San Francisco: Sightseeing

My boyfriend & I recently visited San Francisco and are both in love with the city. The weather was perfect for my boyfriend, but too chilly for me. I didn't pack jeans for this trip because they usually take up more luggage space, so I only had leggings and tights. Regardless of the chilly weather, SF was a wonderful experience for us and we'd both love to visit again.

As far as sightseeing went, we visited most of the touristy places that SF had to offer. This included Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Park, and the Golden Gate Bridge (or lack thereof, but more on that later).

Left: It was weird seeing fire alarms at so many street corners. We've never seen that before and had to take a pic. Does anybody know why they're even on public sidewalks?
Top: I actually had a bit of trouble finding Neiman Marcus. The name is so small and SO high up compared to every other store there (Barney's, Sak's, etc.).  It wasn't until I crossed to the other side that I realized this store was NM.
Bottom: Giant chess board inside Westfield Mall! You can move the pieces around and play a real game right at that very spot (in front of J. Crew).

One of our favourite parts about staying in downtown San Francisco was that we were able to walk to a lot of places. We lived right by Union Square and were able to walk to Chinatown, the Embarcadero Center, and to the Ferry Building. We attempted to bike, but the rental bikes were uncomfortable for me (and I was a little too small for them). There are a lot of bikers and bike routes in SF and we were disappointed we couldn't participate.
Left: A lot of the roads in SF are steep and go up and down. You can imagine walking or biking uphill... torture!
Top: Gate to "the largest Chinatowns outside of Asia" - and it was definitely big! You can tell that this Chinatown was divided into a tourist section and a locals section. In the "locals" section of Chinatown, my boyfriend noticed that nearly every adult/senior spoke Toisan/Taishanese. I did a little research and learned that there are large populations of Taishanese people living in California and Vancouver.
Bottom: Everybody told me to try out the cable cars at least once. It was such a great experience because our driver, Lance, was so hilarious & friendly! The fare was pricey ($6 no matter how far you travel), but definitely worth the trip. My boyfriend & I traveled from Lombard St. all the way "home", which happened to be the last stop.
Left: Bus transfers from the "MUNI". We absolutely love SF's transit system. It's very cheap at $2 because you can use the same fare to ride the bus as many times as you want within 3 hours. Toronto NEEDS this system. My boyfriend & I were able to go from Golden Gate Park, to the Golden Gate Bridge, to dinner, and back home using the same transfer. Unbelievable. In Toronto, that many trips would cost over $10! Unfortunately, we never had the chance to ride the BART even though we really wanted to.
Top: Nemo! One of our must-see places was the Aquarium of the Bay. The Aquarium wasn't as big as we'd like, but we saw a lot of beautiful fish, starfish, and other underwater creatures.
Bottom: Another thing we looked forward to seeing was the pier where most of the sea lions were resting in Fisherman's Wharf. They made very loud sounds (like "arf arf" and the baby ones were super adorable.
Left: And here is the world's crookedest street: Lombard. This is the view of it from the bottom. You can see all the cars turning in and out just to get down from the top. What's funny is that most of the cars that came down were tourists! I feel very bad for those who live on that section of Lombard, but their houses looked kinda cool with all the pretty landscaping.
Right: This is the view from the top of the hill. The houses in SF are really interesting because 1) they're all very close together. In many cases, they were stuck together. And 2) the majority of the houses have flat roofs. I've never seen so many flat-roofed houses before and was shocked by this. Does anyone know why? Somebody told me it was because of fog...
Left: Some very tall trees near the Japanese Tea Garden at the Golden Gate Park. It felt like winter that day and I was only in a light parka, so I was shivering the whole time. The entire park was beautiful, with a lot of different areas to it. Some of the areas required admission (like the $7 to this garden), but the fees go toward maintenance so they're very well worth it.
Top: An adorable little squirrel drinking from the water.
Bottom: A 5-person bicycle-thing.
Above: We went to the Golden Gate Bridge on the same day (as when we went to the Park). Since the bridge was near water, it was even MORE cold there. Our teeth were chattering, our fingers numb, and we were shivering uncontrollably. With the amount of fog that day, we were unable to see the bridge at all... so here's a shot of the tollgate. The traffic was unbelievable there (SF locals - is it always like this? Fog & traffic?). Next time my boyfriend & I visit SF, we plan on crossing the bridge to see what there is to offer.

Thank you for letting me share my trip with you through this photo/word heavy post! I'll be posting my dining adventures on the blog soon. : )

Off-topic, but I'm on Instagram now! Follow me at _jessytran. : )
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  1. ...Such beautiful and scenic photos! Thank You so much so sharing!


  2. :) I'm hoping to visit SF soon! Love the photos! Glad you had a lot of fun.

  3. Great photos, it really looks like a great time :)

    Angela @ The Lovely Cup

  4. Aww! Love the fish and sea lion pictures! :)

    Looking forward to the food pics!!

  5. Lombard street looks very beautiful! Glad that you had a good time.

  6. I've never been! Thanks for the great photos and for sharing:)

  7. Chanced upon your blog and enjoy reading it!

  8. Very nice pictures. I live in the Bay Area and I've never been to Lombard street. I need to go check that out for myself. SF is a beautiful city and I'm glad you enjoyed your stay. I love the dumplings in SF. I can't wait to see your food posts.

  9. it´s cool and extremly good, love this blog.

  10. @Petitetomatoes
    You definitely should! You can just drive down it and it'll only take a minute or two. :P

  11. Love this post! I've always wanted to visit SF! Love all the sea creature on the harbor!!

  12. I love travel posts and this is one I can definitely use! Thanks for the MUNI tip - we might use that next week :)

  13. So glad you enjoyed your trip! :) I enjoyed looking through your photos...although I live and work here, I sometimes take life in the SF Bay Area for granted, so it's fun seeing a visitor's take on the city!

    Would you ever consider moving to San Francisco?

    I also love that you visited the Aquarium, btw. It's where my boyfriend (and my blog's fearless photographer) and I had our first date!

    Looking fwd to more posts from you soon!

    Love, S

  14. San Francisco is like my favorite city! Glad you enjoyed your vacation

  15. @Shamelessly Overdressed
    My boyfriend loveddd SF and said he wouldn't mind living there. I'm just so used to our climate here that it'd be hard for me to move. I absolutely loved SF .. if only it was hotter in the summer. LOL

    Aw, what a cute first date! The Aquarium was beautiful.

  16. @Shamelessly Overdressed
    My boyfriend loveddd SF and said he wouldn't mind living there. I'm just so used to our climate here that it'd be hard for me to move. I absolutely loved SF .. if only it was hotter in the summer. LOL

    Aw, what a cute first date! The Aquarium was beautiful.