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San Francisco won me over. It is such a stunning, creative and vibrant city. I was drawn to its landscapes and architecture which all add to its unique personality. It’s a city that suits everyone. No matter who you are there is a part of you that can fit in here – whether you love art and culture, food or business, you will definitely find your little corner of the city that speaks to you.

My one regret? I just wish I had more time.

On our first day in San Francisco I found myself racing around trying to cram as much in as possible. We were very time limited as we had a tour of Alcatraz (the home to some of the worst criminals in the US between 1932-1963) planned for the afternoon. I don’t normally do guided tours when we travel as I feel like they take up too much of your time, especially when you only have a couple of days in a city, but I highly recommend Alcatraz as it’s so educational and a really interesting part of the city’s history. It is a little bit of a time investment, and while I do think seeing the well known parts are worth your time, there are many more places to explore, so don’t worry if it’s not really your jam.

My photo diary of San Francisco is in no way all-encompassing. I feel like because we didn’t have a huge amount of time we didn’t take a huge amount of photos – that and the weather was pretty terrible.

The difficult thing I found about SF is the attractions are spread out and aren’t always convenient to reach – you either need to hire a car or have the trains sorted out. I tried to Uber around their peak hour on day one and it was as bad as getting an Uber in Sydney at that time, which makes perfect sense now in hindsight, but back then I was perplexed. I also found this with cafe’s and coffee shops – while I love to walk everywhere on holidays (read: I usually complete 25,000 steps a day), I just found parts of the city a little bit too spread out. I don’t feel like I got an accurate overview of San Francisco, but I really wanted to share my experience as I absolutely love the atmosphere, architecture and culture and hope to get back there one day soon to do it properly!

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What to do in San Francisco

There is so much to do, but this is what we managed to cram in a very short period of time.

  • Alcatraz: Book your tickets on the website at least three weeks before you go (maybe longer in peak season) otherwise you’ll miss out
  • Golden Gate Bridge is a no brainer – it’s one of those pinch me moments “Am I really seeing this?”. To get a unique perspective go under it and take it all in
  • Lappert’s Ice Cream for duh, ice cream
  • Blue Bottle coffee does the best coffee!
  • Sightglass coffee is also amazing.
  • Cow Hollow for donuts!
  • Lombard Street- we drove down this instead of walking. It’s the world’s most crooked street
  • Cycle over the Golden Gate bridge. I am pretty bummed we didn’t get to do this due to the weather, but it was still an epic experience nonetheless
  • San Francisco Museum Of Contemporary Art is the best gallery I saw our entire trip. I could have easily spent half a day there.
  • Best thrift stores: Mission Thrift, 2330 Mission Street, Held Over, 1543 Haight Street (between Ashbury and Clayton streets), Alta Bates, 5615 College Avenue
  • La Taqueria did pretty amazing tacos (2889 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110)
  • Explore the local art scene by taking in the many colorful urban murals you can. Walk and walk and walk!!!
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Best weather

When we visited it rained every single day – apparently it was the most rain they had had in 12 months. Between November and March is their “wet season” and it’s typically a 4 seasons in one day city, so make sure you pack winter items no matter what season you visit in.

Best places to stay

When it comes to accommodation in SF, it’s pretty expensive. I suggest booking an Airbnb. If we had more time we would have, but when we were in SF we were actually still in our RV staying about 20 minutes south of the city. All the Airbnb’s we researched were incredible!!

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If you have any places to add, please leave a comment so I can visit next time I am there and to help my readers too! We love your suggestions!

 

Author: Ally Hayward

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayHayward

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