Tuesday, September 29, 2015

San Francisco: 2 days in SF

I did not have enough of San Francisco! 2 days, minus the time for Pride Parade, technically I was only left with 1 1/2 day to explore the city. "Let's just try to make full use of the little time left..." and so I thought. Why not.

Day 1: Bad Start

Arriving in San Francisco a day before Pride Weekend is no joke. The traffic, OH MY GOD. and the fact that it was summer at noon didn't help either.
First day in SF and I did a terrible mistake: I didn't reserve a bed. I was overwhelmed with all the excitements on the road trip and then I forgot, totally forgot. After much consideration, I decided to overnight at the airport. I obviously do not need to tell you how expensive it is to stay in the city, plus it was pride weekend, they were fully booked.
However, we still manage to visit some attractions downtown, so it was still, a good day after all:

Union Square Park
When I was in SF, there was a Philippines Independence festival in the park. Since I am always up for anything, I joined in. Love the heart sculpture at every corner of the park.    

Market Street
A street bubbles with activities, street performance, shopping, restaurants. A good place to jump on a historical street car and enjoy the activities rushing pass as you go. However, this place is filled with homeless and panhandlers.

Yerba Buena Garden
I've never heard of this place, it was a random find. There is a waterfall memorial of Martin Luther King and plenty of seating overlooking the city. It is a good place to enjoy picnic lunch. Great little getaway.

San Francisco International Airport
This airport is by far the coolest, with unlimited free Wi-Fi and interesting exhibitions around.Another cool thing: the airport was lit up in rainbow colour during pride weekend.

Day 2: See as much as we can

Mission District
I am so happy with this smart decision to check out this colourful neighborhood first thing in the morning. The mission district is famous for its fast-changing murals, Latino culture, and hipster vibes. The Clarion Alley is arguably the coolest, most colourful alley in San Francisco, and I'm lovin' it.

Passing through Dolores Park on the way, it took us about 20 minute to walk from the Clarion Alley to Castro -- the center of the city's famous gay mecca. This neighborhood in Eureka Valley is colorful, but during my visit, quite empty. Occasionally people wearing fluffy pom poms and fishnets walked pass, but I expected more.... well maybe everyone is busy preparing for the parade.

Pride Parade
San Francisco hosts the biggest pride parade in the country and this experience was very eye-opening, for me. Rainbow, bubbles, glitters, pom poms everywhere. Saw one completely naked guy in the crowd (with socks on), drag queens walking by, half naked women with latex/leather strap riding motorbikes, with so much positive energy and acceptance around. Culture shock? Yes, but no regrets! My advice on attending Pride Parade: have fun! but leave early before public transport become impossible.

Twin Peak
We left the Pride extravaganza earlier in fear of public transport delay. (and I'm glad that we did.)
Boy the trail head to Twin Peaks was hard to locate! We were lucky a local was gonna walk her dog to the peak and she showed us a "shortcut". These 2 adjacent peaks originally called “Los Pechos de la Choca” (Breasts of the Maiden) offers postcard views of the Bay Area.

Lombard Street
This is the most crooked scenic drive in the world with eight hairpin turns. The sidewalk was crowded and I did not like the over-touristy nature of it. Little did I know this is actually the second most crooked street. The most crooked but less scenic street is Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill district. Hope I knew it earlier.

Russian Hill
Disappointed with the Lombard street, we head over to the neighboring streets and found some pretty steep inclines and cool panoramic views around the area.

Fisherman Wharf and the piers
Tourist trap or not, no one is going to stop me from having lunch here! Fisherman Wharf offers a plethora of seafood restaurants and stalls, just exactly what I needed. I was starving.

my lobster sandwich.

There are a lot of things to do in Fisherman Wharf:

  • Ghirardelli SquareSee how chocolate was made. grab a free piece of chocolate and enjoy it at the fountain!
  • BoudinThe heavenly smell lured me into this bakery. I was so attracted to the making of a cute teddy bear bread I stood still in front of the glass window for some time. I never knew I could love bread this much! 
  • Hyde Street PierAdmire the historical boats on the pier costs nothing.
  • Experience the fog bridge Walk the bridge at Piers 15 & 17 to be surrounded by mist (created by high water pressure nozzles.)
  • Musée Mécanique A hidden gem in Fisherman wharf. Come to see the vintage arcade games and ancient music box, or spend some quarters to join the fun. 
  • Sea Lions at Pier 39 These California sea lions started linger around Pier 39 since 1990. Now, they called it their permanent home. Unfortunately, during my visit, they decided to head back to the breeding ground leaving an empty pier and a sad me behind. 

Golden Gate Bridge
Walking from Fisherman Wharf to Golden Gate Bridge is a lot of fun at the same time annoying (it's a long walk.) Highlights:
  • Fort Mason 
  • Yacht Harbor
  • Wave Organ (somewhere near chrissy fields but I forgot where exactly)
    This is a bit odd: a man-made island-like "wave organ" with PVCs and concrete pipes. As the waves, winds and tides close in, it creates music (or should I say, it sounded more like a sinister humming). 
  • Crissy Field
    Doggies playing by the beach is such a cute sight!
  • Fort Point
    Made famous by Vertigo, this military history site was built in 1861. Also, come here to watch surfers show off their skills.
  • Golden Gate Bridgeiconic and scenic, amazing photos opportunities and not to mention walking prevents heart disease.

Day 3: Highway 1

Here we go again!

Read more: Road trip on Highway 1

Thank You for Reading! 
This post is based solely on my opinion or personal experience. 
Feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!

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