Tagged onto my trip to Vancouver, we arrived in SF in April and immediately connected to the vibe of the place.
We only had 4 days in which to explore, which sounds a lot but you quickly realise that this isn’t enough. What I liked about the place was the diversification. Things to do, food, people – it caters for all.
As I spent my birthday here, I wanted to do something a bit ‘outdoorsy’ so ventured over to nearby Muir Woods.
Muir Woods is easy to get to by heading over the bay to Sausalito. From there is takes about 40 mins to get to by bus which winds and bends its way down a extremely narrow road and lands you a vast, peaceful Red Wood forest.
Whilst this is an extremely popular excursion, I found it was very well organised in terms of transport and exploring the park.
The trip over the water gave us the first taste of Sausalito. We would explore Sausalito by cycling from our hotel – over the Golden Gate Bridge – and down to Sausalito which took about 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace. Check out rentals from Blazin’ Saddles.
One other super touristy thing to do in SF is visiting Alcatraz. On the face of it, I thought it wouldnt be something that I would enjoy. Long queues, tourists everywhere and herded around like cattle etc. However, I genuinely enjoyed it, found it interesting and would highly recommend it (Book waaaay in advance to be sure of a spot!)
“Break the Rules and you go to Prison; Break the Prison Rules and you go to Alcatraz”
I have a bit of a weird thing for taking pictures of doors (ideally with a bit of character or story not just a door to a closet or something). Next time you go somewhere have a look at the doors! I really like the above picture.
The ferry over to Alcatraz does stop off at nearby Angel Island. I didn’t get off there but that looks a cool spot too so would consider checking that out also.
When in SF itself, Uber became my new best friend, and suggest that if you visit it becomes yours too.
I had heard that SF is a hilly place but brushed that under the carpet a little bit. If you’re walking around; you will get a workout and of course it can get very hot so that’s an extra consideration.
The infamous San Francisco Tram is worth a trip on to. Good fun and you get to see SF in a different way. I would treat it more as an ‘experience’ mind you as opposed to a practical and cost efficient way of getting around as it falls down a bit on both fronts.
Heading up to Coit Tower gives a good view over the city. But does involve the aforementioned workout!
One thing I didn’t do was to explore airbnb more as an option for accommodation. SF comes with a reputation of being an expensive place to visit, and whilst Hotel Zephyr we stayed at was nice enough and reasonably priced, being close to Fisherman’s Wharf tainted it somewhat. This place is really tourist central.
As first timers to SF, the location wasn’t so bad as its a good base for the initial ‘touristy’ things to do (Golden Gate/Alcatraz), but next time round I think airbnb would be a better fit due the lower cost and range of places to stay.
There are so many other parks, hikes and places to explore in SF and the nearby area and next time round am keen to give these more attention.
DATE OF TRAVEL: 17-21 APRIL 2016