A couple weeks ago Courtney came for a visit. We needed to get our romantic getaway fix. I mean, it had been a whole two months since we’d seen each other in DC!
We decided to spend her first day in San Francisco. Not only does Courtney love wine, bourbon, and craft cocktails, she may be the biggest sports fan I know. Like any self-respecting sports fanatic, she has a goal of visiting all the Major League Baseball stadiums. We planned to end our day at the Giants/Dodgers game, and the rest of the day was packed full of quintessential San Francisco tourist attractions.
I thought I’d share what we did, because it would be so easy and fun to recreate if you end up in San Francisco for a short amount of time. We didn’t even have time to hit up our favorite spots – the Presidio, Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge. But, it was a great day and we covered a lot of ground, most of which was totally new to me.
First up, we headed to the Ferry Building for lunch and shopping. The Ferry Building is on the Bay side of town, close to the Bay Bridge. There are some great views of the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island from the pier.
The Ferry Building has so many good eating options! We were super hungry, and kind of overwhelmed by all the amazing food. We landed on Mexican, at Mijita. I got a fish taco, Courtney got a carne asada taco, and we split some guac and chips. Courtney also talked me into sangria – surprise, surprise. The food was amazing, but I probably won’t get the sangria again – a bit too sweet for my taste.
Once the food crisis was over, we were actually able to focus and peruse the many vendors in the building. Heath Ceramics has a shop. I wanted all the ceramics, but settled on a tomato red bud vase.
We were tempted by the multiple pastry shops, but decided to save ourselves for Tartine later in the day and settled for Blue Bottle Coffee instead. As always, their pour over coffee did not disappoint. There’s a little bit of everything here, from gourmet mushrooms, to books, to wine, to cheese, to meat, to tea…seriously everything. So plan on spending a couple hours here just to take it all in, and taste a few things. The highlight for me (after Heath Ceramics,) was an amazing little pork bun I bought from a cart. Perfect snack to give me fuel for the rest of the afternoon.
We didn’t have any plan when we started out, other than Ferry Building for lunch and the Giants game at the end of the day. So, as we walked out of the Ferry Building we could see Coit Tower from the sidewalk and decided to make our way up there to get in some city and bay vistas.
Instead of hiking up, we took our chances on finding a parking spot at the top. There were a ton of open spaces. I guess everyone thinks there won’t be any so they walk up instead? Who knows. I’m guessing weekends you wouldn’t be as lucky.
We weren’t disappointed by the views at the top of the hill. We didn’t pay to take the elevator to the top of the tower, but I’m sure it’s worth the $8 on a super clear day.
Next up, the crookedest street in the world (which I’ve since read isn’t true) – Lombard Street. We parked a couple blocks away and joined the mass exodus of tourists toward the famous landmark. I’m not kidding, there were SO many people. I don’t want to be anywhere near this place on a weekend!
We ended up being able to walk up and down the street in the line of tourists. The houses lining the street are amazing, and we got in a good workout going up the steep incline.
Being children of the 90s, we couldn’t resist a visit to The Painted Ladies, singing “whatever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paper boy, evening TV?” all the way. (You’re welcome. See how long that song stays stuck in your head!)
It was a quick stop, since the park across the street from the houses was under construction. Also, I thought the Painted Ladies were a whole neighborhood of brightly painted Victorian row houses, but the famous ones from Full House are just a line of six. Kind of underwhelming, but worth a quick visit. They really are beautiful, and we would have always wondered about them had we not made the trip.
If I’m honest, this was the stop I was most looking forward to. I’ve read about Tartine Bakery for a while. I’m also kind of obsessed with bread making at the moment. So, visiting this famous bakery felt like somewhat of a culinary pilgrimage to me. I’ve since read the bread chapters in Cooked and have become even more obsessed with Chad Robertson’s baking acumen.
Lucky for us, there wasn’t the ever-present line out the door when we arrived. The line did form during the time we were there, though (suckers!). I thought I had fully prepared myself for the baked goods I would experience, but the selection was beyond my wildest expectations even late afternoon (I read they often run out of the good stuff by then.)
The decor and artwork were also a welcome surprise.
We ended up choosing a slice of lemon meringue cake and a banana tart to share. I thought we’d have enough to take come to Seth, especially since we got a huge end piece of the lemon meringue cake, (score!) but somehow we were able to finish it all off…sorry babe!
AT&T Park – San Francisco Giants Game
Our final stop was the Giants/Dodgers game. Courtney scored some great seats using Stub Hub. Again, since we were attending a mid-week game, I think the crowds were smaller so we were able to get good seats, for cheap, fairly last minute. It was a great game (Giants won!), the stadium really is beautiful, and we even ended up on TV!
However, it was super cold and windy, so I couldn’t muster up the will to buy an ice cream sandwich from Cream, like I had planned. Next time!
I was anticipating that parking would be a challenge throughout the day since we were planning to visit multiple locations. I went back and forth between trying out public transportation and just parking somewhere for the day and then using Lyft to get from place to place. We ended up just winging it, which was the best decision. The parking at the Ferry Building can be validated if you purchase food from one of the vendors. We ended up paying only $8 for two hours. Not nothing, but not too bad either. Courtney used an app call Parking Panda to find us parking by the stadium – for $12!!! All the other stadium event parking we found was at least $40. We were lucky enough to find free street parking at all our other stops.
All in all we paid $20 in parking for a whole day in San Francisco. I’m pretty happy with that!
The next day we just hung around with the boys at my house. But Day Two ended with this: U2 Joshua Tree Tour. #mikedrop Oh! And the opening band was Mumford and Sons.
That might be hard to top…but on Day Three of Courtney’s visit, we hit up the coast. More on that in a later post…