San Francisco, California

San Fran would have to be one of the best cities I have ever visited in the world. The atmosphere, architecture, people, food, shopping you name it, has it all going for this city.

I was there back in 2012 for a quick visit. There is so much to do there I hit the ground running trying to do all the things! My first day was a very long one as I had to wake up at 3am to get to the airport. Even more so since my flight out of LA was delayed by a few hours due to construction work at airport and fog not lifting in San Fran until late in afternoon. That was a pain.

I stayed at the Stratford hotel in Union Square on Powell Street where the famous cable cars start one their runs through the city. Union Square was amazing with live music every night that I was there, high-end shopping and one of my favourite restaurants, The Cheesecake Factory. It is located on level 8 of Macy’s (which the hotel is backed on to) and has great views you can enjoy whilst eating all the red velvet cheesecake. After delayed flights it was a nice way to end a very long day and settle into this city. You can sit out on the balcony and eat and watch the live entertainment in the Square.

Like I do in pretty much every new city I visit I spent the day sightseeing on the Hop On Hop Off bus tours. I find these incredibly handy and affordable especially when you do not want to drive in a foreign country and are travelling solo. The main start point is conveniently at Union Square and other tour buses pick up from there too. I sat on the bus and completed one entire loop which took a couple of hours and then I got my nerd on and mapped out what stops to get off at that had me ticking off bucket list items of things to see and do. The Golden Gate bridge is impressive. The first day I had great views going across it and day 2 saw heavy fog again and you could hardly see anything going across, it was so ghostly. San Francisco is actually a very small city but has a lot to offer.

For lunch I stopped at Fisherman’s Wharf and ate at Pier 39. Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company, another favourite of mine is located there, and I had a great view of Alcatraz all to myself! After some shopping and further sightseeing I caught the cable car back to Union Square. And yes I swung off the side like a typical tourist! I was pretty impressed with myself that I managed to hold the mobile phone in one hand recording video and the digital camera in the other taking photos.

My last full day in this city was spent on a different tour called Urban Safari. To this day it is one of the best tour groups I have been on and every person I know who visits has me recommending they go on this tour! As Flight Center here in Australia are agents for them you find the bus will have a great deal of us Aussies on it. The bus carries about 20 people and has painted zebra stripes all over it and everyone throws on safari hats and has animal print fleece blankets to keep warm if needed. It was a lot of fun and I think us big kids enjoyed it more than the tiny humans did! This bus isn’t a double-decker so it can drive to places other buses can’t reach such as the lookouts and the ‘painted ladies’. They are the old Victorian homes featured in TV Shows such as Full House. The tour ends at Fisherman’s Wharf where we are given tickets to catch the boat across to Alcatraz and spend as much time as we want there. That place gave me the chills and yet the views were spectacular. We have to make our way back to our respective hotels after that. The cable cars start/finish from the wharf too but being the afternoon and peak hour traffic the wait was 90 minutes to get one back to Union Square. Cars get top priority in peak times. I probably could have walked and completed a bar crawl in the process!

The next day I was off to Las Vegas for Roller Con. Again flights were delayed! I will return to San Francisco one day that is a promise

 

~Lauren

All photos are my own

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