With as much traveling as I’ve done, you’d think I would have already visited San Francisco! But it was one major U.S. city that had escaped me over the years, so when planning our Highway 1 trip, I made sure to include a couple days for exploring this beautiful northern California city.
For our two night stay in the Bay Area, I booked a super cool vintage airstream! The couple that owns it lives on the property, bought it about several years ago and completely refurbished it themselves. In fact, in 2014, the New York Times published a piece about them and how they had to use a huge crane to lift it up and over the neighbor’s house and down into their backyard.
While not in San Francisco, it was such a short drive into the city from Mill Valley, that this would be the perfect place to stay if you were also going to Muir Woods. There are plenty of places to eat nearby, so it’s a great and more affordable location than other options I found in the city.
We crammed as much sight-seeing as we could in a day and a half and hit most of the major areas of the city. Our first stop was Mr. Holmes Bakeshop so I could grab a croissant and snap a photo at their fun neon wall. The line was out the door and it was a tiny place with tons of other people taking photos, so we didn’t stay long.
After that, it was Chinatown for lunch! The traffic and parking here was pretty crazy, but we got a spot and walked around for about an hour. It’s a bustling area of the city and we felt like we were truly in a different country.
There are many colorful murals that line the streets of Chinatown, so be on the lookout for those and grab something to eat while you are there. A lot of places we saw didn’t take cards, so make sure you have some cash on you. We had teriyaki bowls at Floating Sushi Boat.
Then, we checked out the Golden Gate Bridge which was pretty much covered in a cloud of fog even though the rest of the city was sunny! We also did a hike to Land’s End Labyrinth, which was a nice way to wrap up the day.
Our second day began with a cruise to Alcatraz! The boat ride there was pretty short – I’d say about 15 minutes and then you walk up a steep hill to the prison. It was very educational and I learned a lot I never knew about the island prison. There are also great views of the city and the bridge from here.
After spending a couple hours at Alcatraz, we boarded the boat back to San Francisco and spent a large chunk of the day in Fisherman’s Warf. There are so many things to do and places to eat, but make sure you walk all the way down to Ghiredelli Square to see and sample the chocolate!
Then, check out the adorable sea lions at Pier 39! It was a small group this time, but I hear that often the pallets they lay on to sun themselves are packed.
By this time is was late afternoon, so we drove up to see the Painted Ladies (famously from the Full House opening scene), walked a mile or so down the same street to see Mrs. Doubtfire’s house, then went to several different viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge and had a lovely sunny evening to see it.
I think the view from Baker’s Beach and Battery Spencer were my favorites.