While traveling to the US for work, I decided to spend a couple of days exploring San Francisco as I had never been before. After 2 days of seeing the city, I got the train down to Menlo Park to check out Silicon Valley.
Trying to find a hotel in SF was a bit of a nightmare, everything was VERY expensive! We eventually settled on the Axiom which was the cheapest we could find and it very extremely central. As soon as we exited the BART from the airport the hotel was right there. The rooms were quite small but we spent little time there as we only had 48 hours in the city and the location was very much worth it! On one of the nights when I couldn’t sleep, I took a walk up to Lori’s diner for some early breakfast.
On the first night we walked along the pier looking for somewhere to eat. I had already heard of Hard Water due to its HUGE whiskey collection, so we ended up stopping in here for some food. I got an old fashioned which was lovely, but the whiskey I tried later wasn’t that nice (especially for the $15 it cost!). The food was amazing though – we got brussel sprouts, chicken sandwich and fried chicken, all of which was amazing. The bar was small enough and it wasn’t crowded which made it more enjoyable.
The Slanted Door
We went to The Slanted Door on the last night as it was recommended a couple of times to us. Its quite a huge restaurant (as we entered, a woman was escorted out by security), but we had no time to wait and were seated straight away. The table beside us got spring rolls so we ordered some and they were sensational! For the main course, I got the scallops with a pesto salad (there was a little too much pesto!), Frances got the stir fried organic chicken which was also amazing – I did regret not getting it. There seems to always be queues outside, we got lucky as it was about 9pm on a Sunday, but I would highly recommend a visit!
On Sunday morning we rented bikes from Bay City Bike Rental and took off on our tour of the city. Our first stop was a cute little farmers market at Fort Mason which gave us a great breakfast! Our next stop was at Crissy Fields for a walk along the beach and a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We continued along the route to cycle across the bridge with the city on one side and stunning woods, beaches and parks to the other. Once across we turned around and cycled back as we only had one day to see the city, and the ferries don’t seem to run that often. We decided to cycle along to Baker Beach – which isn’t a cycle I’d recommend as its quite rough and downhill. The beach was lovely, and we again got a great view of the bridge. From here we cycled along to Golden Gate Park, but kept going to find the Hidden Steps which involved quite a steep hill climb and I wasn’t too happy about that. The steps are lovely and glad we got to check them out. From there we headed down to Haight Asbury and saw the Grateful Dead house along the way! We continued along to the Painted Ladies, which I wasn’t too impressed by, before cycling around the Tenderloin district and then up Polk street (stopping off at the Bell Tower for a quick drink!) until we reached Lombard Street. It was a killer of a walk up the hill, but once we got to the top we were allowed to cycle down Lombard Street which was amazing! After Lombard Street, we went onto The Embarcadero and cycled down to AT&T Stadium as our last stop on the bike ride.
I read a huge amount of reviews for the Irish Coffee in the Buena Vista, so decided to give it a go. I was a little skeptical at the start and thought it would be gimmick to get people in and would be a really shit coffee – but I was very wrong. We stopped in for one, but ended up having about 3 or 4. The barman was making 8-10 at a time pretty quickly but it was the best Irish coffee I’ve had ever.
Castro & The Mission District
On our last morning, we got the cable car down to Castro which was the beginning of our self guided walking tour. We grabbed some breakfast here and I got to try some Philz coffee which I heard so much about (and was pretty vile). From there we headed towards the Mission, on what was a very ordinary stroll through a big city. We saw some cool graffiti and some nice little shops, but there was nothing out of the ordinary.
While in the Mission we tried to find Humphry Slocombe for some ice cream but unfortunately it was closed. Luckily, we came across another store in the Ferry Building and stopped for some of their Secret Breakfast (ice cream with cornflakes and Jim Beam). It sounded pretty vile, but was surprisingly unbelievable.
On our first night in San Francisco, we walked through Pier 39, which was nice to see but very touristy. This part of San Francisco is pretty touristy and not the kind of place you would spend all your time. We strolled through the shops and stopped off at the pier to see the seals.