Just a few weeks ago, I took advantage of the long 4th of July weekend and decided to go check out San Francisco and Napa for the first time. I have been to Cali several times, but never to San Fran or Napa. As usual, I asked around for tips from friends for places to go and eat, but I also did a little bit of research on my own for some activities to do.
These were my adventures…..
We stayed at a cute boutique hotel call Hotel Spero near Union Square. It was located in a central area…However, in that area there were a couple of homeless people chillin…. But that’s part of the San Fran experience….right?
On our first day, we decided to take it easy and play it by ear. We just walk around town and discovered things on our own. It was also 4th of July, so we got to see the fireworks by the pier.
Our first stop was Chinatown
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always LOVE Chinese food and all things Asian. So walking around the oldest Chinatown in the US was very fun and exciting for me. We snapped some fun pics around the decorated streets, got to “fake” play instruments with some street musicians and enjoyed some AMAZING food at the first Dim Sum restaurant in the US, Hang Ah Tea Room. It opened in 1920!
Make sure to walk by the famous Gateway to Chinatown. It is inscribed with the saying “All under heaven is for the good of the people,” by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
Fun Fact: San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America.
Next stop was the Ferry Building
This 1898 San Fran landmark is a must! It’s free, has tons of little shops and awesome views. We took some fun, patriotic, sunset pics and then we headed over to pier 39 to watch the 4th of July for the fireworks.
Disclaimer: Make sure to bring a jacket, it can get down to 55F every night… Texans are not use to that 😉
On our second day we were on full tourist mode, so we went on a city tour with San Francisco Love Tours. What was fun about this tour, is that we went around town on this funky, graffiti art decorated 70s, VW van with a corky tour guide.
We stopped by all the main spots:
After the tour we walked around the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Had a famous Irish coffee from Buena Vista
And snapped some pics at Fisherman’s Wharf cable carts
Then I met up with my best friend from elementary school that I have not seen in a couple of years, at the hip rooftop bar/restaurant El Techo. It has cool views of the city!
We checked out the 16th Avenue Steeps
And the famous Full House, houses on Alamo Square
Oh… and don’t forget to snap a pic at Golden Bridge! Because, if you don’t have a pic by the bridge, did you really even go to SF? Haha 😉
This was probably one of our favorite places, the Museum of Ice Cream! I think the pics speak for themselves.
Definitely reserve ahead of time (about a month) because it books fast!
On our last full day we took a quick hour drive to Napa! We rented a car with Getaround a cheap and easy way to rent a car. Highly advise, they even have a Groupon! This drive is awesome, since you go over the Oakland Bay Bridge (the gray one).
In Napa, we met up with my best friend from Grad school and went to a few wineries including:
Came back to San Fran to catch our flight, but before leaving I had the opportunity to see some other friends that live in SF. They were super nice and took me to Half Moon Bay to the beach before heading to the airport.
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay in San Francisco…despite all the homeless peeps doing their thing haha. I can’t believe it took me this long to explore this beautiful city in California! Hope these tips come in handy if you are planning to go anytime soon. 😉