May was a busy travel month for me. A few weeks ago I flew out to San Francisco on a Wednesday night (the best day to fly, I was through security at Dulles in less than 10 minutes) and came back on the Saturday night red eye. While I was tired when we landed early Sunday morning, I enjoyed having all day to snuggle up in bed and recoup.
It was a fantastic trip and I fell wholeheartedly in love with San Francisco. We fit a lot in during this trip – work, delicious restaurants, the flower market, dog-friendly bars, a food truck park, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, bike rides, boat rides, and of course, a cable car ride.
I arrived late Wednesday night and immediately passed out when I reached my Airbnb. I decided to be adventurous at my friend’s recommendation and try a shared loft in SoMa. As in the host couple slept in the loft upstairs while I slept in the common space downstairs and their dog meandered about. And the only shower was in the bathroom attached to their lofted bedroom so I had to sneak past on tip toes in the morning to hop in the shower (and when I shut the bathroom door and flicked on the lights I found their dog sleeping on the bathroom floor… she had to hang out with me while I showered because I wasn’t reopening the door with the lights on!).
Aside from the funny shower situation, which they were totally cool about/obviously used to, it was a really convenient and awesome rental. I definitely recommend it and its much cheaper than a decent hotel in the area.
The next morning I woke up super early (my internal clock was on east coast time) and I remotely worked on some projects and called into the office. I was visiting my friend Katie, and we met and walked to breakfast at Small Foods. Their veggie breakfast sandwich is the best! We also explored the San Francisco Flower Market and enjoyed lunch at the adorable Marlowe’s – order the tomato soup and a big green salad.
Friday morning – after I woke up and worked early again – we met and drove to the Mission District to visit Tartine Bakery. We ordered so many different things to try, and I’m still not sure we ordered enough. The veggie croque monsieur and the morning bun were so good. Afterwards, as if we hadn’t had enough, we walked by Bi-Rite and stopped at the creamery to try ice cream flavors.
In the evening we went to the Fort Mason center for Off the Grid. Basically a food truck park, a bunch of trucks and tented vendors line up around the edge and you can wander around trying a bit of everything.
My favorite by far was the grilled PB&J guy. His grilled pepper jelly and nutella sandwich was unreal, and everyone else loved the bacon and nutella version. Afterwards we headed to a dog-friendly bar for a few more drinks. Apparently a lot of owners in SF get their dogs trained as service dogs so they are allowed to go in any business, but regardless, the attitude towards dogs and the number of dog-friendly businesses around town was one of my favorite aspects of this city.
Saturday was a wonderful day. We all slept in and then met up mid-morning to bike the Golden Gate Bridge – a bucket list item for me. While everyone else got the memo and wore workout clothes, I showed up in my full-on SF-style layers: jeans, tshirt, sweater, jacket, scarf. It wasn’t bad but I definitely wished I’d opted for yoga pants as I panted and pushed my bike up a hill too steep to peddle. But for all the work on the way to the bridge, the views are definitely worth it. The bridge feels enormous up close and is surrounded by sweeping landscapes in every direction.
Across the bridge, the ride to Sausalito is all downhill. I’m talking steeply downhill, like don’t fly over your handlebars downhill. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and nervously giggled, as I rode my brakes the whole way down.
When we rode into town, I fell in love. The waterfront town is dotted with colorful homes built into the hills and there are lots of good restaurants and shops to explore. It reminded me of an Italian seaside town. We sat down on the water at Bar Bocce for some delicious pizza. All around, little sailboats floated in the bay. Since we aren’t pro bikers (it would take some serious calves to get the bikes back uphill to the bridge), we opted to take the ferry back to SF and returned our bikes at the Ferry Building.
With a few more hours before I had to pack up for my red eye, we decided to take an iconic cable car ride.
I felt a little touristy getting in line for the half hour wait, but the ride was so fun it was worth it. I later learned there’s another line, the California Street line, that picks up near the Ferry Building and ends near Lafayette Park. It’s less known, so it’s also less crowded, and perfect if you want to pick up a snack at the Ferry Building then ride the cable car to Lafayette Park for a picnic.
Overall it was a great weekend trip. I really enjoyed exploring San Francisco, taking in all the beauty that surrounds this city and making new friends.