Earlier this year I had the pleasure of discovering San Francisco for the first time. Six months later, I’ve gotten around to writing about it and can confirm it’s as great as everyone tells you. In a nutshell here’s a list of things I squeezed into four days.
Stay: Union Square at the Cartwright Hotel, 524 Sutter Street.
The hotel was good value, clean, well serviced and had a nice aesthetic. It was close to all the main shopping spots and still within easy access to Fishermans Wharf.
Do: For first time visitors its mandatory to hire a bike and ride across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito. I hired a bike from Bike ‘n Roll in Fishersman’s Wharf (not all bike hires allow you to take the bikes across the bridge, so check this before booking). The ride is long but fairly easy with it being mostly downhill to Sausalito. Going back the other way was a bit too much so we opted for the ferry back. This was a nightmare! We waited at least 2 hours lining up and getting on. Word of warning, if you get the ferry back, do not leave it to the last minute, it is a painful long process.
Muir Woods & Wine Country – I spent a day doing this tour which I booked on Viator here. Overall it was very enjoyable, the group was a good size (not a giant buss full of people) although I wouldn’t recommend the Muir Woods, I didn’t find it that fascinating and it was Freezing cold. Once we got into wine country, the day improved. We were taken to some really lovely vineyards and had friendly service at each of them. If you like your reds, this is a must-do. Our tour guide/ bus driver was friendly, but wouldn’t stop talking about tipping at the end – got a bit annoying toward the end.
Eat: Tropisueño Mexican Grill. This was a very lucky find as we wandered around the city desperately seeking food. The atmosphere was vibrant, the service fantastic and the food even better. We sat at the bar as the place was packed but had the best time chatting to the bar tender who was kind enough to give us a sample of the top shelf tequila (which was amazing!).
Biggest challenge: Navigating the the train ticket machine from the airport to the city. This is some weird old school machine that is not straight forward in the slightest. I gave up and asked the person next to me. Save yourself the time and don’t be afraid to ask a stranger. Next time I would probably just book a shuttle.