Only in San Francisco would you see a group of nudists riding bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge. What an eye opener huh?
We had a list of fun cheap stuff to do in San Francisco that was about as long as Andrew’s arm, so we dived right in. Here are some of our highlights that you may just love too:
You know how important the food is to me by now, right?! We couldn’t go to San Fran and not at least try Seafood chowder in a sourdough loaf! So we did! There are about 100 different places all selling this carb heavy but super yum dish, but we went straight to the supposed source: Boudin Bakery on the Wharf.
There is also this delightful group called Buy-Rite who make the most ridiculously yummy ice cream. We went on a big mission to find ourselves a scoop and we were not disappointed! Of course, we did this on two separate days, becuase you know, food babies and photographs don’t go well together.
The Golden Gate Bridge
So, you know that saying about how when something is easily remembered, its “like riding a bike”? Turns out I can’t remember how to ride a bike. So I missed going for a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge and seeing the nudists. Bummer. (I crack myself up!).
Here are a few words from Andrew about his adventure:
San Francisco is a harbour town, so much like Wellington, it can look warm outside and then the wind hits you. The wind up on the Golden Gate Bridge was something else!
There’s a couple of small inclines but the friendly commuter bike I’d hired was set up with a nice crawler gear which made easy work of them. Although not as easy as the guys who passed me having sprung the extra $$$ for electric bikes.
The bridge is broken into two lanes, one side of the road for walkers, the other broken in half for cyclists going both ways.
Once on the bridge, the blasting winds were a fair price to pay for the vista. Great views of the harbour, including humpback whales breaching were could all be taken in when you could find an empty space to stop.
On the other side, I cruised into Sausalito, a quaint little suburban area scatted with luxury cars, luxury yahcts and fancy cafes. Being on a budget, I settled for a take out coffee in the sun, and took to the nearby Marina to drink it all in.
The bike hire company provide a ferry ticket to bring you back to the other side of the ‘Golden Gate’. If you don’t use it, they don’t charge you. If we were doing this trip on a normal holiday budget I’d have absolutely taken the ferry back, because the path back up from the Sausalito side was considerably longer and steeper! However, I knew the $12 saved could be better spent on something else. (Edit: Like an ice-cream the size of his face or a hipster coffee).
I rode back over and managed to get lost on the way, and cycle past a group of nudists. San Francisco certainly offers a bit of everything.
The cruise to Alcatraz
So, while he was doing all that, and I was pondering the difficulty of leg-powered forward motion I went and drowned my angst by going on a cruise around Alcatraz, and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Despite it being freaking chilly out on the water I got to watch whales breaching the waves which was spectacular. The boat took us under the bridge and across to Alcatraz for a look around the infamous (and kinda creepy) island.
Of course, while I waited for my cruise I went on a mission to find the famous Pier 39 Sea Lions. They were sun bathing and lolling about – basically my dream life.
The adventures of getting around
We are big advocates of Uber (from an affordability and useability standpoint, not so much a moral one…) and we had our first experience of UberPool in San Francisco. For those who haven’t had the pleasure yet, basically you say where you want to go, and you agree to share your ride with at least 1 other person. You might all be going to the same place (we were) or you might be heading to different places close together, but it means you never know who you’ll get to meet. For us, it was the most entrepreneurial dude I have ever spoken to. On top of driving for Uber and Lyft, he was also dropshipping on Amazon, selling on eBay and doing some movie directing on the side….. All in a day!
When we weren’t ‘ubering’ we grabbed tickets for the San Francisco trams. Trams are sometimes called trolley buses or streetcars (like the one named Desire). If you’re keen to learn more about them there is a fun website you can check out. We just enjoyed the ride and the beautifully restored cars from around the states. They each look different and have their own story to tell, which helps while away the minutes sitting in traffic.
While we didn’t get a chance to go on one of the three cable cars, we did watch them tackle the hilly streets. While not as efficient as the one in Wellington, they’re pretty funky wee things and worth a trip, if you don’t mind waiting in line.
The inevitable sports game
When we go to the USA we always go to a sports match and our visit to San Francisco was no different. Well, that’s a lie, it was different. The Giants stadium is b-e-a-utiful and the view is to die for, especially when the sun sets. This was our first time trying ‘standing’ tickets, which are cheap and give you access to the game, but only in designated ‘standing boxes’. We found our own box and had a fun time singing ‘take me out to the ball game’, drinking beer and eating pretzels. Go sports!
The many other fun spots to check out
San Francisco offers a bunch of great places to see and fun things to do. We crammed the following all into a day, because we’re suckers for punishment.
Coit tower – come for the views, because hey, we’re a top a hill, but stay for the murals. The paintings inside the tower were completed in 1933 and are both clever, and beautiful.
Telegraph hill’s 400 steps – highly recommend taking these down, not going up, unless you’re one of my CrossFit buddies. On the way, you might see a parrot (we didn’t), and you’ll spot some beautiful homes and gardens.
Chinatown – the oldest Chinatown in all of the USA, here you’ll find lots of bakeries, dragons, and alleyways to explore.
Painted ladies – think back to the intro of ‘Full House’ and you’ll probably be thinking of a row of Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors. Those are painted ladies, and while you’ll find them all over the place, the ones that all the tourists (and us, of course) visit are aptly named “postcard row” at Hayes and Steiner Streets.
Castro district – go for the food, and the gay pride. Stay for the parks, murals and buy-rite stores with their yum ice cream and interesting food selections. We truely loved wandering the streets here and drinking the hipster coffee!
826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store – this one is special. 826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. They also happen to be the coolest pirate store you’ll ever find. The founders wanted to set up their shop but could only get a retail license. With a retail license, you’ve gotta sell something. So the Pirate Supply shop was born. We loved our visit.
Thoughts and feelings?
San Francisco certainly left her mark on us. Maybe someday, when we’re back to being hip cool digital types, we’ll be back for more. In the meantime, onward and upward!