San Francisco Will Get You Wet
Well, we're home from the trip that felt like it would never end! We couldn't catch a break on this adventure, but that made it an adventure all the more.
After one slightly bizarre week in San Francisco, bus after stinky bus, and helping an old lady find George H. W. Bush's phone number in downtown Houston (yeah), we're glad to be curled up at home.
While this trip was chock full of tummy aches, unforeseen expenses, and disastrous planning, there are things to love about every city, every stop, and every inconvenient little fork in the road.
So, here's the best of San Francisco. It's not the list you've read a thousand times, it's our honest opinion after each tourist spot and each hole in wall restaurant that we visited there.
It was rainy, which is cool, but be prepared for that!
10 things not to miss in San Francisco
1. Golden Gate Bridge (duh)
Definitely, obviously, certainly worth checking out. More than once, from different angles and distances. It's pretty from afar, it's pretty from up close, it's pretty when it's (mostly) covered in fog! It's pretty cool. Stop me before I get too Dr. Seuss-y.
2. Pier 39
I'm not talking about fisherman's wharf here, because that's in my "not that cool" list here. My advice is to check out the sea lions, because they're spectacular, and then high tail it out of this tourist trap of an area. The sea lions are adorable and hilarious, though. Finding Dory was spot on.
If it's raining (and it may well be), this is the perfect way to spend a day. Beware of the policeman on the fourth floor...he is not real, but I nervously smiled at him, anyway.
4. Palace of Fine Arts
The palace of fine arts is a beautiful structure surrounding a little pond full of ducks and fountains. It almost feels like you're in Rome when you're sitting by the water next to this beautiful place, and maybe, just maybe, you'll see what you're pretty sure is a porn star doing a creepy photo shoot!
5. Street Art
There are a few different alleys to check out that are full of interesting, hilarious, and politically charged street art. Be careful to find out the names of them first (Clarion alley and Orange alley are the ones we saw), lest you find yourself down an alley talking to a wildly eccentric old man about pepper spray versus pepper gel.
San Francisco is a foodie's dream, but it can be really overwhelming and really expensive. Get tacos (anywhere), stop by bakeries (anywhere), and get clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (anywhere). Restaurants we loved include, but aren't limited to Brenda's French Soul Food (what!), North India, and Mac Daddy, a mac and cheese joint where the kitchen is right behind the bar and the beer is on tap.
Brewery tours are fun! This was my first, but I'll definitely check out more (I'm coming for you, Millstreet Brewery)! San Francisco is a hot spot for craft beer lovers, and there's no shortage of brewery tours to choose from. We went with Anchor Brewing, which had a variety of both traditional and experimental ales. We all left light-headed, pink-cheeked, and ready to take down a truckload of mozzarella sticks.
The painted ladies are nothing to write home about if you spend a week walking around this city. You'll find a place way more interesting and striking than the painted ladies just nestled in between some other neat houses by wandering around. I fell in love with the architecture here and am (not really) definitely in the market (no).
9. Old Mason Street
Ah, a flat walk might be the most welcome sight in the city! This is a beautiful, flat street offering great views of the golden gate bridge, nice homes, and lots of interesting stuff going on along the bay. From concerts and food-truck gatherings in the parks to sidewalk gyms and bubble-soccer games, Old Mason Street is a great, not-too-touristy way to get to know the real San Francisco.
10. Castro District
We loved this little neighborhood (to be fair, we only walked down one street). Rainbow flags and crossing medians, awesome little bookshops, and the historic Castro theatre provide hours of entertainment! This is "the gay neigbborhood", so don't bring unenlightened Nana and Pop-Pop. Just get them a souvenir, instead!
As always, thanks for reading, and don't forget to follow the sloth!
Don't forget to explore our other posts about this trip in which we got stuck in San Francisco, took Greyhound buses left and right, spent a day in LA, had a scary time in Houston, and wandered San Antonio's riverwalk for Valentine's day!