Travel

Exploring San Francisco!

golden gate bridge - SFO

“San Francisco has only one drawback. ‘Tis hard to leave.”

-Rudyard Kipling

Growing up, I was used to watching the iconicΒ Golden Gate Bridge in movies and tv shows like Full House. Ever since then, San Francisco had been on my wishlist. I was able to cross it off my bucket list about 3 years back when we celebrated our first wedding anniversary in this beautiful city!Β πŸ’•

Now I’ll tell you a little secret of mine – as much as we love visiting new places, we like to take things slowly and make sure we get adequate time to relax. Who wants to come back from a vacation and feel all the more tired?! You know what I mean right? So here’s how we spent a few awesome and memorable days in the city by the bay –

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge

Of course, the first day we landed, we went to see San Francisco’s poster child – the Golden Gate bridge. Seeing something you have always wanted to see since you were a kid makes it a special experience of its own kind.

golden gate bridge san fransisco

Make sure you take a walk on the bridge to capture some of the best scenic views that the city has to offer. And if you are someone who loves biking, you can even choose to rent a bike and ride your way up the bridge.

Visit the famous Lombard Street

The next day we decided to explore the city. We went to a few of the famous, touristy places in the city like Union SquareΒ and walked all the way to ‘Lombard Street.’ Also known as the ‘Zigzag street,’ they say it isΒ one of America’s most crooked streets.

Now my photo skills may not be on point but I tried my best to capture a pic (If you don’t like it, you can blame my camera for it πŸ˜‰)

lombardini street
Lombard Street

You can hop on the cable car ride and get off at Lombard street. But if you don’t mind getting a workout, you can even take a steep walk all the way up! (Mind you, it is not that easy as it looks πŸ˜…) Make sure to stop and watch all the cars slowly maneuver themselves along that super steep road. It’s a little nerve-wracking but super-fun at the same time.

Make your way to Chinatown and Eat your heart out

chinatown san fransisco

Chinatown is pretty close to Lombard Street and if you want to enjoy some lovely food, do not bat an eyelid and just make your way to this place. You’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, getting to see fortune cookies and fresh dim sums being cooked right in front of me was a treat in itself.

Fisherman’s Wharf – Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square and Alcatraz Island

Unarguably, one of the busiest places in San Francisco is theΒ Fisherman’s Wharf – you can walk along this waterfront all the way from Ghiradelli Square to Pier 39. From local restaurants to food chains, street performers to novelty shops, there is a lot to explore.

Now, there are plenty of ways to spend your money here, but one place where you don’t need to spend money is by catching a view of the hundreds of sea lions sun bathing, welcoming you with their barks at Pier 39.

 

sea lions pier 39
Sea lions basking in the sun at Pier 39

We ended that day with a cruise to Alcatraz Island. Booking in advance definitely saves the hassle of having to stand in line to buy tickets. The crisp air and the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the cruise makes the experience a breathtaking one.

 

Google & Apple HQ

Okay, so technically this is not in San Francisco and not many people may do this. But we couldn’t just travel half way across the country and miss the chance to get a sneak peak at these tech giants.

The Google campus is a super chilled out place. Ughh… I so envy all the Google employeesπŸ˜‰ They have an Android statue garden which creates a perfect photo op for visitors. If you are, well, a nerd πŸ€“Β  this short trip away from the cityΒ isΒ totally worth it!

google android statues

As with any place, walking is a great way to explore this scenic city. There are tons of other things to see like the Golden Gate Park, going to the Twin peaks to check out the view of the city, getting all nostalgic by looking at the Painted LadiesΒ (theΒ ‘Full House’ Houses),Β visiting the Aquarium Bay… the list goes on. If only time wouldn’t have been a constraint, I would have loved to explore even more.

golden gate bridge b&w

There are probably a million ways you can capture this beautiful city and this was just a glimpse of what it has to offer.Β 

To sum it up, Β all I can say is – I left a part of my heart back in San Francisco!

** If you are interested in joining my Pinterest Group Board – ‘Awesome Blog Posts,’ follow me on Pinterest and send me a request on smilingnotes@outlook.com or message me on Pinterest.

 

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XOXO

Smiling Notes

 

102 Comments

  • Reply

    sonofabeach96

    March 16, 2016

    Looks like it was a great trip. Only been to San Fran a couple times, and briefly. Beautiful city. πŸ˜ƒ

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      It was a beautiful trip.. wish I could go back some day πŸ™‚

      • Reply

        sonofabeach96

        March 16, 2016

        I’d like to as well. We didn’t spend much time there, as we were headed to Yosimite. Lots to explore though.

        • Reply

          Smiling Notes

          March 16, 2016

          I’ve heard Yosmite is really pretty! 😊

          • sonofabeach96

            March 16, 2016

            Amazing! One of the prettiest places I’ve ever been.

      • Reply

        Nena

        April 2, 2016

        It looks like you had a fantastic time!

  • Reply

    mopana

    March 16, 2016

    It was nice to see San Francisco with a guide like you πŸ™‚

  • Reply

    Moritz

    March 16, 2016

    Lovely guide! San Francisco is one of the cities I totally fell in love with when visiting (here’s what I did in the city: http://traveluxblog.com/san-francisco/)! Can’t wait to return πŸ™‚

  • Reply

    Lifestylebites3

    March 16, 2016

    Lovely pictures and what a great adventure!

  • Reply

    White House Red Door

    March 16, 2016

    One of my favorite cities! We went there on our honeymoon… your beautiful pictures brought back wonderful memories!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      Wow that is so awesome that you went on your honeymoon there! So glad you liked my post 😊

  • Reply

    Tamara Gerber

    March 16, 2016

    Love, love, love San Francisco with every single one of the sights you are talking about! Great pictures, it is really tough to catch Lobard Street. Have you heard of some tricycle race they do on Easter weekend there?

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      Omg a tricycle race? Hadn’t heard about it but that sounds so cool and interesting!!

  • Reply

    Claudia H. Blanton

    March 16, 2016

    those pictures are amazing – you should sell them as postcards on Zazzle – glad you had a great trip!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      That is the sweetest compliment Claudia! It’s really sweet of you to suggest about Zazzle.. I never thought about it before but will definitely think about it now. XoXo

  • Reply

    Erika Kind

    March 16, 2016

    I would love to see San Francisco once. I only flew over it. But already that was impressive since I could see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from above! Fantastic pictures, Shamira!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      Wow getting a view from the plane would have been totally awesome! You should definitely visit some day Erika 😊 Thanks a lot!

  • Reply

    anroworld

    March 16, 2016

    I also would like to leave there my heart! At least, your post did conquer my heart and made me smile! A very nice place, dear! Thank you!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      That is so sweet of you my dear.. I’m so happy you liked my post! Hugs to you 😘

  • Reply

    A Kinder Way

    March 16, 2016

    Gorgeous pictures! When I was little (12ish?) I visited SF and we went to Alcatraz. it was really scary! They put about 10 of us inside a solitary confinement cell and closed the door for 1 minute..literally 1 minute. It was terrifying and left a lasting impression!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      Omg that would have been such a scary experience and you were just a little kid! Just thinking about it gives me shudders! Thanks a lot for checking out my post 😊

      • Reply

        A Kinder Way

        March 16, 2016

        It was weird for sure…everyone started getting antsy right away…then the awkward laughter started. πŸ˜‰ We were all ready to get out.

  • Reply

    simplygailg

    March 16, 2016

    I’m so jealous, I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco. I would have totally visited the Google & Apple HQ’s as well. Looks like you had a great time. I enjoyed the photos. Thanks for sharing! Xoxo

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      Oh you should definitely go some day Gail! Hahaa and I love how you said that you’d totally go visit the Google & Apple HQ as wellπŸ€“ I’m glad you liked my post 😘 xoxo

  • Reply

    Miriam

    March 16, 2016

    Wonderful photos, San Fransisco is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Thanks for taking me there, at least temporarily.

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 16, 2016

      Thanks a lot Miriam.. I’m so glad you liked my post 😊

  • Reply

    Lynz Real Cooking

    March 16, 2016

    Wonderful pictures! I love san fran!

  • Reply

    Freda @ Aromatic essence

    March 16, 2016

    Oh I loved your post Shamira πŸ™‚ awesome a pics !! as you say I have always wanted to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, after seeing it in series like full house etc ! Thankful got a chance last year πŸ™‚ I too enjoyed my stay in the city , indeed very beautiful πŸ™‚ I would love to visit it again and again πŸ˜€

  • Reply

    Love Served Daily

    March 16, 2016

    Loved reading it. Great pics

  • Reply

    youthfoodblog

    March 17, 2016

    Welcome to SF! Glad you enjoyed your stay here.

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      Oh you stay in SF..that is so cool!!! And Yes loved every moment of it and wish I could visit again 😊

  • Reply

    Sakthi

    March 17, 2016

    Looks like best place for vacation! Hope you had plenty of memories in San Fransisco!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      Yup Sakthi.. So many wonderful memories from this lovely city.. Feel like going there again πŸ˜‰

      • Reply

        Sakthi

        March 17, 2016

        The only thing which we carry forward for future is memories πŸ™‚ Hopefully you can go again for your next vacation πŸ™‚

  • Reply

    lynne hoareau

    March 17, 2016

    Shamira, sounds like you had an amazing trip. Your pics are outstanding. Love your post, I felt as if I were travellling πŸ™‚ Thanks for such a beautiful post. πŸ™‚

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      Lynne, thanks a lot for your kind words.. I’m so happy that you liked my post! You are a sweetheart 😘

  • Reply

    Cathy (MummyTravels)

    March 17, 2016

    San Francisco’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and will hopefully be getting there later this year – I think my husband would have fun driving the crooked street (although I’m definitely more about Alcatraz and dim sum!) #traveltuesday

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      Hahaa I would love to hear the experience you guys have after driving on the crooked street! Thanks a lot for checking out my post 😊

  • Reply

    Diana L.

    March 17, 2016

    I saw San Francisco on tv and it was added to my list as well! I love your list of things to do there, I hope I get to visit some time!
    #TravelTuesday

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      Yes San Francisco is really pretty 😊 hope you get to visit it soon. Thanks a lot Diana!

  • Reply

    sewloveable

    March 17, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your fantastic trip. Gorgeous photo’s!

  • Reply

    Tanja

    March 17, 2016

    great photos! I’d like to visit it too!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      thanks a lot! you should definitely visit when you get a chance πŸ™‚

  • Reply

    Yep, you’ve definitely detailed the best things that San Francisco has to offer! I love your photos, and SF, too, had my heart because of Full House! Have you watched the new Fuller House series that just came out? So nostalgic and hilarious, I think you’ll really like it! Thanks for linking up with us!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      Thanks a lot for checking out my post Christy.. and I still have to see ‘Fuller House.’ I heard it’s nice but now that you say it, I’m definitely gonna watch it! I’m sure it will bring back all the memories πŸ™‚

  • Reply

    Carolann

    March 17, 2016

    I just love SF. I was there once and it was for business so I didn’t really get a chance to have be a tourist like I would have loved to do. Next time I go, I’ll be sure to check out all of your suggestions. Love the pics!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      I’m glad you liked my post.. I hope you get to visit SF again! 😊 And I wish I could go there again too.

  • Reply

    anotherlifemoment

    March 17, 2016

    I have been to California but I haven’t gotten the chance to go to San Francisco yet. It looks like you had so much fun and did lots of exciting things! Great photography, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 18, 2016

      Thanks a lot for your sweet words… Hope you get to visit SF soon πŸ™‚ xoxo

  • Reply

    I hear you on coming back for vacations being more tired than when you left. I was never a fan of those, so when my husband and I take vacations we try to take it as easy as possible. I haven’t stepped foot on the west coast yet, but I’ve always wanted San Francisco to be my first destination. It looks like such a beautiful place and from the looks of your suggestions, it’s well worth the trip. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us on #shinebloghop!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 17, 2016

      I’m so glad you can relate with me when it comes to actually getting some real rest in vacations. Many a times people don’t realize it and end up with sore muscles etc after getting back from vacation. You should definitely visit San Fran when you get a chance. Thanks a lot Maria 😊

  • Reply

    nice2beme

    March 18, 2016

    I think it`s a wonderful city. I`ve been twice to the USA but on the opposite side. One day I wish to visit this place of happy people and enjoy the view of San Francisco by my own eyes)

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 19, 2016

      I hope you get to visit soon! Have a wonderful day. xoxo

  • Reply

    fifi + hop

    March 18, 2016

    I used to live in SF and couldn’t get enough of the Golden Gate bridge…lots of great hiking and beautiful scenery in Marin too. Chinatown always a fave!

  • Reply

    Grey World Nomads

    March 19, 2016

    Interesting, I’d like to visit SF, after all we had to see so many movies with that background 😝

  • Reply

    jacquelineobyikocha

    March 20, 2016

    This looks really great. I fancy that street and would not mind nosing about a bit over there. Lovely pictures πŸ™‚

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 24, 2016

      Hi Jacqueline.. sorry for the late reply. That street is indeed fascinating.. although going up the street wasn’t that easy πŸ˜€ Thanks a lot.

  • Reply

    loved the click makes me wanna pack my bags and head straight to SFO. Hope you had a great trip…Enjoy have a fab day ahead

    http://www.mumbaitomelbourne.com/food-and-health-blog-posts/saffron-rice-kheer-keshar-and-tandla-chi-kheer

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 21, 2016

      Thanks a lot Sharvari! So glad you liked my post. xoxo

  • Reply

    Book Club Mom

    March 22, 2016

    My family and I took a trip to SFO last summer. I had never been to California and it was fun to see and cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Our visit was short so now we have some good reasons to return!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 22, 2016

      Wow I’m sure you must have had a lot of fun! I too feel like returning there again! 😊

  • Reply

    sarithakumbakkara

    March 28, 2016

    Mind blowing pix! SFO looks amazingly beautiful through your lens!

  • Reply

    Kacy

    March 28, 2016

    I love San Francisco! I was there for the second time at the beginning of the month and fell even more in love. I agree, though, Lombard Street is hard to photograph! Glad you had a great trip!

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      March 28, 2016

      Yup we had an amazing trip! SFO is truly wonderful 😊 Thanks a lot for checking out my post.

  • Reply

    Packing my Suitcase

    April 7, 2016

    A lovely post about this lovely town!! I love SF πŸ˜€
    So cool that you ticked this item off your bucket list, certainly a must!
    Great tips!! I hope to return someday and spend more time πŸ˜€

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes πŸ˜€

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      April 7, 2016

      Thanks a lot! SFO is one of my favorite places! 😊

  • Reply

    Kat

    April 13, 2016

    I love San Francisco! I was there in 1995 – omg, 21 years ago! The photos were obviously film and are kept in the photo albums in my hometown. Would love to visit the city again, who knows, perhaps one day πŸ™‚

    • Reply

      Smiling Notes

      April 14, 2016

      Wow I’m sure you must have awesome memories of your time there! Hope you get to visit again Kat 😘

  • Reply

    I would really love to travel to San Francisco one day! I am jealous

  • Reply

    businesstravelerswife

    May 19, 2016

    Great post! πŸ™‚ We’ll be visiting San Francisco next weekend. I’ll take note of these.

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  • Reply

    Alok Singhal

    September 13, 2016

    We spent a couple of days in April this year and absolutely loved it.
    Except China Town and Google, we pretty much covered what you did and started with GG too 😊
    It’s an amazing place.

    For the Sea Lions, we saw them along Highway 1 on our way back to SFO from LA.

    • Reply

      smilingnotes

      September 13, 2016

      Isn’t SFO so beautiful, Alok?! I wish I could go back again some day! 😊

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  • Reply

    bethany1980

    September 20, 2016

    I love your photos thanks so much for sharing them.

    • Reply

      smilingnotes

      September 20, 2016

      Glad you liked them Bethany. Thank you so much πŸ’•

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