My boyfriend is from San Francisco, and since we met he is always telling me how great San Francisco is: the weather is perfect, there are many things to do, and people are friendly and chilled. I always thought that the reason why he was saying all that was obviously just because he was born there, and you know what they say “there is no place like home”, but this changed when I visited San Francisco for the first time.
Walking around the city and all I could see was a place where everyone seems to be always happy, even the dogs. I was at the coffee shop, queuing to order my coffee and I was impressed how nobody complains about the size of the queue, or fight to grab the sugar. And why do people wait until the lights are red to cross the road when there are no cars coming? It’s just so different from London, and I thought, “It must be all the sunshine they have.”
I stayed there for a week and it was enough to fall in love with the city. I come from the country side of Brazil so I am used to being outdoors, and San Francisco just seemed like the perfect place for me.
Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 – Sea Lions
Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco and I had to wait a few minutes to find a spot to have a closer look and take pictures of the beautiful sea lions. We could hear them barking from very far, it seems like they spend all day there, eating and basking in the sun. I have been there twice, summer and winter and during the summer time there was a lot more sea lions than in winter.
There are a lot of restaurants and shops in that area so if you want to get a souvenir that’s the best place. There is a place there called Trish’s Mini Donuts, it’s a must try. We bought one of their buckets and we finished it so quickly, they are tiny and absolutely delicious.
From pier 39 we could the see the Alcatraz also known as “The Rock”, the tiny island has a lot of history. It used to be a world-famous federal penitentiary and when the prison was closed Alcatraz became the site of an American Indian protest movement. The island also has the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United Sates.
Built with eight switchbacks on a 40-degree slope, Lombard Street attracts a lot of tourists. As I went there during summer time there were a lot of flowers, it was very pretty. If you have a car you should definitely drive down, it’s a lot of fun. If you are walking, be prepared because there is a very steep hill on your way up.
San Francisco is full of hills, and although it’s a good work out it is not easy to walk up and down all day long. On top of that there is also the jet leg so the cable car is a life savior. I’ve seen it many times in movies, so I was quite excited when I saw it for the first time. The cable car system is considered San Francisco’s moving landmark. Not only that, it is the last manually operated cable car system in the whole world.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is obviously the most popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. When I saw it in pictures and in the movies I always thought it was just another pretty bridge, but in person it’s absolutely gorgeous. The best spot to take a picture is near the Warming Hut Park Store & Café. To cross the bridge we had to pay a fee, I don’t remember how much it cost, but it was worth it. I took amazing pictures from up there.
Point Bonita – Marin Headlands
Point Bonita is another popular attraction, located in the Marin Headlands and is not easy to get there. It took ages to find a parking so when we were there we created our own spot under a tree, luckily we didn’t get a ticket for that.
The view at Point Bonita is stunning; there are a lot of wildflowers, birds and also sea lions. I was wearing flip flops and a dress when I went there which I badly regretted. It’s not easy to walk around that area, it is steep and there is a lot of lose rocks. So trainers are required for this.
Without any doubt Twin Peaks is the place where you can have the best view of San Francisco, especially during the night, it’s so beautiful. It was very busy when we went there, a lot of people around and I think it is always like that. To get a good and quiet spot you have to go there very early, probably before dinner.
If you are there with your boyfriend/girlfriend this is a great place to have a romantic time, you can buy a bottle of wine and go drink it up there (which is illegal by the way).
This is something that probably no travel website would ever recommend because most people don’t know about it, unless you live there. This street is in Oakland which is probably 20 minutes’ drive from San Francisco. During the day it is just like any other street, but during the night it is quite nice. If you are not a good driver, don’t try it.
There are some lights on the side of the road and if you turn off all of your lights while driving, it feels like you’re driving onto a road to heaven. The street was very quiet and there were no cars at the time. It was beautiful, it was like we were driving and there was two lines of stars one in each side of the road.
- Historic Landmarks in San Francisco (san-francisco.hotelscheap.org)
- San Francisco: 10 Things to do (time.com)
- Lombard Street: One of San Francisco’s First Transformed Pieces of Real State (peoplelovesanfrancisco.wordpress.com)