Wednesday, February 19, 2014

3 days in San Francisco

I've visited San Francisco before two October's ago (conveniently the best time.. oh those Indian summers), but I couldn't help saying yes when two of my friends asked me if I wanted to visit again. Three days was a pretty good amount of time to explore some of SF's main neighborhoods, and it was so fun to show Eunsan and Tina around, since they had never been. Here's a full recap of our little adventure...

Day 1: North Beach, Chinatown, Union Square, and Mission. We started off with brunch at the famous Mama's in Washington Square Park (got there early due to long lines), then burned off our eggs benedict climbing up the Vallejo Street Steps to take in the view, checked out City Lights bookstore (they have an amazing poetry section) and took photos of the murals at Jack Kerouac alley. Then we ambled down Chinatown, saw the Dragon Gate up close, and headed to Union Square to take the typical tourist photo in front of the heart statue and shop at H&M (Tina wanted boyfriend jeans... don't ask).

Then we stopped over at the gorgeous Yerba Buena gardens (which somehow had a photo booth, thus the above photo), before hopping on the Bart to the Mission, one of my favorite neighborhoods. In the Mission, we browsed through one cute boutique after another (I got an orange-red pea coat at Therapy), took a coffee break at Borderlands Books and played on the swings at Dolores Park without shame. By then it was around 4:30pm and we were eager for a pre-dinner snack, so we headed over to Taqueria el Buen Sabor for tacos which were some of the best I've had. We walked along Valencia Street until sunset, took photos of the art at Clarion Alley, and then headed over to Miss Saigon's for some great pho -- even though we weren't that hungry after our snack, for some reason we were all craving pho.

Day 2: Fisherman's Wharf, Ferry Building, Alcatraz. I was really adamant about trying the clam chowder at Fisherman's Wharf because during my previous visit I biked right through the area without stopping for food :). We hopped on the Powell/Mason cable car to brunch at Fog Harbor and had a delicious clam chowder in sourdough bread, checked out the (quite smelly) seals at Pier 39, then took a quick street car to the Ferry Building to meet my friend Lindsey at the Farmer's Market. Nursing a Blue Bottle coffee, Lindsey and I caught up on life, then the girls and I headed back to Pier 33 for our Alcatraz night tour which started at 3:30pm-- this was my first time and it was worth the $39... what an interesting piece of history! By the end of the tour around 7:30pm, we were so exhausted we had a super filling seafood dinner at Pier Market (couldn't stop eating the sour dough bread) and headed home (to our Airbnb in Hayes Valley) to pass out. It was weird getting tired at 10pm, but remember we were still on New York time!

Day 3: Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, Lower Haight. On our last day, we met up with Eunsan's friend Angela for brunch at Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen where I had a yummy salted caramel latte and my first Irish breakfast sandwich (think lots of sausage + cheese). Following brunch, we walked along Ocean Beach right by the water, hiked up the Lands End trail to check out the Camera Obscura, then walked around the sides of the the Sutro Bath ruins. It was so amazing to see this man-made bath right next to the beach. The whole afternoon of hiking and walking by the beach is probably my favorite memory of the trip, since I'm secretly a nature hippie :).

After our hike we took the bus to Golden Gate Park where we took a reading break right outside the de Young museum, walked through the park to the Haight where we had a crepe at Crepe Express and met Annarose, my friend from work who just moved to SF, for coffee at Sparrow Bar & Kitchen. Then some more shopping (and by that I mean, browsing around and buying nothing, ugh), followed by dinner back at the the Mission at El Techo de Lolinda, which was a feast of corn, sangria, pork belly, and chicharonnes.

Phew, what a jam packed trip! It was a little cooler in SF during February, but I am so glad I got to have another taste of this amazing city. Until next time, San Francisco!

(photos from my iPhone 5, edited via VSCO cam app. Take a look at the full SF album on Facebook.)

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