My mom and I got the chance to go back to California this year, but this time we didn’t go to SoCal. We planned a trip to San Francisco in California’s northern part of the state.
I knew that the weather wasn’t going to be warm like the southern part of California, but I also didn’t think it would be as cold as it was! We originally picked the month of September to visit because it was said to be one of the warmest months. (Sept & Oct). I brought my North Face jacket incase and ended up wearing it 80% of the time. (I do get cold easily though). It was warmer inland, but a light jacket was definitely needed. So if you go to San Francisco or the Bay Area, bring a jacket!
The first day was probably the only time The Golden Gate Bridge was NOT covered in fog! The rest of the time, I couldn’t get a clear picture of the bridge.😢 I was able to capture the picture above on the way to our Airbnb.
We booked our Airbnb in Mill Valley instead of staying in the city. Mill Valley is located north of San Fransisco (about 14 miles) near Muir Woods. We literally stayed in the middle of the forest which was so quiet and peaceful. We could hear the leaves fall from the trees onto the ground. That’s how quiet it was! It was a little creepy at night though because there was little to no light in the area. Getting lost was very easy! LOL! I almost cried when we did get lost at night!
Since we landed late in the afternoon, we didn’t have much planned besides going to dinner. We had reservations at Scoma’s in Sausalito. The restaurant is located on the ocean with city views of San Fran. After dinner, we called it a night. We were exhausted after the flight.
We woke up early the next morning and walked over to Cascade Falls. This is supposed to be a small water fall about 10 minutes walking from our place. There wasn’t a lot of water, but the locals said they were surprised there was even any at this time of the year. They mentioned that the water fall is most active during the Winter.
After spending some time in the woods, we headed to San Fran for the day. We stayed on the Pier the whole time before lunch, mostly by Pier 39. Here we got to see sea lions and a good view of Alcatraz.
We had lunch reservations at Fog Harbor Fish House. It was right on Pier 39 which was super convenient and they had amazing views of the bay.
Shortly after lunch, we walked over to Pier 33 where we got on the ferry to Alcatraz Island. I purposely chose the night tour because I thought it would make the experience more eerie. And it did! The night tour also had a good view of the city & the Oakland Bay Bridge lit up at night!
On Saturday, we started the day with a bridge to bridge tour with Red & White Fleet. I’m glad we did this because despite the fog, we still got a good view of The Golden Gate Bridge. It’s crazy because this bridge would be covered with fog, but The Oakland Bay Bridge was so clear!
After the boat tour, we went over to Aquarium of the Bay. I personally wanted to go here because of the tunnels they have filled with different fish, sharks, rays, and other sea creatures. It was absolutely beautiful to look at. It’s something you have to see in person compared to looking at photos.
After spending more time on Pier 39, we took a LYFT to Embarcadero, where we had dinner reservations at EPIC Steak. This was probably one of the best meals we had throughout our trip. I heard about this place from work and it definitely met all expectations! We also had very nice seating outside by the Oakland Bay Bridge. The sun was getting ready to set soon, so the view was amazing!
After dinner, we decided to walk back to the car, which was at Pier 39. It was about a 30 minute walk, but the views of the city at night were breathtaking with the fog! The weather wasn’t too cold either, making it almost perfect for a walk along the waterfront.
On Sunday, we drove up the mountain to Muir Woods at 8 a.m! I made early reservations so we could beat the crowds and sure enough we did! Since it was early though, it was very foggy and there was a little bit of mist. It was also a little cool, but bearable with a jacket and hoodie underneath. It was my mom’s idea to see the Red Woods, but I’m glad we made the stop. The trees were so old and SO TALL! It was interesting to say the least!
After freshening up at our Airbnb, we headed into the city for brunch at The Garden Court at The Palace Hotel.
This place was so gorgeous! The whole reason I wanted to eat brunch here was because of the atmosphere! The food was delicious as well! My only complaint is the service was really bad. Other than that, I would totally go back for brunch or lunch again! They also have tea time on Saturdays. Even if you don’t eat or stay here, it’s worth visiting!
After The Palace Hotel, my mom wanted to check out Chinatown. She wasn’t very impressed, so we didn’t spend much time here! LOL! Some business owners proceeded to tell us many tourist didn’t come around as much because San Fran was going down hill with homeless people and the city being dirty. I’m not sure how true that is, but we just visited and passed by.
Later in the day, we had our last dinner reservations I made for our trip! I had also heard about this restaurant from work and figured we would give it a try while we were in town! This place was called Sutro’s at the Cliff House.
We had the best seat, ever! We got to watch the sunset right over the ocean from our table! This was hands down the best view we had on the trip! The food was good too, but nothing beat the sunset we had!
Monday was our last full day in California, so I made sure to go to Battery Spencer for a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alamo Square Park to see the Painted Ladies, and Union Square for some shopping and riding the infamous cable car! Monday was probably the warmest day too since we were more inland!
Before ending our trip and heading to the airport, we stopped at the Golden Gate Park. Dahlia Garden was sooooo pretty! I’m glad we got to see all the lovely flowers they had planted! I wanted to stop at the Japanese Tea Garden to see the cherry blossom tree, but it wasn’t the season unfortunately! Hopefully next time around though!
San Francisco definitely had its beautiful parts of the city and I’m glad I decided to visit, but I think my heart is in SoCal. I love the warmer weather and the beaches in Los Angeles! I would visit again if I have the chance, but it wouldn’t be my first pick in California. It was nice to see the difference between the two cities though! Northern Cali and SoCal have so much in common, yet so many differences. If you haven’t been to California in general, you must book a trip! A whole new world on the West Coast!