Some trip highlights were:
Fascinating, interesting, and thought provoking. They have a fantastic audio tour of the cell house, which is really well done. We highly recommend going to Alcatraz if you ever travel to SF!
There are gorgeous gardens on Alcatraz Island. I loved the giant Hens & Chicks. Seriously, the size of your head!
We rented bikes and rode across, then had lunch in Sausalito and took the ferry back to SF. This is a total tourist trap, but it was really fun.
Lunch in beautiful Sausalito!
Pier 39Fun just to walk around here, people watch, sea lion watch, eat ice cream, seafood, hot dogs, watch the bakers at Boudin make sourdough bread, catch the cable car.
We took the Cable Car to the top of Lombard Street, home to 8 hairpin turns in a 1 block stretch! (Yes, we may have mocked people taking photos of the street, even though we had just done the same!)
Visit the Balclutha
Dan & I happened to stumble upon this one day as we were heading toward the cable car stop. The Balclutha is a ship that is permanently docked at Hyde Street Pier. It had three careers as a cargo ship: shipping timber, then running supplies for the gold rush, then shipping salmon from Alaska. Inside, you can go all through the rooms and under the deck. They have cargo underneath, and exhibits and signs throughout that tell about the three careers the ship had. It was really interesting, and was free (and I knew my dad would like it!).
They are houses! Don't get too excited over there! I don't know why I liked this so much; I just did! We did a self-guided walking tour in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, and it brought us to Alamo Square, where you can see 6 gorgeous (and iconic) Victorian houses all in a row. If you ever watched Full House, you know exactly which houses I am referring to! Also Hayes Valley was a cool neighborhood - full of boutiques and vintage shops. Dan & I stopped in a few furniture/home stores, admired everything, and merrily went on our way!
Eat. Food. Everywhere.
There are a ton of restaurants in SF, and we of course could only try a tiny fraction of them. Our hotel had continental breakfast, so we usually did one cheaper meal during the day, and one sit down/more expensive one. This is really where that Trip Advisor App came in handy! We'd look up restaurants that were nearby to wherever we were, read the reviews and either tried it or searched again! So, because this is my blog, and I can do what I want with it, I will now share with you our favorite restaurants and what we had! Feel free to skip ahead!
Fog Harbor Fish House - Clam Chowder & Crab Cakes
Tommy's Joynt - Sweet & Sour Ribs and Turkey Enchilada (this place was a bit of a dive, but it was right across the street from our hotel and the food was freakin' awesome! I could eat those ribs ALL THE TIME!)
Olive - Fish Tacos & Spicy Sausage pizza
Brenda's French Soul Food - Crawfish Beignets (so good), Shrimp & Grits, Fried Chicken
Olivo's - giant Burritos. (This place was nothing special atmosphere-wise, but the food was excellent and it was inexpensive!)
Another fun and unexpected part of our trip was that we got a room upgrade! Our first room was fine, but we asked it we could move since the adjacent room had a crying baby that kept waking us up at night. We got upgraded to a Junior Suite, which was a major improvement in both comfort and quality (and noise factor) from the first room. Sometimes it pays to complain!
We also went to Golden Gate park and went up to the 9th floor of the de Young museum, which gives a fantastic panoramic view of San Francisco. Another night we went to City Lights bookstore and browsed around there. We went on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour from Union Square, and while our tour guide was pretty good and did know stuff about the city, he mainly told us where expensive neighborhoods to eat & live in were! All in all, it was a really fun trip, and our 4 days of actually being there was just enough time for us. We saw what we wanted to see, did what we wanted to do, and were ready to come home at the end. (Also, our legs were tired from walking up & down all the hills!)