Goodbye Smog, Hello Fog: San Francisco

And then it was June. Pretty sure I have the exact same thought every time the first of the month rolls around. “Where did __ go?” But here we are closing in on the halfway mark of 2015. May was a good one. For one, there was an extra pay day. And of course, Zack and I got to explore San Francisco, which was a city to visit on my bucket list. Check.
Saturday’s 5AM wake up call was absolutely worth it for the incredible drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. 10 hours well spent (& highly recommended if you ever have the chance). I would do it again in a heartbeat as a trip of it’s own; there are so many places to see and hike along the way, BUT we had a schedule, so we tried to stick to it. We did make one unexpected stop at an Elephant Seal View Point, and it was awesome. Literally hundreds of elephant seals sprawled across the beach. We continued north and made our planned stop at McWay Falls in Big Sur. It’s a pretty well known attraction along the PCH, and well worth the stop for a chance to stretch your legs and take in a seriously amazing view. The rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent driving through the curvy roads, up and down the cliffs of Highway 1, looking out into the Pacific. Breathtaking. By late afternoon we were rolling into San Francisco. We made our way across the Golden Gate Bridge and headed towards a shuttle that would take us to Muir Woods. (TIP: Take advantage of the park-and-ride shuttle to Muir Woods because it’s free and you skip the hassle of finding parking in the tiny lot at the Muir Woods Welcome Center.) We spent a little over an hour wandering through the trails and feeling like little ants as we walked among the redwoods before making our way back across the bridge and to our hotel. The sun was setting and the wind was picking up so we changed into some warmer clothes before heading out to find some dinner. Along the way we stopped at the Painted Ladies (perfect to see at sunset with the colorful sky complementing the colorful houses). We ate, we drank, and we slept. Day 1 did not disappoint.

Day 2. This was the day where we packed in every touristy thing possible. If you’re planning a day trip to the City by the Bay, here’s a breakdown of what to do and how to fit it all in:

· Alcatraz Tour (Early Bird — perfect start to the day + the island will be less crowded.) The ferry ride is fun, and the audio tour is excellent. We spent about 3 hours there total, including both ferry rides. TIP: bring a sweater because the Bay is windy…more on that later.

· We got back from Alcatraz around noon, so we headed over to Pier 39 for lunch on the bay, then spent some time wandering around the Pier, watching the sea lions, and exploring the Fisherman’s Wharf.

From there we just made a giant loop around the city to hit all the major attractions:
· Ghirardelli Square (free chocolate samples + an ice cream sundae)
· Walked up Lombard Street (TIP: walk rather than drive…traffic is a mess!)
· Hopped on the Cable Car (And rode on the outside. A must.)
· Wandered through Union Square and over to Chinatown.
· Ended up in North Beach and walked up to the Coit Tower.

Lots of walking (and the hills are no joke) but really the only way to go in my opinion.

Day 3. We woke up to grey skies and on & off showers, so we adjusted our itinerary accordingly. The plan was to explore Golden Gate Park, but instead of walking all over, we drove around (which was still a great way to see the park and stay warm & dry). We did park and walk over to the Bison Paddock, as well as the Japanese Tea Garden. Then we headed over to the Golden Gate Bridge to take some pictures. There are several places to park, but if you go early enough (which we did), you might get lucky enough to grab a free spot at Fort Point (which we were). We snapped a few photos, and then we were on our way back to LA (this time taking the faster route home).
One of the most important parts of any trip is the food. (Am i right?) We knew we wanted to try some fresh seafood on the Bay. Guys. It was incredible. During my research, I kept reading “Try the clam chowder in a sourdough bowl.” Zack and I were skeptical, but it was absolutely delicious. And of course we tried some local wines (we were in Wine Country after all). My point of all this: if you ever find yourself in San Fran, eat seafood.


What did I learn? Overpacking is a good thing. Everyone always gives girls a hard time for overpacking. Well you know what? Don’t. This time I forced myself to pack light and managed to fit mine and Zack’s clothes (plus toiletries and shoes) into one small carry-on suitcase and one small tote bag. Emphasis on the small. I deserved a medal. Well I was NOT prepared for the cold and wind that would greet us. The weather forcast said upper 60s (and I checked daily before the trip), but when we arrived it was in the low 50s. Thankfully Zack packed 2 jackets so I could steal the extra. But seriously, never feeling bad about overpacking ever again.

Would I go back? Absolutely. And since I’ve already hit all the tourist attractions, I would love to visit a nearby winery or spend a day cruising around the bay. Until my next adventure…

XO – Courtney



  1. July 10, 2015 / 6:42 pm

    Courtney, I'm so glad that you both tried the clam chowder. It looked delicious and I bet it hit the spot in that cool weather!

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