Nautical but nice
So much more to do in San Fran than wear flowers in your hair
San Francisco is the must-see city for travellers to the United States. The 7x7, which the city is dubbed as it measures seven miles by seven miles, packs a lot of punch.
This makes getting around the city easy, even with all the hills.
Major tourist attractions, highly rated restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities are in walking distance.
Cable cars and bikes are alternatives for those not up for a walk.
New York might be higher on people’s bucket lists, but even a layover to break up that brutal additional travel time to the east coast is worth considering.
The big-ticket items – Alcatraz Island tour, Golden Gate bridge, cable cars, Pier 39 and Lombard Street – could be packed into a day or at a more relaxed pace over two.
After the big boxes are ticked, San Francisco still has plenty more to offer including some surprises.
My trip was business but I was determined to mix in some tourist time, so I spent a day walking to, and eating my way around, the sites.
After checking in at Pier 2620 Hotel with its nautical
theme I felt like I was in San Francisco as opposed to a chain hotel.
It was an easy walk to the famous Fisherman’s Wharf sign, with two fantastic photo opportunities in a matter of minutes.
Before heading to Pier 39 I stumbled across a charming museum while I was taking in the area bustling with tourists, sounds of buskers and the fresh breeze coming off the bay.
It was a step back into history at the Musee Mecanique, where I found yesteryear’s arcade games, mostly in original working condition.
With fortune teller machines that reminded me of the movie Big, to more modern (until I realised it has been a while since I was a kid) video arcade games, it was an unexpected trip down memory lane.
I had heard the clam chowder soup in a sourdough bread bowl was a thing.
Possibly a touristy thing but definitely a thing.
After checking out the sea lions at Pier 39, I had my lunch at Chowders that claim to have the original sourdough bread bowl – and took in the view of Alcatraz. Next stop was the
Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop (another original).
So much chocolate goodness and if I had not earned it already I was about to earn the hot fudge sundae.
From there catch a cable car up to Lombard Street – the most crooked street in the world.
I decided to walk up it – how hard could it be? It’s steep and got the heart rate up.
There are a lot of chain restaurants but the city has so many other options from Italian, Chinese, Mexican and new American to choose from. There was one exception. My American friend insisted I try the west coast burger joint In-N-Out Burger.
Order like a local and get the double-double with animal fries (like loaded chips, they are not officially on the menu but still up for grabs for those in the know) and a shake. For a nightcap head to The Buena Vista, a quaint bar with a mixture of locals and tourists. The Irish coffee was the perfect end to an enjoyable day.
SAN FRAN SIGHTS: A vintage streetcar rolls by the entrance to Fisherman’s Wharf.