The California Travel Diaries |San Francisco, Day 3

Hey guys! I hope you are all well and have a nice drink to hand to catch up with me on the last day of my visit to San Fran. I visited California over 5 weeks in the summer with my boyfriend beginning in mid June 2018 and we spent three days in San Francisco. If you missed what I got up to you can read all about how we planned our first stop in California, Day 1 and Day 2 here. There is a lot to see in the city and I didn’t get to do everything I hoped to but it definitely met and exceeded my standards of what I hoped it to be! Read on for my day 3 travel diary in San Francisco…

Day 3

On our 3rd and final day we caught an Uber to the Ferry building. We had a brilliant Uber driver who had previously lived there for 20 years, moved back to where he was brought up and had just moved back to the city he fell in love with. I really recommend speaking to locals or people who live in the city. You get to see so much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise! At the Ferry Building there is a wonderful food market along with, as the name suggests, many ferries travelling around California! As this was our last day in SF we had to be selective on where we wanted to go. Although we didn’t catch any ferries (the Grey’s Anatomy fan in me wanted to for Derek Shepherd’s sake!) we got another uber more central into the city where we headed to Union Square. This area really reminded me of London and once again showed just how diverse the city is. If you fancy some shopping you have your upmarket stores, complete with a Bloomingdales and Macy’s as well as your standard high street shops. It would be very easy to spend a few hours in this area alone and if I was in San Francisco for longer I would have definitely spent more time there.

We arrived around brunch time where there was also a Football World Cup game we wanted to watch, so we decided to try the Daily Grill. It is quite a nice bar that has a little bit of fancy to it; a great spot for a bit of brunch! I had a delicious chicken wrap filled with vegetables, quinoa with some aioli, teamed with a pink lemonade to wash it all down. Everything tasted so fresh and delicious, it was just what I needed after working up an appetite that morning! If you’re wondering if the hype is true that San Francisco has good food I can honestly tell you that I wasn’t disappointed by any of our meals here.

After the game finished, we caught the Muni bus to travel to the famous Painted Ladies on Steiner Street! Not only is this street home to these colourful Victorian houses, but Full House and Mrs Doubtfire were all based on this street. This is a sure treat for any movie buff.

The Painted Ladies

It was soon time for us to go pick up our rental car so we headed to Alamo Square Café to enjoy a chai latte whilst we ordered another uber to the rental company site. Once we picked up our car we drove to another one of our “must sees”… Twin Peakes! Here you have a stunning view of the city but as the name suggests, it is windy so bring layers or a hoodie!

Me at Twin Peakes

Our next stop was to do a tour of Wine Country meaning that we would be finally driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. P.S. There is a toll you have to pay to drive across the bridge so be aware of that as there are no longer physical toll booths. Earlier that day, one of our Uber driver’s recommended us to go to Muir Woods to see the redwood trees as this would be on our way to Napa Valley. Unfortunately as we drove up the long, winding, narrow and steep roads we found that you must book parking in advance! There was a warning sign about half way up stating this, but we drove to the top as there was no other way to go and we kinda hoped that we could wing our way in. Wing we could not! You also lose GPS signal up there but it’s somewhere I will definitely make a day trip out of on my (one day) future visit to San Francisco.

Final Thoughts

I loved that San Francisco has equal beach and city life combined with a bit of hiking for good measure. I think when you visit any new place you have expectations which you hope can always be met. Luckily our visit here wasn’t overwhelming and even more importantly it wasn’t underwhelming either. I feel I only scratched the surface with San Francisco and would definitely return to explore the city one day and also head over to Alcatraz! The cool temperature makes it perfect to explore, especially if like us you decide to do a lot of walking and tackle the hills of SF (we averaged around 16,000 steps a day with walking 30,000 on day 2!) If someone wants to offer me and my boyfriend an apartment in San Francisco I will pack my bags in a heartbeat. Plus I still need to ride one of their famous cable cars!

Summary of the places visited and mentioned:

  • Golden Gate Park
  • Lands End
  • Eagle Trail
  • Camera Obsucra
  • Seals Rock
  • Ocean Beach Fire Pits
  • Outer Richmond Area
  • Tommy’s Mexican
  • Simple Pleasures Café
  • Sea Cliff
  • Baker Beach
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Presidio
  • Crissy Fields
  • Walt Disney Family Museum
  • Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
  • Ghiradelli Square
  • SF Brewing Company
  • Fisherman’s Wharf Pier 39
  • The Pub
  • Museé Mechanique
  • In-N-Out
  • Ferry Building
  • Union Square
  • The Daily Grill
  • The Painted Ladies
  • Alamo Square Café
  • Twin Peakes
  • Muir Woods

I hope you enjoyed my posts on San Francisco and that it’s now on your bucket list! If you have visited SF let me know in the comments below any places that you checked out!

If you enjoyed this post you should read:

The California Travel Diaries: Welcome to San Francisco

The California Travel Diaries: San Francisco, Day 1

The California Travel Diares: San Francisco, Day 2

What’s in My Travel Bag

The California Travel Diares |San Francisco, Day 2

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Natalia Talks About where I am focusing on the first stop on my Californian road trip… San Francisco! You can read all about the basics like where I stayed, what we did for transport and what I got up to on Day 1 in SF here. For those of you who are keeping up with my travel series, continue reading for the next instalment of my SF visit.

Day 2

I always thought that Wisteria Lane was my ultimate dream neighbourhood to live in (you know minus the drama, the plane crashes, the affairs and scandals that Desperate Housewives had to offer) until I discovered Sea Cliff. This is a quiet and wonderful neighbourhood located by Baker Beach and is known for it’s houses being pretty damn big. It felt like we walking through a storybook and even better than Wisteria Lane, you can actually live there.

Just a typical house in the Sea Cliff neighbourhood

Baker Beach is the backdrop to a neighbour’s backyard

On Baker Beach you are greeted by the hazy view of the Golden Gate Bridge accompanied by the idyllic scene of many a family throwing a frisbee with their pet dogs on the beach, lovers tenderly enjoying each other’s company and recently graduated students hanging out with their buddies on just another day of the week. Being swept up in the romanticism of the moment we took off our shoes and decided to walk barefoot in the sand, walking hand in hand towards the Golden Gate Bridge. The handholding lasted all of about 30 seconds when we realised just how far the bridge was (darn perspective) and that walking barefoot isn’t as easy as it may seem in the movies… Finally after a few slips and trips, we arrived at the long awaited landmark.

The early morning grey clouds passed giving way to bright blue skies and a cool breeze, typical of a regular San Francisco day swept through the sky. If only the promise of a clear sky was the case in England all year round! This made for perfect conditions to capture photos of my boyfriend and I crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately this meant windswept hair resulting in a messy bun that couldn’t quite pass for the easy and classy undone style of Meghan Markle (my go to hairstyle whilst in SF!)… Oh well, it is a small price to pay on the bridge! Oh and on that note it’s free to walk or cycle over!

After crossing the bridge we walked back along to the Presidio, passing Crissy Fields and absorbed this picture perfect part of the city. We also passed the Walt Disney family museum which looked like a lot of fun if you have a few hours to spare in the area or are travelling with kids. We decided to check out the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre; another noticeable landmark that crops up in the city. Here there is a strong European influence within the architecture which you can see in the very first photo of this post! As you walk through the gardens and admire the lagoon and the structural beauty of the theatre, you wouldn’t be a fool to think that you are in Italy. SF really is so diverse! The theatre is also located by the Marina Yacht Harbor and is surrounded by even more stunning properties. The houses in San Francisco really are a dream. You could honestly spend an afternoon just leisurely strolling around here and I’m sure that there are plenty of hidden gems in this area that I’m keen to explore one day.

We knew that we couldn’t leave San Francisco until we visited Ghiradelli Square, named after the famous Italian chocolatier Dominico Ghiradelli, whose love for chocolate has now become famous across California. The square is full of little stores and bars like The San Francisico Brewing Company that has the ultimate American vibe and of course the square holds a Ghiradelli chocolate store and café! It was only right to sample (gorge) one of these world famous desserts- if not in America then when can you?

A creation of dreams- A chocolate brownie waffle with ice cream

Next on the list was visiting Fisherman’s Wharf Pier 39. Forget what people say about it being too touristy. This is the perfect amount of touristy as you can have such a fun day out along this pier and it’s perfect for any Brit who wants to experience an American seaside town feel! There are so many shops selling wonderful things from an array of hot sauces, Bubba Gump shrimp, all kinds of candy that I never even knew existed and various bars to utilise happy hour in (check out The Pub by Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman’s Grotto by Pier 39). There is even an old school arcade called Museé Mechanique where you can play your favourite games and take old school photos in a black and white photo booth; I would highly recommend the arcade to anyone visiting San Francisco.

For dinner we tried our very first In-N-Out burger using the secret menu. We ordered our burgers and fries in an animal style, and now I understand what all the hype is about! Why oh why this chain hasn’t come to the UK I do not know. By the evening the weather dropped significantly and although I had a light jacket I had to buy myself a hoodie to keep warm. If you are planning on staying out by the ocean remember to take extra layers or have a few dollars spare to buy a standard California sweater!

I hope you enjoyed reading about Day 2 in San Francisco and subscribe to stay tuned for the next travel diary!

Natalia x

If you liked this post you should check out:

Welcome to San Francisco

The California Travel Diaries: San Francisco, Day 1

The California Travel Diaries: San Francisco, Day 3

What’s in My Travel Bag

The California Travel Diaries | Welcome to San Francisco

Hello all! Is it really already August? I suppose it is! Despite good intentions I did not post any blogs at all in July… Although the Californian sun rays inspired me so much so that I could have burst out of my (imaginary) seams. Nonetheless being constantly on the go meant that time and tiredness was not on my side. This resulted in many of my blog ideas remaining as “drafts”. To get back on track to where I left off, let’s have a quick catch up on what’s been happening in the world…

WELL, for all of the British out there we were on the edge of our seats watching Wimbledon and do I even have to mention the Football World Cup… We so nearly brought IT home. Love Island took over our TV screens throughout those early Summer evenings and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again arrived to our cinemas at a convenient time to bridge that heart shaped hole in our lives. Quite rightly, this is now the soundtrack to Summer 2018. In the midst of all of this, there was also my trip to California and New York – hence the lack of blogging! Despite this momentary tumbleweed of silence on Nataliatalksabout, I am full of stories, tips, reviews and a nice golden tan to share with you (had to be said- we all know it’s going to be wearing off soon enough). Therefore I have decided to begin a new series on my blog called “The California Travel Diaries” where I can finally dedicate the time to talk about my trip.

As I began writing this first post to my California Travel Diaries series I realised just how much there was to tell you. And if you have been to America you know just how much there is to talk about. If you are planning any trips to California, hopefully this series will help you out with an itinerary or at the very least convince you why you should visit the state one day. Getting a taste for travel was very important to me this Summer and whether you love to travel or dream about travellin, this series will definitely be for you.

“I left my heart in San Francisco” Tony Bennett

Everyone knows how much planning there is to any trip let alone for a six week trip! For this post I will be focusing on how I planned the start of our travels which set the tone for the rest of the road trip.

The Basics

I was traveling with my boyfriend and we decided to try and beat jet lag as well as save some pennies by flying from London Gatwick to New York JFK Airport first. We stayed in NY for a couple of nights first before heading back to JFK to fly to San Francisco. Although it was a bit annoying taking so many airport trips close together, this in fact helped me beat jet lag!

Officially beginning our Summer adventure in Northern California in Fog City, the City by the Bay, SF, Frisco or plainly The City (if you’re from the area), we spent 3 days in San Francisco. For the budget traveller like myself, I would definitely say that this is a good amount of time to explore SF and get a feel for the city whilst leaving you with wanting more!

San Francisco has the reputation of being a beautiful, windy and tech central city thanks to the numerous companies based in Silicon Valley – hiya Facebook. The latter particularly being clear even upon arrival to the airport. Okay you may think an airport isn’t worth a mention, but once you are travelling you really appreciate a good airport! It was so modern, easy to navigate and their restrooms looked like a 5* hotel. If you have a long haul flight over to the States you will be thanking me later that you had the chance to freshen up there.

In my post Life Update: I’m Going Travelling! I told you that I was going on a Californian road trip, which means lots and lots of driving. Although this was so much fun, finding an affordable car rental company was an effort. We knew that SF has a good public transport system (unlike the rest of Cali), so planned not to pick up our rental car until our next stop. As it was going to be essential to drive for the next 5 weeks throughout the rest of California we were happy to delay the driving for a while. This wasn’t a problem as there is plenty of free wifi available in most cafés and restaurants, so you can order an Uber here and there when necessary.

Unfortunately you may have heard (quite rightly) that San Francisco is quite an expensive place to travel around and I would imagine, to live in. Nonetheless do not let this put you off on having San Francisico on your bucket list! It’s such a beautiful city with a refreshing energy. Let’s just say that I now know why Tony Bennett sang “I left my heart in San Francisco”. You can also listen to ‘San Francisco’ by Courier for a more ‘modern’ rendition.

As always, choosing accommodation can be relatively daunting especially when visiting a completely new city, state or let alone a new country. I stayed in the Outer Richmond district in SF; a really nice, colourful, safe and quiet part of town to explore by foot or by car. It is approx. a 30 min Uber ride away from the airport (I guess an “Uber” distance has become a new metric for millenials). When we met locals some asked why we decided to stay in this area. If I’m honest it was the cheapest and nicest Airbnb that we could find on our budget, but by no means were we disappointed. My boyfriend and I paid about £85 per night for two people with the extra fees e.g. cleaning and booking included. Between us this was the same price as a hostel in the centre of SF, but it meant that we could have our own private bedroom, more space and our own bathroom. Plus we didn’t mind travelling into the centre as we saw it as an opportunity to absorb even more of the city!

I think that covers the basics for San Francisco which leads me perfectly to our day by day itinerary. Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the California Travel Diaries or you can subscribe to my blog to receive emails for (once again!) regular blog updates.

Thanks for reading!

Natalia x

If you liked this post you should check out:

Life Update: I’m Going Travelling!

What’s in My Travel Bag

The California Travel Diaries|San Francisco, Day 1

The California Travel Diares |San Francisco, Day 2

The California Travel Diaries |San Francisco, Day 3