I just spent a wonderful weekend in San Francisco – after not having visited in this century – and I’m so happy to say it is not the zombie dystopian nightmare some news reports would have you believe.
I met up with a friend who loves a good weekend getaway as much as I do, and we had 48 hours to explore it all. We stayed in Fisherman’s Wharf, centrally located and within walking distance of the Financial District, Ghirardelli Square, North Beach and Little Italy, and Russian Hill. It made for the perfect home base. Shops, bars, and restaurants were busy but not overcrowded, everyone was friendly, and we never felt unsafe.
Saturday was sunny and beautiful. After breakfast and mimosas overlooking the water, we indulged our inner tourists and took the cable car from the wharf to Powell Street. (I can’t recommend the experience enough – they’re a San Francisco institution for a reason!) Union Square was bustling. We did a bit of window shopping and stopped for caffeine then wandered back toward the Port. Unbeknownst to us, the Port regularly hosts a thriving farmers’ and open-air market featuring local artisans, jewelers, and craftspeople. It was the perfect place to take a quick break and indulge in some first-rate people watching.
One of my friend’s bucket list items was walking the Golden Gate Bridge. We went through the Presidio and Golden Gate Park before crossing, stopping briefly to check out the images of the bridge during construction and throughout the last ninety years. The sidewalk gates are closely monitored and open from sunrise to sunset. Known for incredible city and bay views that do not disappoint, walking the full length of the bridge and back takes about 40 minutes, covering roughly three miles. It got a little breezy at one point, so our selfies have a certain windblown look that makes them even better. It was a fantastic experience.
Cocktails on the outdoor patio at Café Pellegrini in North Beach before a streetside dinner at Luisa’s rounded out the day.
On our way to the airport the next morning, I was struck by how relaxing the whole weekend had been. We’d intentionally made no plans, choosing instead to let the hours unfold as we explored. We wandered main streets and side streets without issues, never feeling unsafe or in danger. I’m sure there are pockets and areas to avoid, just like in any city or metro area, but I left San Francisco just as in love and just as charmed as I had been the first time I visited – way back in the late nineteen hundreds.