This is my second time visiting California in 2015. If you recall from some of my previous posts, I swung by Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco in March with my girlfriends. Aside from the fact that I am in love with the weather, this time around I had a very different agenda. The main purpose of my trip was to go camping into Yosemite National Park with my boyfriend which I will talk about in much more detail in the post right after this one. Today I wanted to highlight some of the fun things I did in San Francisco 🙂
The weather in San Fran was perfect as usual – a hot dry breezy mid 20’s. We walked around Union Square and Market Street – a great shopping area with an generous mix of luxury and mid priced retail stores. You can buy your Givenchy, Chanel and Valentino, walk a few blocks and find Victoria’s Secret, Converse and Urban Outfitters.
One of my favorite things about this city is the neighborhoods. It’s simply rows and rows of colorful houses perched on top of very steep rolling hills. The most famous one in particular is Lombard Street with it’s extremely windy almost zig zag-like street. It’s hard to capture the entire view because residents do use this street to get down into the city core and it’s that much harder to navigate with swarms of tourists taking pictures left right and center.
But even better than the streets of San Fran, the beaches are to die for here. Definitely drive Hwy 1, the coastal drive that hugs the curves of the west coast offers impressive views of the ocean. We made a few pit stops to admire the view.
Devil’s Slide is a must-stop along the highway.
On our first day, we got up bright and early to go surfing on Half-moon Bay. We took a lesson with Sea, Surf, Fun. Our instructor, Fabien was extremely friendly, knowledgable and helpful in teaching us how to ride our first waves! Unfortunately I don’t have any photos since my camera is not waterproof! After 2hrs of surfing we hit up Barbara’s Fishtrap for a classic seafood lunch: Fish and Chips and a bowl of Clam Chowder in Sourdough. The Fish was very light and crispy and super tender chunks of white flesh inside. The clam chowder was loaded with clams and the bread had a very nice tang and chew. Supposedly, the weather here makes the perfect environment for some of the best sourdough.
Tip: Skip the line up for the dine-in restaurant and pick up your seafood at the take out counter next door and enjoy the food by a sunny bench.
We drove along Hwy 1 south and stopped by Capitola just in time for the Begonia Festival. Colorful Begonia flowers were scattered everywhere and people wore hats and necklaces adorned with the delicate petals. Perhaps it was a long weekend, but it was extremely packed. There are a few cute little shops in Capitola and a beach with surfing and paddle board equipment rental just around the corner.
For a taste of San Francisco’s appetite for baseball, check out a game at the AT&T park, home of the Giants. We watched Giants vs San Diego Pedres 🙂
Golden Gate Park boasts a handful of museums and art galleries including the Academy of Science and de Young Museum of Fine Arts which is where we went. For the modest price of $10, you can get access to it’s collection of art and the Observation Deck.
The deck closes a little earlier than the rest of the gallery. It was also my favorite part with it’s glass windows and 360 view of the park and city. Definitely worth a visit if you’re going to Golden Gate Park which, I should add, is a ginormous park. Probably best explored by bicycle or segway.
Just a short drive from the park are a plethora of cafes and restaurants tucked away in between colorful San Francisco houses. We hit up Suppenküche (literally, “soup kitchen”), an authentic German restaurant serving up classic favorites. Having lived in Berlin for a while, German food has become a sort of comforting way to transport me back to days filled with beer, soft pretzels and wurst (Read more about my time in Berlin here). Our server greeted us with a basket of dense but soft rye bread with some sort of cheese and herb mixture which was delicious. I saw pretzels on the menu and couldn’t resist ordering. They came piping hot with a mixed cheese spread and a few slices of sharp red onion. It was heavenly.
For our mains I had the traditional Schnitzel – perfectly crisp and tender cutlets of pork served simply with a few wedges of lemon and potatoes. K had Bratwurst on a bed of creamy mash, sauerkraut and mustard. It was an insane amount of food but it was so delicious I couldn’t stop eating.
Highly recommend Suppenküche. Be sure to arrive early with everyone in your party because this place fills up fast! Stay tuned for my next post documenting my first time camping experience in the beautiful Yosemite National Park! 🙂