The sunny sides of San Francisco

On the red-eye flight from Maui, I fell asleep on the plane and woke up right in time when we were approaching the airport in San Francisco. Once I got to the Samesun Hostel, I dropped off my luggage and walked around the neighborhood in the morning. As the hostel was located directly on Lombard Street, the said-to-be most crooked street in the world was just around the corner. But after a short walk, you can also reach Fisherman’s Warf, where I grabbed lunch and sat down with it at Pier 39. I was still tired from the red-eye flight, so I took a short nap at the hostel before meeting my roommates, Innara and Tasha, in the evening.

The following morning, Innara and I headed out to explore the city together and enjoyed some stunning views on our tour around San Francisco. Back at the hostel and tired from all the walking around, we stayed in and, together with Tasha, ordered food and had some wine to celebrate Thanksgiving that day. Saturday I spent with Tasha then. First, we drove to Muir Woods and joined a wine-tasting tour to Napa Valley in the afternoon. Since both my roommates were gone by Sunday, I spent the day alone and took a long walk along the beach to the Golden Gate Bridge, where I sat down on a sunny spot at the beach for a while and watched the waves and ships passing by. And as it was still early enough to be back at the hostel before it was dark (I didn’t feel the safest alone at night in SF), I also went downtown to visit Salesforce Park, an urban rooftop garden in the middle of the city. Monday morning, I was ready for some more sightseeing again. Thus, I took the ferry to Alcatraz, visited the prison facilities, and learned more about the island’s history on an audio guide while enjoying the beautiful view of San Francisco’s skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. Back from the island again, I spent some more time at Fisherman’s Wharf before I walked back to the hostel and went to sleep earlier that evening.

On my last day on the West Coast, I finally met Esra, who showed me other places in the Bay Area that day. So, after breakfast at her apartment, we drove south of San Francisco and stopped at Mavericks Beach, Half Moon Bay, and Standford University. There, we walked around the campus for a while and then headed to Palo Alto for dinner. After a lovely day together, Esra dropped me off at the airport on the way back, and I, unfortunately, had to say goodbye to her again. But since we had such a great time together, I’m sure this wasn’t the last time we saw each other. Anyways, it was time to leave the West Coast and enjoy the remaining five days of my North America trip on the East Coast. Or better said: New York, here I come!

Things to do

Visit Dolores Park or Grandview Park for some splendid views of the city

Climb to the top of Bernal Heights Park and watch the sunset over San Francisco’s skyline

Leave the city and explore some other corners around San Francisco, e.g. Half Moon Bay, Palo Alto, or Sausalito

See towering old-growth redwood trees while walking along the trails at Muir Woods

Grab some food and sit down at Alamo Square for a nice view of the famous Painted Ladies

Take a stroll around Standford University’s campus area or visit the Arizona Cactus Garden there

Listen to the funny noises of the sea lions at Pier 39

Join a wine-tasting tour to Napa Valley or visit some wineries there on your own

Check out the murals with fun installations, and brightly colored balloons and umbrellas suspended throughout the entire enclosure at Umbrella Alley

Eat & drink here

Boudin Bakery: bakery famous for its sourdough specialties (best veggie pizza ever) and said-to-be oldest continually operating business in San Francisco

Avotoasty: the first-ever avocado toast bar serving brunch with avocado toasts, acai bowls & coffee

Breadbelly: airy café serving coffee, baked goods & light bites influenced by Asia and California

Le Marais: French-inspired bakery and café featuring pastries, sandwiches, quiches & other classic bites

LaLe: family-owned Mediterranean-Turkish tapas bar serving everyday brunch

Kantine: Nordic-inspired cafe and eatery offering breakfast & lunch dishes from various Scandinavian countries

The Interval at Long Now: bar, café, museum, and the home of The Long Now Foundation featuring a floor-to-ceiling library of the books

Fort Point: local brewery at Valencia Beer Hall and Ferry Building Beer Garden offering fresh SF-style seafood

Radhaus: Bavarian beer hall in a former U.S. Army machine shop at Fort Mason with panoramic bay views

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