Happy Wednesday and happy valentine’s day, dear friends. I hope your week has been a good one so far!
We’re settling back into routine today (work, chores, and commuting, oh my!) after a magical four days in San Francisco. This was our first time exploring NorCal and while it felt like being in a completely different country compared to our southern half of the state, we loved every chilly, sunny second of it!
I wanted to recap our travels for you in case you ever find yourself on your own SF adventure. Over the next three days, SGMG will be bringing you all things San Francisco. I hope you’ll find it fun and useful to follow along! I hope I’ll have you booking your own flights to SF by the end of the week. 🙂
Quick side note: while we’re on the traveling subject — one of my best friends, Gwen, just launched her own blog, Full Life, Full Passport. She is an expert when it comes to executing wanderlust, so please be sure to subscribe to her blog so she can help make your travel dreams come true! Chances are, she’s already been to the places on your bucket list. She has so much knowledge + experience for us to learn from!
Now, back to SF! Let’s kickoff this series by recapping day one in the city.
How We Got There
Even though we weren’t leaving the state, we chose to fly to SF. It’s still crazy to me that you can fly and not leave California! Holy cow, it’s big. I’m used to being from somewhere where it wasn’t abnormal to drive through four states in one day.
The flight was only an hour and fifteen minutes and we scored a great deal on flights for only $49 each back in December. Keep your eyes out for those email sales — we love Southwest! Not to mention, I think they have the best airplane coffee ever. And I’ve tried them all.
But if you prefer, you can drive from SoCal to San Francisco in about 8 hours or so.
Where We Stayed
When we travel, we go full millennial and almost always stay in an AirBNB. It’s always been a fun, positive, and budget-friendly experience for us. We usually opt for places where we have the entire home to ourselves, but since we knew that we’d be out in the city exploring 99% of the time, we decided to save a buck by renting a master bedroom in someone’s home. We stayed at Alice’s roomy, charming apartment in Nob Hill.
It was clean, spacious, and quiet — and the bay windows, fire escapes, and charming brick made me want to live there forever.
Alice was a sweetheart, too; she served us like a hotel would and gave us great recommendations for restaurants. It’s always nice to have the inside scoop from a local. If you find yourself in SF, I’d highly recommend staying with her!
Around Town: Day One
After we landed at the airport and dropped our bags in our room, we changed into our sneakers and set out on foot to wander around the neighborhood.
We walked a few blocks to nearby Chinatown and stumbled upon a Chinese New Year Festival! We enjoyed the live music, lanterns, busy streets, and even saw a Chinese dragon performance.
We walked down to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and enjoyed lunch at Boudin Bakery.
Boudin is famous for its sourdough bread and many of my coworkers suggested that we eat there — and I’m so glad that they told me!
I enjoyed a bread bowl with tomato soup, and Chad had a crab cake sandwich and local Anchor Steam beer. So good!
After lunch, we wandered all around The Embarcadero and Pier 39. It was full of shops, restaurants, and touristy things — but was still really fun and definitely worth seeing, as it offered amazing views of the city, water, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.
And hey, there’s no shame in doing touristy things — we are tourists, after all. 🙂
Next, we knew we had to indulge in some treats at Ghiradelli Square — luxurious soy latte for me, and a “Crissy Field” sundae for Chad. I tried to be good and resist it, but I definitely had a few bites of his sundae! It was divine.
When you make your way to SF, Ghiradelli is not to be missed!
I eat vegan and plant based 99% of the time at home, but when we travel I give myself a lot of grace and choose to eat vegetarian. This way, we’re able to enjoy a lot more meals together and it takes away the stress of finding a restaurant that works for both of us. It makes traveling so much easier when you’re married to a meat + dairy lover…and I get to try some fun things. 🙂
Then we walked off *some* of our treats by climbing the loooong, steep hills up to Lombard Street for the famous winding street. It smelled like burnt rubber from all of the cars riding their brakes down the massive hill! But it was such a cool and pretty sight.
Later that night, some friends from Delaware (who moved to the bay area to work for Apple) picked us up for dinner. It was great to see familiar faces in a new city! They took us to a hotpot place, Little Sheep. Think “the melting pot” for Asian food — if you love both, this is the place for you. It was a new thing for us, and a fun experience for a group! We’ll definitely be looking to see if San Diego has any hotpot joints.
(Source: Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot)
After dinner, our friends took the time to drive us down Lombard Street, to the Painted Ladies (full house opening credits!), and up to Twin Peaks for spectacular views of the dazzling skyline at night. They were so sweet to be our own private tour guides — thanks, Raisul and Danya!
We were in bed by midnight (late for us!) to rest up for a full second day of our vacation! Be sure to check back tomorrow for a recap + travel tips from day two in San Francisco.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you been to San Francisco before?
Do you prefer to stay in AirBNBs or hotels when you travel?
Do you stick to a certain diet when you travel, or do you let yourself indulge?