Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Day Alone in San Francisco

My husband very rarely travels for business, so when I found out he might get to go to San Francisco for a conference I was determined to go with him because I've been wanting to travel there for a long time.  We had wanted to get out to California anyway to visit friends who live in LA, so when we found out that yes, he was definitely going, we decided to make it into a true mini vacation by adding on a few days and driving down the coast from San Francisco to LA.  After all the many travel details worked out (I had forgotten how much I hate planning trips!) and with the kids at Grandmama's house for the week, we were ready.  

Since my husband was going to be busy at his conference for 2 days I wasn't really sure what I was going to do by myself.  I had never traveled by myself before and although I have been to many big cities I wasn't really sure how I'd feel about doing things alone.  Well, my fears fled pretty quickly with a whole beautiful, sunny day ahead of me.  I looked at a few brochures and websites, but since anyone who knows me knows I hate planning ahead, I decided to wing it.  I set out on foot with my camera and my comfy shoes.  I had the most amazing day!  Turns out, I kinda dig hanging out in the city alone.  Who knew?  And I loved San Francisco.  People had told me I would, but I didn't quite believe them.  They were right though, it's a fantastic city.  

Our hotel was centrally located right next to Union Square.  I got a map from the concierge and headed toward Chinatown which he said was only about a 10 minute walk from there.  It was a gorgeous day for a walk and I have always loved cities so it was fun to just look around and take it all in.  Chinatown did not disappoint.  It was so colorful and vibrant!  I loved all the shops with their waving lucky cats and imported goods.  I got a souvenir for my girl there.  I loved all the lanterns everywhere.  I would love to see it at night with them all lit up.  The architecture of the buildings was really fun too.  It really was like you were in a whole other city.  One perk of being alone that day was that I could stop as many times as I wanted to take photos without it bothering anyone.  And I stopped a lot.  I also could go into any store I wanted and take as long as I wanted.  For someone who usually has reluctant shoppers with her this was heaven! 

After I got through Chinatown I don't remember exactly where I was, but it was still pretty.  I think part of it was Little Italy.  The best part was that I finally got to see the pointy building I'd been watching out for all day.  I still don't know what it's called, but you know the one that's famous from the skyline.  

After walking for what felt like forever, I knew I wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge next.  We flew in late at night and you couldn't see it from our hotel so I just felt like I wouldn't feel like I was really experiencing San Francisco until I saw it.  So I decided to hop on a bus to take me to Fisherman's Wharf.  The bus system there is fantastic.  I can see why if you lived there you wouldn't need to own a car.  And thank goodness for Google maps making it so unbelievable easy to figure out which bus to take to get where.  I love taking the bus...call me weird, but I used to ride the bus when I worked in downtown Cincinnati and I loved it then too.  I like having someone else take me where I need to go and I like the huge windows and the people watching too.  Anyway, after a brief ride, I hopped off a couple blocks from the Wharf.  

It was definitely more of a tourist destination, but I finally got to see the bridge!  Yay!  The shops were fun too and the people watching was excellent.  I walked all up and down and wasn't really sure what to do next.  I didn't want to eat at a restaurant by myself, but I still had tons of time.  There was a fishing boat there that was giving tours of the bridge and around Alcatraz and I told myself if there was still room on it by the time I walked back by it I would take it.  Well, they still had room and after getting an iced tea at In-N-Out Burger, they lured me in with their promise of a clean bathroom on board.  I had so much fun on that boat trip!  It was my favorite thing I did in San Francisco!
It was so windy and cold, but luckily they had blankets we could wrap up in.  There were fun people on the boat too.  One couple I sat next to were locals just out enjoying the beautiful day.  The bridge was amazing up close too.  I loved seeing if from a boat, it was a really unique perspective.  And I totally thought all this time that the bridge was bright red.  It's not.  It's like a rust color.  

After going around the bridge, they took us all the way around Alcatraz.  To be honest, I wasn't really all the interested in that part beforehand, but it was incredibly interesting, and if we go back someday I'm definitely taking a tour of it. 

It was fun seeing the sea lions sunning themselves.

After the boat trip I walked down to Ghirardelli Square.  There is a park in front of it with a great view of the bridge and the bay.  There was also an old ship docked there.  They give free tours of it, but they close early and I just missed it.  Another thing on the list for next time.  The shops at the square were really cute and of course, I had to get some chocolate.  I decided to go for ice cream and I thought it was kinda funny how they serve it on a plate like that.  It was delicious.


I had such a fun day alone in the city!  I headed back to the hotel to meet my husband for dinner because he had scored a ticket for me to the party thrown by the conference he was attending.  It was at the courthouse and had open bar, a live band, and tons of food.  It was a great end to a great day!  I can't believe that was only the first day of our trip.  I've got tons more to share, so I'll be back soon with the rest.  

1 comment:

  1. Shawna: Orville and I ate a picnic lunch in the park in front of Ghirardelli Square in July. Great pictures and story.

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