I am in five courses but I was very lucky to only have one exam this semester. I convinced my Mom that this was the perfect opportunity for a girls trip with my sister and Grandma (Gma). After finding cheap flights my Mom agreed and we were on our way to The Golden State.
I have been to California many times but this was my first time in San Francisco. It was love at first sight. I may be an easy sell because I’m happy any time I am near the ocean, but even without the beautiful views considered, it is an absolutely gorgeous city.
Day 1: Arriving in San Fran
After ubering from the airport we arrived at our hotel in Union Square. Union Square is the heart of San Fran’s shopping district and very central. We freshened up and then headed to Everlane‘s flagship store in the Mission District. We had to line up to get in. The clothes are very classic and all of their accessories are made from really nice Italian leather. I found a perfect pair of shoes!
After some quick shopping we headed to the Thai Farmhouse Kitchen restaurant. Emulating a Thai night market, the restaurant was very cute with hanging lanterns and waiters pushing food carts. It was actually Thai New Year when we visited. I’m not sure if it is always like this, but the waiters were dressed up and singing and dancing. It was so much fun! My favourite food we tried were the samosas, they were very yummy!
Day 2: Bike the Sites
After an early morning brunch, we headed into the city to rent bikes. I was a little bit unsure how successful we would be riding in a city that is far from flat in elevation. However, we stuck near the water and it was actually quite an easy and very beautiful route. We biked across the Golden Gate Bridge. The views were absolutely gorgeous! I found it a bit nerve-racking as the bridge’s railing is quite low in height and cars are flying by beside you. Even though there were bike paths, I think in the future I might have preferred to walk across. Overall it was a very cool experience.
The next location on our agenda was Kirby Cove. I read a bunch of blogs online that all raved about it. They described Kirby Cove’s swing and Golden Gate Bridge backdrop as a must-see.
If you know me, you know I love pictures and was very excited. We hiked down a fairly long path to the beach. Though I was pretty hot (not really something to complain about when you are from raincouver!) and thirsty, it was a very cool walk. Forest surrounded us and even though this is a common occurrence in Vancouver, the vegetation was very different. Trees towered above us, butterflies were everywhere, shrubbery gave way to wildflowers and the air smelled minty and fresh.
Unfortunately, when we finally got to the beach we discovered the swing was broken. It was still a gorgeous beach and we took a little break to enjoy the sun. Kirby Cove is also a campground. I would love to come back here and sleep under the stars!
We hiked back up the hill and grabbed our bikes. Our next stop was Sausalito. This little beach town was incredibly cute. I wish we had more time to walk around but we had to rush and catch our ferry. There were many unique boutiques and pretty views. I am definitely returning next time I am in San Fran!
It was really convenient to be able to bring our bikes on the ferry. The ferry brought us to the Ferry Building which is similar to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver or the Granville Island Public Market. We enjoyed walking around and checking out the vendors, before biking back through the city to return our bikes. By this time, it was late afternoon and rain started to lightly dribble. Our timing was perfect! We grabbed some snacks and headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit. We were all exhausted from biking all day!
For dinner we ubered back to the Mission District. We had to wait quite a while, but we finally got a table at Flour + Water. It was a cute little Italian restaurant. All the dishes were very unique and pretty. Grandma almost ordered seaweed pasta but thought it might be pushing her comfort zone a little too much haha! We shared blood orange halibut crudo and a little gem salad to start. For my main, I had yummy artichoke, ricotta and nettle pasta. What a great way to end our day!
Day 3: Shop, shop, shop, Till We Drop!
We headed out to Union Square to shop. The Apple store was one of our first stops. When I worked for Ledcor, they had just finished construction and there had been a lot of hype. Differing from a traditional Apple store, it not only sells Apple products, but also serves as a social hub. It is less simplistic in design, with many architectural intricacies. It was very exciting to finally see it!
There were too many stores and too little time. We had a beautiful lunch at Neiman Marcus and then freshened up at the hotel before heading out to Haight-Ashbury aka the hippy district. Somehow we managed to get majorly lost and it took us four Ubers to get the right place. We had put an ice cream shop as our destination and when we finally arrived, it was closed! Gma thought the area was a bit sketchy at that time of night and we left in search of our restaurant.
Uber played a very entertaining role in our trip. We had one wild driver who was an American idol contestant and sang for us. He would pretend to pass out at the wheel and I think he almost gave my Gma a heart attack haha! We had another driver tell us his life story and then ask if we had a president or dictator ruling us in Canada (for any confused americans reading this, we have a prime minister) ! We had so many laughs. I hope Uber comes to Vancouver soon.
By the time we had dinner, everyone was pretty exhausted and we had tons of leftovers. Earlier on our trip, we had been told San Francisco has over 70,000 homeless people. Restaurants typically have to throw out food due to health concerns and regulations. We decided to pack up what was left and see if we could find someone who was hungry. Sure enough, we found a homeless person less than a block away who was very excited to have some dinner! It can be hard not to be wasteful when traveling, but I am going to continue making an effort to be mindful of alternative solutions.
Day 4: Down By The Bay
On the last day we rented a car and drove along the gorgeous coastline to Half Moon Bay. Before leaving we stopped at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse and picked up some delicious treats for the drive. I had been wanting to spend some time near the ocean and go for a hike. My Mom’s cousin drove down to meet us. We headed to the Mavericks lookout. It ended up being more than a walk than a hike but it was very beautiful. The Mavericks is where huge surfing competitions are held, with waves up to 60 ft! The trail also happened to be a popular dog walking destination and I was in heaven! After taking some pictures we had a yummy patio lunch overlooking the bay. Sadly, it was then time to head to the airport.
I had such an amazing time in San Francisco, I can’t wait to come back! There is so much to see and do in this wonderful city. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to visit!