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Monday, November 25, 2019

72 hours in San Francisco

Hey 'Frisco, wait - no, sorry. I meant Hello San Fransisco! Sorry, I think I just committed the ultimate faux pas about this California city, please forgive me. The rest will be all good things, because I think I love this city. It's not just because my team, The Toronto Raptors, won their first NBA Championship there. Oh wait, another faux paux committed. I'm sorry - truly.

We had less than 72 hours in this city, but I think we got a decent taste for all that San Fransisco offers, and it left us wanting more. I'm sharing our highlights - which basically was everything!

Day 1: 

We took a $50 cab (although ride sharing is huge here, because of course this is where it all started), from the airport to our hotel.  We landed on The Huntington Hotel on Knob Hill because it is part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Program , and we like the benefits that we get with this program. (I wrote about these here and here).

Quick Review about the Huntington: It's a small, boutique hotel with charming details, although a little dated, but with wonderful staff and a quiet, central location.  The early check in and upgraded room definitely didn't hurt for making our choice a successful one. 

An Upgrade to a suite at the Huntington Hotel
A historic property

After settling into our hotel, we needed to find some grub. As big fans of Gotts Roadside Burgers in Napa, we found a location here in the city too. So we headed down the hill (the easy part) and walked about 20 minutes to Gotts Roadside Burgers in The Ferry Terminal building. Have you been to Gotts yet? If you are ever in San Fransisco or the Napa area, actually run! Grab your self a delicious burger and some garlic fries, oh maybe some tacos, and get it. So yum!

The Ferry Terminal building

You can spend time walking around the ferry building eating your way through yummy donuts, fresh goods from the farmers market and lots of other local delights. You can burn off all of the yummy food by trekking back UPHILL towards the hotel. Be warned, make sure you have comfy shoes and are dressed in layers.


Across from the Huntington Hotel is the stunning Grace Cathedral and the Huntington Park.

We were lucky enough to head over the bridge to Oakland to catch a playoff game (yay Raps!), but came back for a delicious dinner at Francis .  We found this charming restaurant by using the SF Eater Guide, in fact it was our resource for our last two trips in Cali cities when we were on the hunt for good 'grub.

Day 2: 

After breakfast at the hotel, we decided to put on our comfy sneakers and layer up our t shirts with jackets for a day of walking and sight seeing. Note: The weather can change quite quickly: one minute you can be lightly sweating while walking up the steep hills in the sun, and the next quite chilly with the brisk winds taking over. Dress in layers.

We took a stroll down to the kitschy and touristy Fisherman's Wharf.  It is worth visiting to take in the sights of the seals basking in the sun (and singing!), to pick up some salt water taffy in more flavours than you could have imagined,  see Alcatraz from over the water or take a tour over to the infamous prison via ferry (the tours c
an take anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours. We opted to wait for the next time we come with the kids). There are lots of other attractions in this area to keep you busy, from the Aquarium of the Bay to whale watching tours to renting segways and bikes or just strolling the different stores and shops on Pier 29.

We continued on our walk to The Presidio which is a massive park on a former military post that offers great views (and access directly to) the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Stop off for a treat at the Original Ghirardelli store, you can't miss it in the Ghirardelli Square because of the massive sign. Then buckle up to head back up the steep hills folks!

We took the route back so we could see the famous Lombard Street - something I would never attempt to drive down! We meandered through the streets and just took in the different sights and sounds of the city before we headed back for a rest from all of the walking! (Tip: you don't have to walk, you can take an Uber or trolly car!)

The famous Lombard Street

We capped off our second day with drinks and apps at a rooftop patio 620-Jones and then a delicious dinner at Bar Crudo, highly recommended if you are into raw fish ( I mean that in the best way!)

Walking into 620-Jones

Day 3:

Ah Game day (spoiler alert, Toronto won). 

After grabbing some breakfast at the hotel, we hopped into the hotel's complimentary car (another perk!) and got dropped off as far as they could provide in their 3 mile radius and landed in Japan Town. From there we walked 20 minutes to see the famous "painted ladies." (note that the walk can take you through some streets that may not super friendly.) The famous Victorian row houses, dubbed the painted ladies, were on our list because our kids are fans of Full House. So we had to head up to see them for ourselves.

The painted ladies

Next we headed down to Union square ( a 40 minute walk - we needed to make sure we got our steps in!), where you can shop, shop and shop. It's home to all the high end shops and big department stores, as well as the Taj Campton Place Hotel. We stayed here on a quick trip last year as well, and loved the service, charm and location of this property. 

We wrapped up our last day with dinner (and a game 4 win!) in China Town at Mister Jiu's, a delicious high end Chinese cuisine in a historic part of the city! Get there earlier and walk around to take in the sights and sounds of China Town.

Chinatown at night

What are your recommendations for San Francisco? Share in the comments because I can't wait to go back!


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