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San Francisco in Two Days

San Francisco in two days
Written by Edith & Juan

San Francisco in Two Days

The streets, the houses, the neighborhoods, the food, the bay! There’s so much to love about San Francisco.   And with only two days under our belts, we headed towards the main attractions and beautiful destination must sees.  We also went in search of the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge and we found it.

If you’ve never been to San Francisco, you will surely love and enjoy it as much as we did.  Although most places mentioned here are super touristy, there are many ways to get away from the crowd by exploring the neighborhoods and finding lonely parks and trails.  For now, I’ll share the main icons you don’t want to miss.

San Francisco: Day 1

San Francisco Lombard Street

Lombard Street

I understand why this is one of the most photographed street in the nation.  Known as the “crookedest” street (it really isn’t), Lombard street is gorgeous!  Whether you’re sitting at the top of the street enjoying the great view of the city, or standing at the bottom of the street looking at its beauty as cars drive down you will surely also think it’s an adorable street.

We decided to drive it down because of course we wanted that experience.  But know ahead of time, it is known to sometimes have a mile long waiting line.  Luckily we went earlier in the day and didn’t wait too long.  However, taking good pictures from the bottom up was nearly impossible as the place was flooded with tourists.  Next time, we will arrive at sunrise.  That is, if we can get up early enough.

Chinatown San Francisco

Chinatown

The oldest in America and the second largest, Chinatown was definitely an interesting adventure.  Our walk through this ‘city within a city‘ included inexpensive gift shopping and restaurants.  We wandered around with no specific place in mind and just took in the culture and the sights.  Starting at Dragon’s Gate on Bush street, we walked several blocks to the end of Broadway.

As we headed further away from the gate and away from the most crowded areas, we found ourselves walking by more fresh produce markets and immersed with the city Chinese locals.  Walk inside the stores and you will see unique dry foods, some that look good and interesting, and some that make you wonder what the heck you just saw!  But you will also find cheap produce such as the $1 box of strawberries we bought for ourselves.

Ghirardelli Square San Francisco

Ghirardelli Square

Okay, you know the only reason we came here was for some Ghirardelli Salted Caramel ice-cream!  Anyhow, after you buy a delicious dessert, head down Larkin Street towards Beach Street and grab yourself a bench as you relax bay-side.  From here, you will be right next to Hyde Street where you can catch the famous Hyde-Powell Cable Car back up the steep street.  Just be ready to make a long (a very long) line to ride it up.  As much as we wanted to have this experience, we opted to skip this option and instead walked the steep road back to our car.  On the positive side, we were able to burn some, okay maybe 5 percent of the calories we had just eaten!

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Marshall’s Beach

No need to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get the best view of it.  Before heading to San Francisco I researched the places photographers go to capture great pictures of it.  I was blown away by how incredibly close we were to the Bridge from a different perspective, down below.  Marshall’s Beach was fairly lonely and we basically had the place to ourselves.  Just beware that this place is also known for having nude people wandering about.  Didn’t think we would encounter this when we read about it, but we did.  We would share the picture here, but I’ll let you experience this yourselves if you go.

To get to Marshall’s Beach you’ll need to walk down a trail.  Comfortable shoes make a better option than the sandals I wore.  Especially as it darkens.  We highly recommend going during sunset and staying there until the lights of the bridge turn on.  For us, this was the most magical night with a touch of romantic.  The only people around will be a few professional photographers.

San Francisco Day 2

Painted Ladies San Francisco

Alamo Square/Painted Ladies

I HAD to see the beautiful Victorian style houses known as the Painted Ladies.  These are the houses pictured in the intro song of Full House.  Talk about childhood memories!  Unfortunately, Alamo Square park was closed due to renovations.  But this place is known to have people enjoying picnics as they stare out into the houses.  In my case, I really loved seeing them.  Juan on the other hand could care less as he did not grow up watching the show.

Twin Peaks San Francisco

Twin Peaks

Best 360 degree view in the center of the city!   Here you will have access to Eureka and Noe (the twin peaks), a view of the figure 8 street that runs around them, and the most incredible view of the city.  It’s possible you might go picture crazy here.  Just hope there isn’t fog obstructing your view.

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Pier 39

Sitting next to Fisherman’s Wharf or basically part of it, we went to Pier 39 in search of the sea lions.  But Pier 39 also offers other fun things such as street performances, a variety of departing cruises, an aquarium, carousels, and food.  Our first time in San Francisco we took a Golden Gate Bridge cruise which was amazing and a wild ride in the waves, but there is also a more budget friendly option which is taking the water taxi to Sausalito.

Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf

Super touristy but still fun.  We didn’t spend much time here as it mostly offered food and souvenir shopping.  Both of which we had already done. But we did enjoy quickly walking by as we people watched.

 

Battery Spencer San Francisco

Battery Spencer

Another great place to see the Golden Gate Bridge is at Batter Spencer.  Our goal was to stop here and then head to Marin Headlands which also offers amazing views but it was late, and cold!   So before it darkened, we made it to Battery Spencer.  As we drove through the bridge, we were bummed to see that the fog had rolled in and that we wouldn’t get a clear shot.

But as we arrived, we realized how beautiful the bridge looked with fog surrounding it. I have to mention it was freezing (in May) and extremely windy, as in I was blowing away!  Literally.  Because of this, we only lasted a few minutes.  We took a few photographs and decided to skip the trail that follows the street towards Marin Headlands.  Let’s hope you find yourself there on a warmer day!

 

Marshall's Beach San Francisco

What do you love most about San Francisco or what would you like to see most?  Do you know of any best views of the Golden Gate bridge? Please share them!

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About the author

Edith & Juan

From Arizona but temporarily based near California, Edith and her husband Juan created Life Beyond 520 to share inspiration from their local travels and adventures in California and beyond. Edith is the blogger behind these posts, but together they hope to inspire couples and others to get out there and explore new places, including their own city.

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