More like if you’re going to San Francisco make sure to avoid the Tenderloin area. Now calling an area of the city Tenderloin makes it sound like it will be delicious and juicy- but fool us once- it is in fact the spot with the highest crime rate and homelessness issues in this golden city. That’s why it’s weird that they would put all the fancy hotels like the Four Seasons in this location.
We had the pleasure of witnessing four police incidents two of which resulted in arrests. Nothing says romance more than a homeless man screaming while being pinned down by a Wallgreens employee for shoplifting. Other highlights of our trip included being harassed by the homeless and biking over the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Fran is large and annoyingly spread out in terms of sites to see. Yes, you read that correctly, I am complaining that a city didn’t conveniently place their sites within walking distance. Take Lombard Street for example. You couldn’t have moved that say closer to Fisherman’s Wharf or the Golden Gate Bridge? RUDE.
The tops- yummy foods
We did eat some solid meals at The Grove and Farm: Table. San Fran is hipster like that where they include cool English punctuation like colons in their restaurant names. I had clam chowder soup in a bread bowl at Chowders in Fisherman’s Wharf which was also delish. We wanted to go to Bob’s Donuts since their one doughnut is the size of a normal person’s head but we didn’t make it there because everything is so dang far.
The flops- didn’t pre-book Alcatraz
After having two 8-hour days of walking and one 6-hour day of cycling we feel like we saw most things except for the most major thing which is Alcatraz since you apparently need to book months in advance to get tickets. Someone thought it is swimming distance so if you trust an off-hand comment by some rando on a bus, then by all means try to swim it and let me know how it goes.
The flops- no seals on Pier 39
Another fun fact that we discovered is that the seals who sit on Pier 39 actually leave during the summer months to find cooler waters. So there were very few there in July. The sign said they start to come back in mid-August. That sounds about right.
The tops- biking the Golden Gate Bridge route
Now on to the iconic, easy, breezy Golden Gate Bridge biking route. San Fran is as hilly as she is large. So when you rent a bike expect a very long day. Bring water and sunscreen. The rental company we booked with was clearly just a money grab, but I think they all are. They charged (in 2017) $32 for thicker tires and $38 for thinner tires, but both bikes had the same frame. We got the thinner ones since they said they were much lighter (despite my bitching not to go for the cheaper option).
We decided to bike the route in the opposite direction of the suggested way so we headed to the water/ Fisherman’s Wharf area first then the Golden Gate Bridge, down Lincoln Blvd, and through Golden Gate Park. This is not a casual, light bike ride. This is a difficult, hard one. The park and the Wharf are fine but the other bits are a big YIPES.
One UNREAL decision that we made was to stop at the Cliff House before our entry into the park. We had to wait 20 minutes for a table but golly gee there were some stunning views. It is expensive like the rest of San Fran ($19.95 for a chicken Cesar salad in 2017) but they gave you these famous popover fluffy bread roll things which were YUM (they sell the baking mix and we were mad we didn’t buy any). We went to the Bistro at the top, not the restaurant below.
Biking did the job, even if I nearly died of exhaustion. Our friends rented one of these yellow go karts type things instead of bikes which would have saved us time and energy but I think they were about 120 dollars for 3 hours.
The flops- missing out on a view because of the fog
There is a view of the city and water at Twin Peaks but make sure to go there early in the morning or check the weather report so you avoid the fog/ cloud weather system that takes over the entire view. If you are walking, it’s a doozy of a hill. Nothing would have made us happier if we had actually gotten to see a view after all our sweating.
The tops- the Painted Ladies
The Painted Ladies set of houses are sweet- adorable really, but there are loads of tourists so don’t expect clean shots with your camera if you go during normal hours.
There you have it
Some stellar things for sure in San Fran but I think everything was tainted a bit but how costly it was.