San Francisco has always been one of my favorite cities. Its charm and culture, not to mention moderate weather and stunning scenery, continue to draw me back to this amazing place. In November I ditched Chicago’s approaching winter to visit once again, this time bringing my girlfriend for her first San Francisco vacation. She was not disappointed!
We spent three days in the city proper doing all of the traditional tourist sites. On the first morning, an early cable car ride took us over the hills of the Pacific Heights neighborhood to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we inspected a collection of old sailing ships that are now moored at the Hyde Street Pier as part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
Next we strolled over to catch a quick glimpse of the sea lions on Pier 39 before the crowds arrived to gawk at these loud, boisterous animals. An afternoon admiring the city views from the top of Coit Tower, followed by dinner in North Beach, San Francisco’s historic Italian neighborhood, finished off the day.
On the following morning we were sore from that classic tourist affliction: trying to do everything at once. We decided to take our time visiting a few neighborhoods we had read about in the guidebooks. We set off for Chinatown, the Marina, and the Mission, relaxing and using the excellent public transit system of buses and trains to move around.
Our final day in the city was reserved for a walk across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, followed by late lunch in Japantown at the foot of the Pacific Heights neighborhood.
After running around San Francisco for a few days, we decided to enjoy some of the famous sights in the area outside of the city. We took a day trip to Berkeley to visit California’s oldest public University nestled into the foothills about an hour northeast of San Francisco proper. On the final two days of our visit we toured Napa Valley wineries with local friends (Thanks Tom & Meredith!) and, on our last day, we were able to secure a sailboat cruise on San Francisco Bay –- the perfect closing to an unforgettable California vacation.
Here are a few of my photos:
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