I don’t know of any other city where you can walk through so many culturally diverse neighbourhoods, and you’re never out of sight of the wild hills. Nature is very close here. — Gary Snyder


We flew out of O’Hare on Friday, May 1st and landed at SFO around 10:30pm pst. We got in our rental car and headed straight to In-N-Out. With a milkshake, burger, and fries in our stomachs, we checked in to our hotel and, at long last, ended up getting to bed around 4am Chicago-time.

Saturday

Brunch at Brenda’s

We met up with friends at Brenda’s French Soul Food for breakfast. The beignets were awesome (I’ve never had beignets before), and their chicory coffee is worth it. I had fried chicken Eggs Benedict with grits and it was awesome because fried chicken.

Tourists

I hadn’t been to San Francisco since I was teenager, so I was looking forward to being a tourist. We walked around Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, and saw (read: smelled) sea lions at Pier 39.

Sea Lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco
Sunbathing Sea Lions

For lunch we had sandwiches at Giordano Bros.

Giordano Bros. Sandwiches, San Francisco
The fries are inside the sandwich

That night we went to Baker Beach, just southwest of the Golden Gate bridge. We walked around and enjoyed the cool, salty breeze off the Pacific.

Baker Beach, San Francisco
Pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves

Sunday

Bob’s Donuts

A lot of people believe Bob’s Donuts to be the best in San Francisco—so as big-time donut lovers, of course we had to eat a half dozen. They were, in fact, amazing; my only regret is only getting one yeast/raised donut, as it far-exceeded the tastiness of the cake donuts, IMHO. And if you’re into $4 pour-overs, Bob’s is a couple doors down from Moka Coffee; we ate our donuts outside of the coffee shop and I got a French roast to enjoy with our breakfast.

Bob's Donuts in San Francisco, California
My kind of window shopping

Biking to Sausalito

Stomachs full of donut, we rented bikes and pedaled toward Sausalito. San Fran is serious about it’s bike-friendliness (a nice change of pace from Chicago). My favorite part was riding through Presidio. It amazes me that such a large park exists within the city.

Biking over the Golden Gate was so windy it made me wonder how it was ever constructed in those conditions.

Golden Gate Bridge
After we crossed Golden Gate Bridge

Once over the bridge, we climbed and descended the many hills en route to Sausalito for lunch. We went to Fish., a popular seafood spot, and it lived up to its reputation.

One thing that I really appreciated about Bay Area restaurants is that the prices on the menu includes tax.

Sausalito, California
Homes on a hillside in Sausalito

We ended up biking about 25 miles, which was pretty exhausting on rental bikes.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

At this point we needed some sugar (a situation we find ourselves in often). We headed to Bi-Rite Ice Cream, but the line stretched about one block long, so being the instant-gratification folk that we are, we headed to the next closest ice cream shop, CREAM. They’re all about ice cream sandwiches, and so was I.

Ice cream sandwich from CREAM in the Mission, San Francisco
In case you’ve never seen an ice cream sandwich

Alamo Square

We returned our bikes and walked to Alamo Square.

Alamo Square is most known for the row of houses on its East side known as the Painted Ladies, which were featured in the opening credits of Full House.

The Painted Ladies from Alamom Square in San Francisco
Everywhere you look, there’s a heart, a hand to hold on to

Monday

Twisted Donuts

We headed out on Monday morning for more donuts. This time we went to Twisted Donuts; if you’re looking for donuts, go to Bob’s.

Silicon Valley

We spent most of the day in Silicon Valley. If you’re not familiar, Silicon Valley is home to some of the world’s biggest software and internet companies. It is also home to Stanford, which has played a key role in the rise of Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley was further than I expected, over an hour from Downtown with no traffic.

We drove through Apple, Google, and Stanford. There wasn’t much to see at Apple. Google’s headquarters (AKA Googleplex) was more exciting so we walked around a bit. Stanford’s campus was beautiful.

Back To Chicago

We took a redeye flight from 10pm PST to 4:30am CST. By the time the cab dropped us off at home it was about 6am. Probably not the best decision of our lives, but it only took a day or two to recover.


P.S. All photos were taken on my iPhone 6