PNC Travels: Casual in Cali // Top 7 Highlights from San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful and vibrant city filled with so many notorious national icons. As some of you may know, it is located in northern Cali, it is a city filled with hills, home to the famous Golden gate bridge, historic cable cars, and colorful victorian houses. Just last month I had the chance to spend the perfect weekend there and finally I am able to give you my travel recap of it all!

San Fran definitely reminds me of New York in many ways. I can see why some people say it is the Manhattan of the West Coast. Between the skyscrapers (not as big as NY’s though), the huge Golden Gate National park in the middle of everything (like Central Park), all of the seperate neighborhoods each with their own character and everything all packed in tight it’s just like NYC. Plus with all of the tech and start up company’s there every one is hustling around. Of course there is a Cali twist to everything though, all around a more boho feel, plus all of the palm trees everywhere, definitely differeniates it. Not to mention it is pricier and even worse traffic…yikes, I didn’t even know that was possible haha!

Anyways, I visited San Francisco just a day or two after my trip to Belize. I had several days left of my spring vacation before I had to return to school and all of the other craziness and since part of my family lives west coast I decided to fly out that direction and meet up with them. We had 3 nights 2 days there. We were able to see and do so much but there was still a ton more we could have done but didn’t have time for. I will just highlight the things that we did which I think was a perfect amount to squeeze in while still really taking our time and enjoying our stay there.

Before I get started, just a disclaimer! Since I didn’t even have time to unpack from Belize I packed a very similar wardrobe….oops. San Fran is northern Cali and can definitely get chilly, so don’t look at my outfits as an indicator of what to pack lol. I would recommend more jeans and light sweaters next time. Especially the first day, I started the morning out in a white denim skirt and this super cute striped top, by the time it was time for us to walk the Golden Gate bridge I had to quickly change into some jeans and borrow a sweater from my mom ha!

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Fisherman’s Warf/ Pier 39

Anyways, we started our first morning by waking up and heading directly to Fisherman’s Warf and Pier 39. This is one of San Fran’s most popular areas, definitely super touristy. It is a must see if you have never been here before. However, this was my second time. I was glad to visit it again but I ended up telling my mom that since I have seen it twice already, if I return back to SF in the future I don’t think it is a spot I need to keep visiting haha.

The main reason I was happy to return back to this spot though was because of all of the seafood restaurants! Getting a clam chowder bread bowl is a MUST! So I immediately checked that off my list ha. Other reasons Pier 39 is so popular is because of the Cannery Shopping Center, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, and Ghirardelli’s Square. We checked the square out too and it was unbelievable. If you are a chocolate or sweets person this should for sure go on your to do list. Plus the square has some really fun shops, boutiques, Wine tasting places, etc so it’s a good little area to hang out even if you are not the biggest fan of chocolate.

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Finally, the other highlight of Pier 39 is the sea lion colony that “took-up” residency in this area decades ago. The sea lions all lay out on wooden docks that were originally used for docking boats. It really is fascinating to go check these guys out and watch them for a few minutes. They sun bath, they like to play “king of dock” and get into little fights with each other. They make the craziest noises, I don’t know why it is so interesting to watch them but it just is ha.

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Golden Gate National Park/ Golden Gate Bridge

After walking around Fisherman’s Warf and Pier 39 we decided it was time to make our way towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Last time I was in SF I saw the bridge but never actually walked across it. This time my parents wanted to walk across it and I was totally down so I was excited. I definitely recommend doing this. It gives a beautiful view of the city plus its fun to watch all of the people in the water sailing, surfing, paddle boarding etc. You really get the feel for Cali this way.

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The picture doesn’t even do it justice but the view of the city is beautiful! Of course, it was extremely windy on the bridge so attempting to get pictures proved to be a big challenge. I chose to include all of our bloopers for you guys here 😉 this was the best we could do lol!!

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China Town

The next day we woke up and headed out on a walking tour with Greyhound tours. This was probably my favorite thing that we did. We got to see and learn so much about all the different dimensions that make up San Fran to be the diverse place that it is. A highlight was walking through China town. This is the biggest China Town in the America. While walking through we actually got to stop at a fortune cookie factory. It was so cool to see them being made, not to mention they smelled so good and of course we took some home with us. Yummy!

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Here are a few of the other highlights of things we saw and did that I would make sure to check out if you are planning on visiting San Francisco anytime:

Financial District

Main business district, nicer area. Great selection of restaurants, bay area views, and a place where lots of concerts and markets happen.

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Washington Square Park

One of the city’s first parks, right in the heart of the historic district. It is the perfect spot to picnic but also it located right in Little Italy, so a tonnn of super delicious Italian restaurants. We actually ate at one of the spots here and it was one of my favorite meals of the trip. Also a fun fact…the church that is behind me in the below picture is where Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio took their wedding pictures in front of.

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Telegraph Hill/Lombard Street/Coit Tower

Telegraph hill is one of San Fran’s super picturesque neighborhoods. The houses are adorable and charming and all lined up along the hill. One thing you should know is that SF’s streets basically go up and down they are at such an incline that it felt like we were doing lunges the whole time we were walking. We found our selves in this neighborhood because after Washington Square, we wanted to visit Coit Tower so we had to walk through it and eventually found our selves at the tower. Super cool, however we didn’t go up. I heard the view at the top of the tower is amazing though.

So Coit tower is on one side of Telegraph Hill and the other side is Lombard Street. Lombard Street is Cali’s famous street, that is so steep they had to put 8 hairpin turns in it to try to make it easier for cars to get down. It’s that one street you see in all the pictures that is super curvy. We saw it but didn’t get close enough to take a pic so sorry I don’t have a personal one to share, but if you google it you will know exactly what I’m talking about 😉

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The drinks were too refreshing not to share so I thought I would just pop them in here. They are from a sea food restaurant called Fog Harbor at Pier 39. Also below is Mexican food we had one night at a restaurant right next to our hotel in Union Square called Tropisueno…omg you guys! It was incredible, plus their cocktails were amazing. 10/10 you have to go here if you are ever in the area.

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Union Square

Finally the last place we spent a lot of our time is Union Square. Our hotel was located right in Union Square so naturally we found ourselves there. It was the perfect place to stay. Definitely recommend booking in this area because it felt like we were in the center of everything. Union square has the largest selection of department stores, upscale boutiques, art galleries, beauty salons etc. It basically is a plaza that is the center for shopping, hotels and the theater district.

 

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Well, with all of that said my second time in San Francisco was even better than the first. There is so much history and character to place, I can’t wait to return back one day. Hope this little recap helps if you are planning on visiting here anytime soon or if not that it inspires you to visit one day. As always, if you have any other questions about my specific details of experience and recommendations please feel free to comment or message me. Love you all, xoxo.

 

 


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