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.