When you spend your free time looking up flights, you sometimes use your friend’s birthday to justify buying plane tickets two days before the weekend hits, which is exactly how I found myself in San Francisco this time. Because what’s life without a little a whole lotta spontaneity?
The last time I found myself visiting was for my birthday almost 5 years ago — which means I was excited to have pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge that didn’t require me to Photoshop my ex out anymore. Holla.
Do I remember much from that trip to give any detailed recs? No. But I do remember the bike rental guy whispering, “Oh, shit!” under his breath as he saw me struggle trying to take off. So it’s safe to say that I went ahead and crossed that activity off the list for this time around — for the rental guy’s sake, of course. (Side note: Riding bikes across the bridge, actually, was the best part of that trip.. even in my drunken struggle.)
Nonetheless, if you enjoy not making a fool of yourself — unlike me — there’s still plenty of things to do to enjoy the weekend!
We stayed in a cute and old — but not in the feels-dirty-old type of way — hotel near Union Square. So we started our morning walking through this area, filled with tons of shopping and just as many brunch spots. For the first time in my life, I skipped doing any shopping, but instead doubled up on breakfast for the day. I love me some second breakfast.
Next we headed down towards China Town to walk around and pick up a few souvenirs. Okay, so I didn’t completely skip the shopping. We spent the rest of the morning wandering around the red lantern lined streets admiring all the unique stores and interesting architecture.
Before heading down to Fisherman’s Wharf, we diverted our path to pass by Lomard Street. I really wonder what went through someone’s mind as they built this entirely crooked path. With 8 switchbacks down this steep one-way road, it has become a popular tourist spot in San Francisco to walk or drive. We watched all the cars wind down the brightly colored street that was lined with blooming flowers and beautiful Victorian homes. I was thankful that I wasn’t behind the wheel for once because tears would definitely have been present during that. (Side note: I Googled it. Apparently, it’s designed this way for “safety reasons,” and although I ain’t no architect, it still looked pretty unsafe to me.)
Fisherman’s Wharf – Pier 39
You can’t go to San Francisco without a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf for a nice big bread bowl of clam chowder, so don’t even think of skipping this one — even though I went to SF the first time and didn’t do this… but we’ll let that slide. Filled with tons of bars, restaurants, shopping, and live performances, there’s always something to do. And when you need to sit down and take a rest, you can get in some quality people watching too.
Golden Gate Bridge
I guess this next stop is like kind of a big deal or something, so we took an Uber down to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you take the path behind the ‘Welcome Center’ building, you’ll find yourself in a little rest area with a good view of the bridge. A great vantage point can also be found at Crissy Field, a recreational park filled with picnic areas and beaches, but since the bridge is rather large, you can’t really miss it from any angle.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse – This is where we stopped for second breakfast, so I only ordered a croissant, but Savannah later gave me a bite of her butter toffee cookie, and I have no words. OMG. Guess I actually had three words. Oops.
A birthday celebration wouldn’t be complete without checking out the nightlife. Obvi.
Sabrosa – My friends always joke that we can’t go anywhere without me knowing someone, so why would SF be any different? Totally normal for the bouncer to be a friend you made that time you went to Cabo for your best friend’s bachelorette, right? We came here off a recommendation from a friend, but were skeptical since online it appears to be a Mexican restaurant. Since it was Cinco de Mayo, though, it seemed fitting either way. At night, they clear the tables, and it becomes a lively bar with a DJ and dancing.
Del Mar – A cool tiki bar with great dancing music which was recommended by my man Big Jerry I mentioned above. Not sure why they’d let my friend in for free and not me — I’m sure her birthday crown had nothing to do with it — but the bouncer outside joked that since he’s from Italy, if I could speak Italian, he’d let me in for free. Joke’s on you, bro. Perché io vado dentro la bar per gratuito poi… Grazie. So for that reason alone, I’ll give you 5 stars, Del Mar.
It may have been a quick trip, but it surely didn’t lack any of the fun. Life’s better as a constant adventure, so if that means dropping everything to catch a flight the next day, you can always count me in.