The Countdown to San Francisco

Surprise surprise! J’s family is super awesome and the past few years they’ve gone on a big trip for Thanksgiving instead of holing up at home with a Turkey. The first year they started the tradition, we went to Beaver Lake in Arkansas and still had a real Thanksgiving dinner, it just actually looked and smelled like fall outside. Last Year they went to Colorado, but since I was hoarding PTO I didn’t get to tag along. This year though, I’ve been planning (and nagging every time location came up) and this year we’re heading to San Francisco.

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Beaver Lake is so pretty.

I love where my parents are in Virginia, and Florida was also always great, but my favorite place in the U.S. is, by far, the West Coast. I spent 3.5 days in San Diego in December of last year, and fell forever in love. To say I’m excited is a huge understatement. I’ve been counting down the weeks since we settled on the location over the summer, but now it’s getting real.

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And we scored a pretty amazing view from the house we stayed in.

So blogger friends, I need your suggestions! We’ve definitely got a few places on our list like Muir Woods, and the aquarium at Pier 39. But I’d love to hear your suggestions as well for food and entertainment, and where a girl just has to go with her rented wide-angle lens. Give me your favorite spots and the things tourists often forget to do. We lucked out and nabbed a place that has a pretty neat view of the bay, but I’m all ears when it comes to the best places for photos of the bay and the city.

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Pretty sure I could watch the sun set here in San Diego every night.

J and I have also been put in charge of figuring out where to eat on Thanksgiving. So, uh, what’s even open?

I know at least of few of you fellow bloggers live in the bay area, and at least a few more have visited, so give me all your wisdom! We fly out in 2 weeks, and I’m officially counting the hours.

10 thoughts on “The Countdown to San Francisco

  1. I’m assuming you’ll just stay in the city with this trip, which is honestly fine but the Bay Area is so much better than just San Francisco, and I know you can’t do anything and everything but I’ll try and pack as many rec’s as possible. I’d skip the aquarium at the pier to be honest…. and the Pier… and most of that stuff is very tourist trap-ish. Though the Farmer’s Market at the Embarcadero is really great. The best Aquarium is a jog down to Monterey Bay, it really cannot be beat. Golden Gate Park is a jewel, go see the Bison, go to the Cal Academy of Sciences, there is a Japanese Tea Garden there that is wonderful as is just going through the park. The MOMA just reopened, the permanent collection is amazing! You definitely have to go to Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth. If you like abandoned places (I really do) go to the Sutro Baths and Land’s End. Sundae’s at Ghiradelli are fantastic, Nick’s Crispy Tacos is one of my favorite places to eat. You can see the Painted Ladies in Hayes Valley (the houses from the beginning of Full House). If you like whiskey, I recommend the Rickhouse. If you go to Muir Woods and Marin Headlands I do recommend wandering around Sausalito for a bit, great fresh seafood. Though Muir has nothing on Yosemite or Avenue of the Giants. Bring Layers! Lots of Layers!

  2. Oh if you guys decide to venture into Oakland or Berkeley I have a crazy amount of suggestions specifically around Food. (I can in SF too if I know where you are staying). If you want to talk to me more, my email is Lnwillia at gmail dot com

  3. Jenn

    Gahhhhh San Francisco is awesome, you’ll have a GREAT time!
    I visited San Francisco when I was a freshman in high school so it’s been a LONG while, but I instantly fell in love with the city over the 4 days we were there. From what I remember, Fisherman’s Wharf is really neat and fun, as is Ghiradelli Square (helllllo, Ghiradelli chocolate!) and I still fantasize about the amazing sourdough bread I had there. We also did the crookedest street (don’t exactly remember the name) and walked across the Golden Gate bridge, but I’m not sure if you can still do that. Whatever you do though, you’ll have a blast!

  4. Don’t skip the pier, but you don’t need to go to the aquarium imo. The wild seals that hang out on the pier are fascinating enough all by themselves. That pier is pretty touristy, but there are some cool things there including a Wyland wall which always makes me a happy camper. Walk around Chinatown, which is great for pictures and for foods. The Castro is worth a look, but it wasn’t really hopping during the day and you might not want to do the nightlife with all of his family. Golden Gate park is hands down a must see.

  5. I love SF. Go to the Musee Mechanique; it’s right near the Pier and it’s so cool. I second L’s suggest of the baths and Cal Academy. Cal Academy also has some aquarium type things so you can skip the pier aquarium. It’s touristy, but Alcatraz is one of my favorite places to take people visiting us and every guest we’ve had has loved it. You do need advanced reservations. For food, I love Cowgirl Creamery. The original is in Pt. Reyes, which is near Muir Woods. If you can’t get out there, go to the shop in the Ferry Building – which has lots of other food options – for lunch one day. If you go to Golden Gate Park, you might see my old horse. I donated him to the park police a few years ago. His name is Finnick and he’s a big bay Friesian cross.

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