What is better than getting on the water. I love being out there. I highly recommend getting on the water, a sailboat, a whaling boat, or even kayak when you visit San Francisco.
I have a friend that has a sailboat. My friend Katy and I got to go out for the afternoon. It was such a pretty day. I could go out every day and enjoy the water.
When you get on a boat, the most important thing is to protect your eyes, and have shoes that have grip. I always wearing my Maui Jims sunglasses, because they have great polaroid sunglasses made for the water. When I’m working on the boats doing research, I wear rainboots so that I can hose them off after, but in a more social setting, I like to wearing converse or sneakers with a rubber sole.
There is nothing more peaceful than listening to the water and wind while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.
I grew up just outside of San Francisco. I love the city, but there is so much to see around the city. There is so much to see and do. The weather in SF is cold about 50-60F all year round. If you don’t want to be here with the fog and come during September and October or come during the spring May and June. July is unknown. August is always foggy. There are some places to go outside of the city to get away from the fog. Here are some of my favorite things to do in the city.
I like to start on Lombard street. Go early so you can take good photos! Lombard street is the “World’s most crooked street” it is made of eight sharp turns! You can walk up and down the side of the street for free. It gets really crowded. You can easily walk down to the fisherman’s wharf and the cable car.
It is a short walk around to the cable car. Fisherman’s Wharf and close to Pier 39. The Wharf is very touristy I will warn you, but the great place to wander around taste the local catch and sourdough bread. I personally love the Aquarium of the Bay as well as just sitting on the pier and watching the sea life. There are famous shops and restaurants on Pier 39; you could spend all afternoon wondering the pier.
The trolley car is a famous and iconic image of San Francisco. They are fun to ride and practical to get from one side of the city to the other. There are three main routes for the trolley cars. My favorite is to go from Powel and Market to Fisherman’s Warf. The trolley cars run from 6 am until midnight. You can buy a one-way ticket for $7 or an all-day ticket for $17. You can start near the downtown shopping areas and ride it through the hills, by Macy’s square, and down the hill to Fisherman’s Warf.
History note: The cable car system was established 1873. There were over 600 cars before the 1906 earthquake, and now there is only 44!
We took the cable car down to market street. There is great shopping at around union square. Since we went on a Saturday morning, we decided to explore the farmers market at the ferry building. On the way, we stopped at one of my favorite coffee shops Philz Coffee. I love the mint mojito ( it’s a coffee with mint). It is so much fun to check out all the local food. So many different colors and textures!
The ferry building! It is a working beautiful building with dozens of restaurants and vendors/shops that are all local.
History note: It was built in 1898, it survived the 1906 earthquake, which burned most of the city. In the 1950s the building of the bridges reduced the use of the ferry building. The city did a restoration during 2002.
For a quick sweet snack walking distance from Fisherman’s Warf is Ghirardelli’s square, where the famous chocolate. They have a serious of ice cream sundaes flavors, hot chocolate, and coffee. It is a great stop for a sweet treat. There is also the Palace of Fine Arts.
History note: It was built in 1915 for the world fair. It was demolished at the end of the exposition. It was so well loved, the city rebuilt it in 1969.
If you want to go to Alcatraz, you will have to book in advance! Tours sell out quickly. They do have night tours which are really cool to visit the “Rock” at night and listen to the guides about the prisoners that escaped. The tours will take you out on a ferry and to the Island where the prison stands. You will get great views of the golden gate; you will also see kiteboards, surfers, and sailors cross the bay. There is a great view from the ferry of the city!
Optional is to go to Angel Island ( will be a posted soon), there are cool hikes and biking trails. You can explore the old buildings.
Golden Gate Bridge
You can, drive, walk or bike over the bridge. Hopefully, you get a good sunny day. But even in the fog, it is nice to see the bridge peaking through the clouds.
Extra things to do:
Haight and Ashbury, the corner of
Mission District Murals are a must see! The murals are colorful graffiti, all over the street as its own “gallery.” This movement started during the 1970s Chicano Art Mural Movement
Coit Tower is 210 foot (64m) ($6)
Whale watching to the Farallones. It is one of my favorite things to do.
Hike at Angel Island and learn the history of the bay.
Ride a ferry to Sausalito. Walk and have lunch around the small marina town.
View from the mission of the city!
Exploratorium Thursday night cocktails “After the Dark” 6-10pm ($15)
De Young Friday night cocktails ($25)
Academy of Sciences Thursday night cocktails “Nightlife” 6-10pm ($15)
I have driven across the country twice so far. I love it. It was one of the best trips I have ever made. It was so much fun to see all those parts of the USA. My first time, I started in San Francisco at home and drove across to Tallahassee where I go to graduate school. My Aunt decided to go with me. It was so much fun to go this adventure with her. We saw and did some amazing things. We also made some mistakes, so I will let you know things to avoid as well.
Day 1: I will tell you about best places in San Francisco and Tahoe soon. In much more detail.
Day 2: We drove down the east side of the Sierras to Las Vegas. It was so neat going through small old mining towns. We even got to see area 51, where the aliens are! It is in a very remote area; you can’t drive in, but there are areas nearby that have fun tourist things to do.
We reached Vegas. We really didn’t have interest in exploring Vegas that much. I figured that I would probably go back one day for a bachelorette party. I really wanted to see the more natural landmarks.
I have never seen the Hoover dam before. The dame was so big and amazing. What an incredible feat of engineering.
From there it is an easy drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. This is where you can walk out on the skywalk over the Grand Canyon. It is supposed to be stunning. But when we went they don’t let anyone go when there are thunderstorms and rain. So it is best to go early in the morning during the summer because there are thunderstorms every afternoon. Learn more here.
Day 3: We kept driving to Page, a small town outside of Horseshoe Bend. There is a couple of great places to stay around there. We stayed at a small motel at the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was kind of simple place to stay, but it was all I needed.We woke up early at 6 am to watch the sun rise over the mountains and canyon. Horseshoe bend is so beautiful. It a short walk from the road. After horseshoe bend, we head into Page to grab breakfast and get in line for antelope canyon.
Antelope Canyon is part of a Navajo land; you need a tour to access the canyon. You can reserve tours online before. The best time to go is during the summer; there is flash flooding in the area. If you are trying to get those amazing orange photos of the canyons go around noon. Here is a link to the tours.
At Antelope Canyon, check out the colors!
It was only noon when we finished antelope canyon and horseshoe bend. So we got back on the road and headed towards Santa Fe. We even drove through Monument Valley. It is beautiful and fascinating.
It is a beautiful desert with these jetting out mountains in red rock. It is an unbelievable view.
As we pass through small ranch towns and desert we come across four corners. The only place in the USA where you can stand in 4 states at once.
We made it to Santa Fe. It was beautiful at night. Golden light and deep blue sky. I love Santa Fe. The dry warm heat radiating off the streets. We went to this incredible place for breakfast, Cafe Pasquals. It is true good New Mexican food; Mexican with organic and local food.
Next state is one of the largest. TEXAS! It felt like it would last forever. It is a long state to drive across. There were hundreds of sunflower fields so we stopped on the side of the road to look at them.
Day 4: We were aiming to get to Austin. The foothills of Texas are beautiful. There is a place called Hamilton Pool. When we went you just had to wait in line and get a ticket. Now you have to make a reservation ahead of time.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go swimming, the park tests the water to make sure it is ok to swim. We had another long drive to New Orleans!
First, stop beignets!!!! Famous Cafe Du Monde. Their chicory coffee and powdered sugar beignets. Make sure you wear white, cause the sugar can get everywhere!
I love New Orleans! Make sure you stop by Frenchman’s Street at night to listen to the latest Jazz. We got to hear some great tunes on the street corner. It is always fun to see the characters down Bourbon Street.
Day 6: Now, the 6 hour drive through the gulf coast to Tallahassee!