As you know, a few days ago I returned from my first trip to San Francisco! I went with my bestie, who introduced me (erm, forced me) to a relaxed vacation approach that did not involve planning or having a strict agenda. I was nervous at first, not knowing what we’d be doing every minute of every day, but I can wholeheartedly say that I enjoyed it in the end. We may not have hit everything the Bay Area has to offer, but we did what we wanted and we had a ton of fun. Isn’t that what vacation is all about?
For those of you planning your own trip (whether real or imaginary) to the Bay Area, here is my recap of the top restaurants and attractions that JJ and I enjoyed when we visited.
- Tacolicious. This was my favorite meal of the trip, by far. I know, I know – it’s “just” tacos, right? Yes. But I’d fly back on that horrible redeye flight just to have these fish tacos again. Buttery, flaky, fried fish with creamy dressing and crispy cabbage…mmmmm. JJ loved her meat tacos, and the margarita was decent, too (not too sweet). Total “A+” in my book. Plus, outdoor seating!
- Cable Car Ride. This was one of my favorite activities! We caught the cable car in Fisherman’s Wharf and took it all the way back to our hotel. It was exhilarating going over the hills, although the wait to board was a little long. I recommend going earlier in the day or trying to pick up a ride at one of the stops vs. the origination points.
- The Ferry Market Building. For you DC folks, think of this as a combination of Union Market and Eastern Market (a.k.a. foodie heaven). The Ferry Market Building itself has adorable, if expensive, shops and gourmet food vendors. Then, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the building and surrounding pier also hosts a vibrant farmer’s market. We bought all the things (see picture of our sourdough bread, cheese, and dried fruit), then took our picnic to Golden Gate Park!
- Nob Hill. Cutest SF neighborhood ever. We stumbled upon it when wandering around on our first day, and I’m so glad we did. The area hosts the city’s “Little Italy” and adorable tiny streets. While you’re there, check out City Lights bookstore.
- Carmel-by-the-Sea. I highly recommend a trip down the 101 to Carmel. It’s a gorgeous little town with more art galleries than homes (at least, that’s what it felt like). Brad Pitt has a house there (sadly, we did not see him). If you’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean before, this is a good place to see it! Plus, there is easy access to the 17-mile drive from the town. OH! And I almost forgot – make sure you rent a convertible for the drive. That was a definite highlight for me (thanks to Zipcar for keeping things super simple and for working across cities!). When you put the top down, just put the heat on and bring a sweater or two, hah.
That’s my list! It is not comprehensive by any means – for example, I also enjoyed our wine tour to Napa and Sonoma, our visit to the Japanese Tea Garden, seeing and being seen at Fisherman’s Wharf, the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and SF skyline from the Berkeley Hills, and sipping iced coffee in Yerba Buena park.
What did I miss? I could be persuaded to go back… :).