By Theresa Christine
Okay, so yes, I’m a little biased since it is my home, but San Francisco is so mind-blowingly beautiful and cool. I had to jam-pack some of the best spots to scope out for a day in the city by the bay, so get ready! This is gonna be one helluva day.
You’ll begin your journey in the Outer Sunset because there’s no better way to start the day than right by the Pacific Ocean. Grab a Panini-toasted French roll (with Nutella! yum!!) at Java Beach Cafe and head over to Ocean Beach. If you’re like me, you’ll be too much of a sleepyhead to actually catch the sunrise, but whether or not you do, the Pacific is still a pretty awesome sight to behold, fogginess and all. Admire the waves, scope out babely surfers, and realize the world is a large place and you are in fact a very small part of it.
After that deep personal meditation, the next stop is at the top of Corona Heights. I love coming here because it is, hands down, the most remarkable view of San Francisco. It’s just high enough to see places like downtown, City Hall, the Mission, the Haight, and Sutro Tower, but it’s a surprisingly easy climb to the top. Seriously, it’s like a 5-minute trek, and the reward when you reach the peak is one spectacular view.
Now it’s time to really experience the city and not just admire her babeliness from afar. Locals tend to avoid Fisherman’s Wharf since it’s full of touristy shops and chain restaurants, however, it houses one of my favorite little city spots, Musee Mecanique. It’s worth the effort to weave your way through the crowd to see the stellar collection of antique arcade machines and automated instruments. Also, one of the best traditional photobooths in the city is located here–it’s located on the middle of the floor with an entrance on both sides.
After kicking some major butt in the arcade version of Cruisin’ USA (not bragging), it’s time for some nom. It wouldn’t really be California without In-N-Out. As a vegetarian, I was pretty skeptical my first time here. Now, though, I crave this heavenly place about once a week. It’s inexpensive and as far as fast food standards go, this is the highest quality you’ll find–meaning, nothing is ever frozen and they don’t use funky chemicals in their food. There’s some basic burger options if you eat meat, and a drool-worthy grilled cheese option for all the veggies out there. Don’t forget the not-so-secret menu!
Once you have recovered from the awesomeness that was lunch, it’s time to wake yourself out of food coma at the Seward Street Slides. This is a sweet gem that will help you revisit your childhood days on the playground. For added comfort, you can snatch up a piece of cardboard that’s been abandoned at the bottom of the slides. And if you’re looking for maximum speed, throw a little sand on the slide before you go down!
Now it’s time for a little afternoon stroll past Dolores Park (feel free to stop and take photos of the hippies) and over to Valencia Street in the Mission. The Mission is full of amazing shops and restaurants, but you should definitely stop by Dandelion Chocolate and grab yourself an artisan chocolate drink or dessert. I’m a personal fan of their frozen hot chocolate, and their pastries vary weekly based on the pop-up they’re hosting. A cool bonus: if you’d like to tour the facility and learn a little more about the bean-to-bar chocolate making process, just ask. One of the employees will give you a behind-the-scenes peek at no cost.
At this point I’m sure you’re feelin’ pretty thirsty. Walk across the street to Elbo Room for some cheap-ass drinks. Their happy hour is from 5pm-7pm every. single. day. Maybe it’s just me, but there is little in this world that makes a gal happier than a $3 whiskey and ginger beer to round the day’s events out.
Before the day is up, you need to visit one of the city’s super cool breweries, so saunter over to Southern Pacific Brewing Company for dinner. What sets this place apart from other similar places in the city? The food is unfreakingbelievable. Seriously, it’s some of the best food you can find in the city at a reasonable (for San Francisco, that is) price. Throw back some killer brewskis–the California Blonde Extra Pale Ale is a fave of mine!–and you’ll be sure to enjoy the rest of your evening in San Franny.
So that’s my gal San Francisco. Pretty wonderful, right? Keep your peepers peeled for next month’s Travel That, for a new day in a new location.