We headed up to San Francisco for 4 nights over new year. It’s about a 6 hour drive from us, so definitely doable in a day. We have been before, about 5 years ago, so we have already ticked a lot of the touristy stuff of the list like Alcatraz and cycling over the Golden Gate bridge, so we were a little worried we wouldn’t have much to do, but it was the complete opposite! I actually think I enjoyed San Fran more the 2nd time around.
We spent our first day riding the vintage cable cars and streetcars followed by a few hours at Fishermans Wharf, where we found a place full of antique arcade machines. So much fun!
Our 2nd day in San Fran we explored the Mission district. It’s famous for the vibrant murals adorning walls and fences all around the neighbourhood, depicting social, cultural and political statements.
We spent the afternoon at Urban Putt, one of the best mini golf places ever. Every hole features something unique about the bay area (houses in an earthquake, the painted ladies etc), combined with a glow in the dark submarine and a labyrinth game!
For New Years Eve we had early drinks at a Speakeasy bar in the Tenderloin district (they had Yorkshire Gold Tea infused gin…. WINNER!!) followed by dinner then drinks down near the bay bridge, ready to watch the fireworks at midnight.
The next morning we popped into Mr Holmes Bakehouse. Unfortunately they were all out of the famous cruffins, but the donuts and cookies were the perfect treat.
The plan was to get a boat trip around the bay so we headed back down to the wharf area. Among all the packed tourist boats, we found a guy with his old wooden fishing boat, who only took 6 people out at a time. This seemed like a much better plan than waiting for one of the others and was one of the best decisions we made on the whole trip. It was incredible. We sat outside wrapped up in a blanket and went out for an hour and a half, around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. The was also the perfect opportunity to test out my new camera lens, so get ready for a lot of pictures.
The waves were pretty crazy (terrifying) when we went under the bridge, but then we saw dolphins playing in the wild and forgot about it pretty quickly. I’ve never seen dolphins before and it was totally unexpected. The boat trip wasn’t sold as ‘you might see dolphins’ but there were loads of them. It was an incredible sight, made even more special by the fact it was only us sat at the back of the boat, so our view wasn’t hampered by lots of other people. We tried to take a couple of pictures, but were more interested in watching them, so these aren’t so good!
As we went back under the bridge, there were a lot of people out windsurfing and kite surfing, they made great subjects to practice taking photos of! I’d love to find these guys to show them the pictures, but have absolutely no idea how that would ever happen.
We spent our last evening down at Pier 39, testing out our Forrest Gump knowledge at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
We ended our amazing trip with a drive down Lombard Street, before making the 6 hour journey back down to LA to pick up the pooch!