Trip Report – San Francisco: Part 2
Welcome back for Part 2 of my San Francisco trip report! Check out what you missed in Part 1 here.
Hop On Hop Off – The Sequel
Since our Hop on Hop off bus tour was valid for 48 hours, we took advantage of the transportation to explore more of the Financial District and Union Square. My parents decided to continue on toward the Aquarium, so Jay and I walked through the city ourselves. We stopped for local coffee (and a chai latte for me!) at Peets, before seeking out Mexican for lunch. We found a winner in Tropisueno, a small counter service restaurant with excellent food and a huge variety of salsas! The inside featured a cozy atmosphere with various seating arrangements and Christmas lights : )
After lunch, we planned to return to Fisherman’s Wharf to take advantage of another Go Card offer – a 30 minute GoCar tour. We found a pick up location for our Hop On Hop Off bus and waited…and waited…and waited. After an hour, I finally called the company and asked where the bus was located. I was informed the bus would arrive in 3 minutes. So we waited…and waited another 15 minutes. Eventually, we decided to call an Uber and paid for our own ride back to the hotel.
It was extremely frustrating to wait much longer than the expected 45 min limit. In addition, the company lied to me about how far away the bus was located. The company is CitySightseeing and I highly recommend avoiding them if you’re looking for bus tours.
To add to the mishaps, we arrived at the GoCar rental in Fisherman’s Wharf and found out our offer only works at the Union Square location. Clearly, the GoCard company is also cheap and not only picked a terrible Hop On Hop Off bus company, but negotiated strict deals with the other companies to make the card hard to use.
These were big changes since my parents used it during their last visit, so lesson learned we will not be purchasing the GoCard again.
With nothing on the schedule now for the afternoon, we all walked over to Ghiradelli Square. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of unique shops and restaurants in the complex. It was much bigger than I expected! We browsed for a while and (of course) bought some Ghiradelli chocolate squares. Make sure you stop by the store for a free sample! We also crossed the street to visit the See’s Candy store – another free sample opportunity!
Since the rain held off, we walked along the water back to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s quite pretty and some of the piers have historical information / small exhibits to check out. For dinner that night we picked a seafood restaurant on Pier 39. It started pouring so our view of the wharf wasn’t as pleasant as we were hoping. Oh well, the food was delicious and reasonably priced so that certainly made up for it.
Due to the rain we called it an early night after dinner and relaxed in our rooms for the rest of the evening.
Muir Woods and Sonoma
On Sunday, we used our GoCard for a full day trip to visit Muir Woods and the town of Sonoma. The route to Muir Woods crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, which was thrilling! It was exciting to see it up close after viewing it from below during the boat tour on our first day. Muir Woods is officially a National Monument and features lots of hiking trails through the redwood trees. Since we only had an hour and a half, we just walked along the main path and marveled at the size of these incredible trees.
From there, we drove to the town of Sonoma. The tour gave you the option to do two wine tastings instead of exploring the town, but it cost $30 extra per person so we passed. I actually found a winery that offered free tastings at their store, so we did that instead : ) It drizzled / rained the entire time we were there, so we mostly dashed from store to store trying not to get too wet.
Sonoma has tons of restaurant options and we eventually settled on a bakery/sandwich shop for a quick bite. Afterward, I forced everyone to stop by the one bookstore in town. Unfortunately, it was a bit pricey so we didn’t stay long. Instead, I ended up snagging a Louise Penny book for $1 at one of the thrift stores : ) By the time the bus picked us up, the rain had stopped so we enjoyed the views of the various wineries on our way back to the city.
We were determined to find good pizza in San Francisco, so we walked to Little Italy for dinner. After lots of research (and scoffing at high prices) we settled on Tony’s Pizza. Their menu was massive and full of different varieties and styles of pizza and pasta. For the four of us, we selected a lasagna and a huge pizza to share. The food was phenomenal!! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for Italian in San Francisco.
We had an early flight the next morning, so after our leisurely dinner we packed up and went to bed.
Little Italy in general is a great place to find restaurants. It’s only about a 15 minute walk from hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf and is quite a sight when the restaurants are lit up at night. A few have outdoor seating so you can enjoy the warm weather and people watch as you eat.
For our flight home, Jay and I splurged for Delta Comfort. It cost us more points, but was worth the upgrade! The seats are bigger and have more leg room. Plus you are provided with a light meal and free alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. They also came through with a variety of snacks throughout the flight. We were both very happy with the service and the amount of times the flight attendants checked on the passengers. The backseat entertainment was full of excellent choices of TV shows and movies. It definitely made the 6 hour flight easier to handle!
That wraps up my San Francisco trip report! Time to start planning the next vacation!