Travel Diary: 1 Day in San Francisco

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A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit the west coast for a family wedding. You may remember reading about the gorgeous fall dress I wore to the event. To make the most of this trip, we decided to add on 1 day to visit San Francisco and 2 days to visit Portland. That’s not a lot of time in either city, but we’re always up for an adventure. Today I’m sharing all of the highlights from 24 hours in San Francisco. Portland travel diary to come!

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After checking in to our Airbnb, a classic San Francisco Victorian style house (serious Full House vibes) in the lower haight neighborhood, we decided to start walking around the city. I was feeling a little tired and hungry after the drive in, so we stopped for some caffeine and nourishment at Café du Soleil, a French café with beautiful pastries and giant cups. We shared a decadent almond crescent and each had a latte in cups the size of soup bowls. We actually felt a little silly holding the mugs they were so big, but we definitely felt refreshed afterward.

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From there we walked to Union Square, one of the best areas for shopping in the city. Although we didn’t have time to walk through during this trip, I remember from my last trip that the Nordstrom is several floors and very impressive. So if you’re ever in the city, I would recommend stopping by. After that, we took in the sights and sounds of Chinatown, one of the oldest and largest of its kind. There are many specialty shops and great restaurants, but we knew we had to keep moving if we were going to see everything on our list. Next stop: Fisherman’s Wharf. This felt a little more touristy since the last time I visited, with a number of chain restaurants, fair rides, and even a magic show. But nothing beats the view of the bay and sizing up the fresh seafood vendors lining the sidewalks. We shared a giant lobster roll from one of the vendors for lunch. I also always enjoy visiting the sea lions and watching as they vie for spots on the dock and bark back and forth. It’s pretty funny!

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By early afternoon, we decided that San Francisco is too large to traverse by foot. If we really wanted to see everything, we needed a little help. So we caught one of those double decker tour buses at the wharf and carried on. It was definitely the most effective way to learn about the city in such little time. San Francisco is divided into several really cute neighborhoods that we never would have had time to visit in one day. This way, we were able to hear about and see a little of each one. I think my favorite part of the tour was stopping at North Vista Point, a beautiful place to appreciate and take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll definitely get a good selfie there.

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After the tour, which lasted about two hours, we returned to our Airbnb for a shower and some relaxation time before heading out for dinner. Because San Francisco is home to a couple of our favorite breweries, we knew we wanted to hit up at least one before dinner. 21st Amendment Brewery was the closest to our restaurant of choice, so we stopped in for a quick drink. I tried the yummy Oktoberfest and enjoyed it in a half pint glass to save myself for dinner.

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We chose Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant in the Financial District to finish the day. It’s the fifth oldest restaurant in the U.S., opened in 1867, right after the gold rush. It definitely feels very old school with nicely dressed waiters, white table cloths, and beautiful wood details throughout. In a certain section of the restaurant, they still have private booths with curtains. We knew we had to sit in that section just to say we had. With all of these unique details, the dinner felt very special and is one I won’t forget. I ordered the Lazy Man’s Cioppino with a savory tomato broth and giant chunks of beautiful scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, crab meat, and calamari. Chris ordered the Lobster Thermidor with a decadent lobster cream sauce, mushrooms, sherry wine duchess potatoes, and tomato arugula salad. It was all so good!

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We had a wonderful day in San Francisco. If we had a chance to go back, I’d definitely spend more time finding out what the various neighborhoods have to offer. I also want to check out the Ferry Building, which is home to cute restaurants and shops. San Francisco is also famous for its beautiful green spaces and parks that are great if you have plenty of time to explore.

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