I should first start off by apologising for being such an absentee blogger this past month and welcoming you all back! If you follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat: @adashoflime) then you’ll know I’m just recently home from two amazing weeks in San Francisco.
Last October, one of our best friends, Sara Kate flew the nest and moved to San Francisco so myself and Eadaoin promised her that no matter what we would visit this summer. Truth be told I was so excited to just see Sara Kate and spend time with the girls that I didn’t actually put much thought into San Francisco as a city itself or have that many expectations for it. Little did I know that I’d fall completely in love with everything about the place. If you haven’t been there then put it on the bucketlist, there is genuinely something there for everyone.
For two weeks we managed to squeeze in an awful lot so I’ll be doing a good few different posts on all of the best places to eat, shop, visit and see! For now though, I’m going to give you a general overview on our first weekend and what my favourite tourist things were to do!
We didn’t intentionally plan it but the two weekends we were there were for Pride Weekend and 4th Of July so we really struck gold on our dates. Pride Weekend was absolutely brilliant and such an amazing thing to experience. On the Saturday we went to a Bloc Party which was exactly what we needed seeing as the three gals hadn’t had a good boogie together in over 8 months.For events like this it was so handy being with people who lived there and were in the know because they knew exactly what was going on where and what was worth checking out but if you aren’t as lucky as us to have your own tour guide then check sites like Resident Advisor to find out what gigs and events are on while you’re there.. there will always be something going on!
For the Sunday of Pride we grabbed some beers and headed straight for the iconic Dolores Park in the Castro District. You’ll definitely recognise it from anyone who’s every been to San Francisco’s Instagram.. and rightly so. Its beautiful and it’s views of the city skyline are a must see. We sat there for hours perched with our drinks catching up and spotting all of the amazing Pride inspired “rig-outs”.
The following week then was when we attempted to do as many touristy bits as possible! And to be fair to us we ticked off an impressive amount for the time we were there. It makes so much of a difference when you go on holidays with someone who wants to do all of the same things as you! As I’ve already mentioned there are a million and one things to do in San Francisco so we didn’t quite get through them all but we’re already planning a visit back to tackle the rest. Here’s what we did get up to:
Top Tourist Things To Do In San Francisco!
- Bike The Golden Gate Bridge
This was probably the thing I was looking forward to least (due to my completely irrational fear of cycling) but ended up being one of my favourite memories from the trip. There are so many bike rental shops dotted over San Fran and near the bridge in particular with most costing around $8 an hour. If you decide to bike the bridge then make sure to check the weather the morning of in hopes of avoiding that San Francisco fog!
2. Visit The Palace Of Fine Arts
Located in the Marina District the monumental structure was originally constructed in order to present works of art there but I can’t imagine any piece of art being more beautiful than the Palace itself. It’s free in so grab a picnic and have your lunch there while taking in its beauty. It’s also home to some amazing wildlife so keep your eyes peeled. (The inner nerd in me is shining through right now, I know)
3.Walk Along Fisherman’s Wharf
We did this on our first day and it was such a nice way to break ourselves into the city. Walk along the different piers and take in all of the sights. Alcatraz can be seen in the distance and don’t forget to visit the sealions at Pier 39!
4.Tackle Lombard Street
San Francisco is a constant battle of hills and slopes so you always end up earning your lunch after a morning of wandering. Lombard Street is probably one of it’s most famous due to its iconic twists and bends.
5.Take In The Pretty Painted Ladies
Probably most recognised as San Fran’s most famous houses (alongside Mrs. Doubtfires), they’re known for their pretty pastel colours and their Victorian & Edwardian features. Although they are undeniably pretty I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed when seeing them in person. This is probably only because there is absolutely no shortage of amazing architecture and enviable houses dotted all over San Fran so when we finally went to The Painted Ladies I couldn’t help but think I had seen nicer. That being said, they are definitely worth a visit if you are nearby!
6.Hike Lands End
Lands End is a park located at the mouth of the Golden Gate bridge giving you the best views of the bridge itself (weather depending) but even on a foggy day its a gorgeous walk. There are numerous hike trails and different routes you can take, all the while taking in the rocky and windswept shoreline
If hiking isn’t your thing then at least go to Lands End for the house spotting. I say houses but they’re really outrageous mansions like nothing you’ve ever seen before. #HouseGoals anyone?
7.Watch The Sun Set Over The Pacific Ocean
I think the pictures speak for themselves but while you’re at it you might aswell dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean too and live out your very own Crossroads moment!
8.Raise A Glass In Dolores Park
I can think of worse places to have a drink!!
9.Get Lost In The Districts
The very best way to see any city (as corny as it may sound) is to just get lost in it. Put on a comfortable pair of shoes and just set off with no exact destination in sight. We did this a few days and it was on those days that we really got a feel for the place. From the Financial District to the Marina to Chinatown to the Mission and lest we forget North Beach, San Francisco is divided into lots of different districts, all as interesting and worthy of your time as the next!
10.Hunt For Vintage On Haight Street
For any fashion lover, Haight Street is the spot for you. I’m going to be doing a full post on all the best shopping areas but if you only ever visit one place to spend your dollars in San Fran – make it Haight!
And last but definitely not least, visit Alcatraz! You need to book this at least a month in advance meaning we actually didn’t make it there (whoops!) but its meant to be absolutely incredible! Guess it just means I need to go back 🙂
So there you have it, my top 10 things to do and see in San Francisco. Just writing about it and going through all of my photos makes me want to be back there immediately. I have so many more posts to come over the next week or two so keep your eyes peeled and as always keep up to date with me on snapchat @adashoflime !