A WEEK IN SAN FRANCISCO.
The last week we spent on our USA adventure was my favourite, without a doubt, because out of all of the places we visited I was most looking forward to seeing San Francisco and it definitely didn’t disappoint. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dreaming of visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and riding a cable car and I’m so glad that I finally had the chance to experience it all!
While in San Francisco we stayed at the Proper Hotel which I thought deserved it’s own post so I’ve written more about our stay and shared more photos of the beautiful place we called home for the week here.
I’m so glad that we booked a whole week in San Fransisco as it meant we could pack so much in without it feeling too rushed and it meant we could have some more down time and visit some different areas of the city as well as the tourist favourites. Which is great because I like to do a mix of both! We managed to fit a whole lot into our week, including a day trip to Yosemite, so there is quite a lot I want to include in this post! If there is anything I’ve brushed over and you want more info about then please just let me know.
Our first afternoon in the city we didn’t end up doing a whole lot, after travelling from LA and me shooting some content for the hotel, we were pretty tired, so we decided to take some time to chill and made full use of the Proper Hotel’s great room service before our first full day of exploring.
Our first day in San Fran we decided to head out to an area to was high on all of our ‘places to see’ list– Haight Ashbury. As we’re into all things vintage and thrifting we knew that we had to make sure to head to this area of the city early in the week! We started out from the hotel and through the beautiful Hayes Valley neighbourhood and came to the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square– which was really the first slice of iconic San Francisco we saw– we sat in the park for a while, took in the view and some pictures, before heading on towards Divisadero St and our first coffee stop at The Mill.
I heard and seen so many good things about The Mill and it lived up to the hype, the coffee was great, as was the cinnamon sugar toast. Divisadero St is also a great spot for individual and gift shops and I especially loved The Perish Trust & Rare Device. After a little coffee and shopping break we headed further on towards Haight Ashbury.
Haight Ashbury was just as I thought it would be– we wandered up and down Haight St and took in all of the colourful facades and quirky vintage shops, I really loved Held Over and the Buffalo Exchange next door, I could have bought so many pairs of vintage shoes in that place! After a lot of wandering we decided to head back towards the hotel and we stopped to grab some dinner at 4505 Burgers & BBQ.
We started our next day at the most beautiful breakfast spot– Le Marais Bakery– a traditional French style bakery– think pretty interiors & the most delicious pastries. We then headed up Polk St where we wandered in and out of some lovely shops– Picnic– a boutique with well curated jewellery and homewares pieces & the Russian Hill Bookstore which had a great mixture of new and second hand books as well as lots of stationary– it definitely kept me busy for a while. We also had a coffee stop at Saint Frank Coffee which has a couple of locations in San Francisco & this one on Polk Street was particularly beautiful!
On our way down to Fisherman’s Wharf we made a stop to see Lombard St and have little wander down the hill along with the many others that wanted to see the street that morning, it was a busy area but the views from all around the street are pretty great! After a quick stop for lunch at In-N-Out– it was our first time in California we figured it was a bit of a rite of passage– we took in some of the sights of the wharf before getting to Pier 33 to catch our boat over to Alcatraz.
We’d vaguely made plans to visit Alcatraz and I’d heard that it gets booked up in advance but we still left booking our tickets until almost the last minute. Thankfully we managed to book some but the next available day to visit was the next week so if it’s something you want to do then I’d definitely recommend planning ahead so you don’t miss out! I’m so glad we got the chance to see Alcatraz, it’s 100% worth a visit– the audio tour is amazing, I wouldn’t usually go for one but it’s so well produced and interactive– it added a whole new layer to the experience. After a great tour of Alcatraz we headed back to Pier 39 to grab something for dinner and watched the sea lions for a bit which rounded of a very ‘San Francisco’ kind of day perfectly!
During the planning stages of our trip there was a lot of back and forth about whether we make part of the trip a road trip and drive to a couple of the national parks, we also thought about staying in Yosemite for a couple of days & at the end of the day we decided that it’d probably be better for us to save doing a road trip for hopefully another time. But we still wanted to try and see Yosemite so after a lot of research we decided to book day trip to the park. Obviously if you have the chance to drive and stay in the park that is the preferable option as a day really isn’t enough! But we did get the chance to see quite a lot considering we were only there for a few hours– we stopped at Tunnel View which was just as stunning as I imagined, we saw Half Dome and El Capitain, we walked to Yosemite Falls and had lunch while paddling our feet in the water & we had the chance to have a little browse in the visitor centre too.
We used Greyline for this tour (I’ve linked the specific tour we went on) and the experience was pretty great, we had an excellent coach driver and tour guide who took us to a couple of extra viewing points and was really helpful in giving us advice for making the most of the time we had there. I’d love to go back and explore more one day and I’d especially love to visit in the autumn but for now I’m very grateful that I finally got to see another one of bucket list places!
After a day exploring Yosemite and about 7 hours on a bus we decided to have a slow morning & after breakfast in the Proper Hotels on-site cafe we had a little wander in the Mission District and particularly Valencia Street which ended up being one of my favourite areas of the city! We started with a browse in the Community Thrift Store– a huge thrift store with shelves and shelves of second hand books– where I could have come away with a pile if I didn’t have baggage restrictions to think of! I also loved Acacia– for homeware pieces, Afterlife– an especially beautiful vintage store and Dog Eared Books– for a great selection of new and used books. We had lunch at possibly my favourite food spot that we visited in San Francisco– Flour+Water Pizzeria– if you get the chance to visit San Fran, I’d definitely recommend heading to Valencia St. even if it’s just to get pizza here, it was that good!
Once we had finished up our pizza we decided to jump in an Uber and make our way over to Baker Beach where we had planned to spend the evening and watch the sun go down. We had wanted to find a good spot to enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and take lots of pictures and we decided to see what Baker Beach was like as we’d heard it was a reasonably quiet spot and a perfect place to get some good photos– and it didn’t disappoint! We were there on a Thursday evening and I wouldn’t say it was crowded at all– the view of the bridge was amazing and we made the most of watching the sunset while taking pictures, making friends with cute dogs and enjoyed some of our leftover pizza.
Towards the end of the week, after we’d ticked off a lot of the main things we had wanted to do in San Fran, we had a little more time to chill and really enjoy some slow days exploring more of the city before we had to head home. On Friday we went to the Outer Sunset District to take some pictures and because I heard lots of good things about a particular place for breakfast– Outerlands. We started our day there & it really was lovely, the cosy atmosphere was perfect! Just along from Outerlands there’s Black Bird Bookstore– another beautiful bookshop (San Francisco has SO many!) with a cosy reading nook and plant shop out the back & there’s General Store– probably my favourite shop in San Francisco, if I could create a store based on my exact aesthetic this would be it! There’s two locations in Outer Sunset, make sure to visit both if you can.
After taking some pictures against all of the colourful houses we left Sunset and made our way back into the city for more picture taking, we stopped at Swensen’s for an ice creams and stopped at City Lights Bookstore for a browse before heading back to the Proper for dinner and drinks at the rooftop bar, Chairmaines.
Our last day in San Francisco we started out at yet another five star breakfast spot– Vive la Tarte just south of Market Street– as well as great bookshops there was an abundance of great pastries in SF too. After a lovely slow breakfast we jumped on a cable car and headed back towards the wharf– we stopped at Ghirardelli and had lunch at Boudin Bakery, which was somewhere I’d been wanting to visit all week so I’m glad we made it back there.
Before we headed back to the hotel to start packing we had a wander back through Hayes Valley and had dinner at a Mano– a very popular place on Hayes St, we had to wait a little while but it was so worth it, the fresh pasta was delicious! The next morning there was just enough time after breakfast in bed and finishing up the packing to head out for a coffee at Sightglass Coffee while waiting until it was time to grab an Uber and make our way to the airport.
San Francisco completely stole my heart, I had the best week exploring the city & I’m already looking forward to planning another trip back!