Friday, April 27, 2012

Destination: San Francisco, CA

Seeing as I just returned from this lovely city, I thought I'd give you the low down on some of my favorite sites and bites.  Get ready for tourism at its best in San Fran!

Classic Tourism:

  • Golden Gate Bridge: We must start with this iconic landmark of San Francisco.  As a matter of fact, the Golden Gate Bridge celebrates its 75th birthday this year!  While, yes, it is just a bridge, it has become a major landmark of SF and, believe it or not, there are other things to do than just drive over it.  I'd recommend taking a picture of it.  Its architecture provides great photos up close, and far away.  Or grab a bike in Fisherman's Warf and bike 8 miles over the Golden Gate to Sausalito and take the ferry back.
  • Fisherman's Warf: This past weekend we stayed near Fisherman's Warf/ North Beach and I loved the location.  With great views of the water, lots of shopping, and great reastaurants, Fisherman's Warf is a great area.  
  • Photo Credit
    • Ghirardelli Square: You can't go to Fisherman's warf and pass up Ghirardelli ice cream! This delicious ice cream shop, and chocolate store, has some of the best ice cream concoctions.  Don't let the long lines scare you away, the wait is worth it!
    • Scoma's Restaurant: An excellent seafood restaurant, Scoma's also has an award winning wine list! Located on Pier 47, Scoma's also has gorgeous views of the bay!
  • Union Square: For the best shopping in the city head to Union Square.  Loaded with big name and luxury shops, there's something for everyone to find!  Some of my personal favorites are Zara, H&M, and Macy's.
  • Chinatown: For some really good deals, especially on scarves and purses, check out Chinatown.  Be ware, there is a ton of walking traffic so prepare yourself for crowds.
  • Alcatraz: This small island is home to a federal prison that was occupied until 1963.  It is now a popular tourist attraction.  Take a ferry over and tour the prison that jailed criminals such as Al Capone and Alvin "Creepy" Karpis (the longest prisoner to stay at Alcatraz).
Lombard St
What we walked up to get there!
  • Lombard Street: If you're close by walk over, or up, to Lombard street to see the windy/curvy section of this famous street! You'll also get to experience those crazy San Francisco hills! Or drive over and you can try driving down those curves, slowly.

Hidden Gems:
  • North Beach: This is San Francisco's Little Italy.  With some of the best Italian restaurants, shops, and a gorgeous cathedral, Saints Peter and Paul Church.
    • Cafe Maria: This delicious Italian restaurant has it all: great food, good atmosphere, and good service!  The owner welcomed us at the door and showed us to our table.  I recommend the beef tortellini with pesto sauce - amazing.
  • Pergamino Cafe: This is a restaurant that cooks a delicious breakfast!  I enjoyed the smoked salmon and cream cheese omelet and drank a few cups of their serve yourself coffee.  Located in Fisherman's Warf, one of this cafe's perks is that once you dine there in the morning you are welcome to come back for free coffee refills all day!
  • San Francisco Maritime:  On a nice day walk along the water in this Fisherman's Warf park!  One feature I particularly enjoyed was the piece of land that jutted out about 500 feet into the bay.  We walked down this strip and had wonderful views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and looking back at the San Francisco hills. Photos I captured are below.

S.F. Hills

What are some of your favorite San Francisco "Hidden Gems"?

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