After 3 incredible days and over 1000 miles on this west coast road trip extravaganza, it’s time to take a break from the road in San Francisco. Our senses are on overload already, none of us have ever been to San Francisco before, and we find ourselves right in the thick of things at Fisherman’s Wharf.
West Coast Road Trip – San Francisco
When planning this road trip, I knew that San Francisco was about the half way point of our trip, and I thought it would be a good time to get out of the car and experience a great American City. I have never wanted to go to San Francisco before. I had seen lots pictures and heard about it, but there have just been other places that I would rather visit.
So let me just confess right here and now, our whole family fell in love with this city, hook, line, and sinker. The people were nice, the vibe was great, the weather was schizophrenic, we felt safe, and there was plenty to see and do. (Too many things to see and do in two days, we have to go back!) I chose a motel right in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, because that seemed like a good touristy spot to land in and be able to see lots of things in a short amount of time. Yes, it was a little more expensive for the motel room and parking, but it had to be done.
Making the most of 2 days in San Francisco
No one can expect to be an expert on anything in just two days, and I am certainly no expert on everything that is San Francisco. But I’ll tell you what we did to get the most out of our short time here, and I would do it again. First, I could not have been more happy with the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. The location was ideal, they were nice and a great help to us, and the hotel was walking distance to many sites and business on the Wharf.
The key to our stay were the 48 hour tickets to the hop on, hop off open top sightseeing bus tour. Good for a full 48 hours, these tickets were the gateway to see a lot of San Francisco in a short amount of time. For about $35 each for an adult, and about half that for a child, you could go all over San Francisco and let someone else do the driving. There were approximately 22 stops on the tour, and you could get off at say stop at Chinatown, check that area out for a while, and every 20-30 minutes, another bus comes by and you can get back on and continue your tour. A bargain if you ask me. One of the best parts is the open top of the bus. You can not only see San Francisco, but smell it, hear it, and feel it. And by feel it, let me just say I didn’t know it was possible to get a sunburn and freeze to death at the same time…
14 cool sites of San Francisco on the open top bus tour
Below are some of the points of interest one can stop at, walk to, or observe from the bus on an open top bus tour. This is a partial list…
1. Fisherman’s Wharf – Food, shopping, ferries to Alcatraz, street artists, lots of action
3. Union Square – Serious shopping, restaurants, art galleries, great for people watching
4. Cable Cars – World famous and still going strong
5. Civic Center Area – Symphony Hall, Opera House, City Hall, Library and more
6. Alamo Square Park – Large park with the San Francisco skyline in the distance
7. Painted Ladies – Famous row houses, the painted ladies need a paint job if you ask me
8. Haight Ashbury Area – The hippie vibe still has a pulse, shops, art, great signs
9. Golden Gate Park – Huge! Japanese Tea Garden, de Young Museum, Botanical Gardens, Music Concourse
10. Golden Gate Bridge – Cross it twice on each tour, bring a coat!
11. Palace of Fine Arts – A theatre with a beautiful rotunda, especially at night
12. Chinatown – Food and shops, and more shops
13. Pier 33 – More Alcatraz ferries, historical, scenic walking route, great views
14. Pier 39 – Aquarium on the Bay, sea lions, amusements, attractions, shopping
Random Photos from San Francisco
Two Days in San Francisco isn’t Enough
It was a great first date, and I really want another. It would really be worth exploring more in-depth the landmarks and points of interest listed above. We did not go to Alcatraz on this trip because our reservations got screwed up by the tour people. Apparently, I booked them too early, and their computer forgot about it. Thanks for that. As it turned out, we had plenty to see and do, and if you want to go to Alcatraz, make sure and get reservations. You will never see so many people wanting to go to prison in your life.
See you again San Francisco…
A short trip to Carmel, the 17 mile drive, art galleries, and more coastal beauty