Travel

Travel Diaries: San Francisco, California

And I am back!!!

Sorry for being MIA for months but with lack of stable internet while I was sailing and then being busy with my sister’s wedding preparations, I decided to take a well deserved break from blogging and enjoy some family time. I am back to blogging now and I couldn’t think of a better comeback post than my travel post to the beautiful city of San Francisco.

I had heard so much about the “City by the bay” but nothing could prepare me for the beauty that this city is. The city has the perfect mix of old world charm and new age high paced life. From streets that are filled with vibrant people, restaurants that serve mouth watering food to the bay area which has a quite pace and a beautiful view to relax.

How To Get There

San Francisco is pretty well connected to the world so you can take your pick when it comes to how to reach the place. Roads are great and scenic so if you are in the California area, driving down would be a great option.  Flying in or sailing in incase you are on Mexican cruise are other available alternatives.

Places To Visit

Golden Gate Bridge

This is a no-brainer since it is one of the what the San Francisco is known for. The bridge is one of the busiest areas of the city with people trying to reach work and tourist trying to capture the bridge in their cameras. A good tip to visit the bridge would be to do the same early in the morning. Another way to enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge is to rent a cycle and soak in the architectural marvel up and close.

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Alcatraz

Another attraction that the city is famous for. I unfortunately could not a ticket to the island prison as the ferry and the tours are booked month’s in advance so I would suggest buying tickets well in advance. Guided tours are the best way to learn all about the famous inmates including Al Capone, prison breaks, and general history on the island.

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Palace Of Fine Arts

One of the locales I spoke to urged me to visit this place when I asked him about his favorite part of the city. I had almost decided not to go here because I was running late to me the other guys and go back to the vessel but when I finally reached The Palace of Fine Arts, I was glad I decided to go back late.

The Palace is a Roman-style remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition an is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a small lagoon. The outdoor rotunda is one of the main attraction and a stunning piece of architecture. Don’t forgot to take a picture of the rotunda’s ceiling.

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Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39

The whole area covers numerous blocks along the waterfront and is definitely the busiest touristy place after Golden Gate. Pier 39 is what attracts most of the crowd with its street performers, souvenir shops, and tons of sea side restaurants.

If you are not in a mood to eat, you can just enjoy watching the sea lions lazing around in the sun. Personally, it was very exciting to see these animals chilling around in their natural habitat rather than a ocean park or an aquarium

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Lombard Street

I had heard alot about this street and did not understand what the fuss was about till I saw how crazy it was till I saw a car trying to navigate it. You can’t help but gasp as each driver takes sharp turns on one of the world’s windiest streets. Totally worth visiting and gawking at the amazing driving skills people of this city have.

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Chinatown

This is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia so I was obviously intrigued to check it out. Apart from the cute little souvenir shops and restaurants that serve mouth watering Chinese food, one of the reasons went to this place was to visit the fortune cookie factory.

The factory is one of the few places left that have hand made fortune cookies. You can not only see the workers making the cookies from scratch but you can also try  hand at making them by paying a few dollars.

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Places To Eat

In terms of food, San Francisco was an absolute heaven. From delicious and hearty Texas style breakfasts, to stylish oyster brunch or lunch at a sushi bar to drinks at a crazy themed bar, you ask for it and San Francisco has it all.

I was literally in a food coma for days after I left SF and I am still getting hunger pangs thinking about all the food I had. Locals take their brunch pretty seriously so I was over the moon because I was in the city for the weekend. My favorite was Plow , Nopa and Mama’s at Washington Square. Plow has a breath taking interior and the amazing options they have for both sweet and savory items. Do not leave this place without trying the lemon ricotta pancakes and their chia seed pudding.

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Nopa is a hard place to get into without a reservation but once you get in, you know its what all the fuss is about. I did try their famous french toast but my favorite was the king salmon and the burger with the brioche and gem lettuce.

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Mama’s was another place that had a 40 minutes waiting but it was soo worth the wait. Its a family run restaurant which now managed by the third generation and you get a warm welcome right at the door followed by some really good recommendation at the billing counters. I went for the Kugelhopf which is a brioche bread french toast with golden raisins, cinnamon, dates, and sliced almonds along with home made strawberry jam. Another must try item on the menu is the Crab Egg Benedict. The crabs are fresh and the hollandaise sauce is subtle but so flavourful.

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For my fellow non fancy fuss free travelers, SOMA StrEat is the place to be. This is a food truck park and you can get  your hands on a zillion cuisines.

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In Chinatown, China Live and the Golden Gate Bakery are a must visit. China live is where you get your lunch with the dungeness crab spring handrolls, the crispy-skin roasted pork belly or the kung pao firecracker chicken while Golden Gate Bakery takes care of dessert with their egg custard tarts. Have one and take a dozen to go!

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Places To Shop

If you are a shopaholic like me than Union Square is your best bet when it comes to finding the right brands to add to your wardrobe. We also found some really good deals at the Premium Outlet Centre.

For a more local experience, visit the Chestnut Street or the Mission District. I have particularly fond memories of visiting boutiques at Mission District because every shop owner was so warm and welcoming and told me so much about the history of the city.

What To Pack

SF is famous for its moody weather so I would suggest carrying light layers. You do not need anything drastic but it s always a good idea to have a light jacket handy.

I would also suggest carrying some comfortable shoes because San Francisco is definitely a walk-able city. You do find taxis at every corner and Uber is not too expensive but if you really want to enjoy the city and its amazing weather than I would advise walking whenever you can.

Have you ever been to San Francisco?

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