutely gorgeous.
I abandoned my dairy-free lifestyle for vacation eating. The fiancé and I shared calamari.
I had Pacific sole over potatoes and spinach with a creamy caper sauce. It was delicious.
After dinner, we took an uber back to our hotel. Our flight was early the next morning.
It was such a fast trip, but I loved getting to experience a few pieces of San Francisco. I definitely want to go back and spend more time there. It’s such a beautiful city.
Have you been to San Francisco? What was your favorite thing to do?