The big 3-0: Day twenty two – San Fran continued!

Welcome back my dear readers! Last time out on the blog I was writing about the start of mine and Haleigh’s time in San Francisco and so on to the next part of the story!

For those of you only just stumbling upon this series, we’re three weeks in to a 30 day trip back in the summer of 2018. I’d flown over to the US for a friend’s wedding, which fell two days before my 30th birthday, so went all out to celebrate with a big trip!

One of the places I was determined to visit on this trip was San Francisco! That said, I didn’t go with a huge list of things I wanted to see or do in San Fran. Me and Haleigh were largely winging it and with the exception of a few obvious points of interest, didn’t actually have much planned for our stay in the city.

Keeping that in mind, we woke up and didn’t really have much of a plan for our day. We’d already seen the Golden Gate bridge, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghiradelli Square. Meanwhile we had plans to visit Alcatraz tomorrow so had a lot of the first-time-visit stuff ticked off.

After a slow and relaxing start to our morning we left our AirBnB and made our way in to downtown San Francisco once again. We kicked off our day by visiting Chinatown – supposedly the oldest in North America and the largest such enclave outside of Asia which is pretty cool!

Given its popularity, I have to say it didn’t feel anywhere near as touristy as London’s own Chinatown. We wandered up and down the streets, snapping photos along the way whilst admiring all of the decorations hanging above our heads.

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Chinatown, San Francisco, California

Chinatown quickly morphs in to San Francisco’s ‘Little Italy’. On the outskirts of both there was this little bookstore I’d read about that I thought Haleigh would enjoy visiting. It was no Powell’s Books and I wouldn’t say it was worthwhile going particularly out of your way for but it was a nice little detour. Haleigh surprisingly escaped without buying anything which was some achievement!

The slow and relaxed start to our morning had set the tone for the rest of the day. There was no rushing around today, we just embraced being in San Francisco and explored at a much slower pace than you sometimes do when traveling. So it was conveniently lunchtime by the time we’d stumbled upon Little Italy.

Little Italy seemed as good a place as any to think about grabbing some lunch! There’s a few places to eat along the main street but we passed this historic and authentic-feeling Italian restaurant which seemed like the best option – our Italian host definitely added a dash of authenticity which was enough to tempt us inside.

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U.S Restaurant, San Francisco

It was a really enjoyable lunch and the service was really good too, it was a great choice for lunch. Rather than grab dessert here, we figured we’d try out a dessert place that we could see across the street.

We grabbed some gelato and then found ourselves a table outside to enjoy the glorious sunshine. A few moments later this funky looking van drove by and I was really beginning to feel like we were in California.

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After a little more people-watching we hopped on a bus and headed across town to the Golden Gate Park. The Golden Gate Park is essentially San Francisco’s Central Park equivalent – it’s huge!

It’s home to botanical gardens, Japanese gardens, museums, windmills and so much more. You could easily spend an entire day trying to see everything the park has to offer. We had a bit of a wander before finding ourselves a patch of grass to sit down, relax and soak up the atmosphere.

This was Saturday afternoon in California in the height of the summer – it was inevitably busy with people enjoying picnics, kids riding bicycles, dogs running around. There was such a feel-good mood around us and it was impossible to not get swept away by it. Me and Haleigh spent an age chatting and people-watching. Why would you want to be anywhere else on a day like this? It was bliss.

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Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Much like the beach spot from the previous day, and Central Park too for that matter, I could see myself spending many a day at Golden Gate Park if I was a local. Nevertheless we dragged ourselves away and caught the bus back towards the downtown area.

We passed the famous ‘Painted Ladies’ before stopping off around the city hall for a look around. We grabbed a few photos but, aside from a couple of outdoor exhibits from the Asian Art museum on the other side of the square, there wasn’t too much in the area.

City Hall

It had been a pretty relaxed day all around. We headed back to our AirBnB for a bit before making dinner plans. We decided to check out San Fran’s ‘Cheesecake Factory’ which was a first for me.

I don’t know what I really expected but they’re seemingly really popular! We had to wait a little while before getting a table, which wasn’t so bad because they had an outside balcony overlooking Union Square and allowed us to enjoy the view.

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Union Square, San Francisco

Eventually we were taken to a table and I got to see why the Cheesecake Factory was so popular. Despite the misleading name, the menu is a fussy eater’s dream! I think they have just about everything you can think of on their menu – it was overloaded with choices. We had a nice evening, although didn’t have the dessert we wanted so we skipped out on that and called it a night.

We made our way back to our AirBnB and watched a little Netflix. Overall it was a much slower-paced day but still a thoroughly enjoyable one and we’d covered a lot of the San Francisco area in our two days. There was just one last “must see” left on our itinerary – Alcatraz!

More on that next time around! Stay tuned!

Jason

P.S – if you want to read previous days of this trip, see below!
Day one – Chicago bound
Day two – exploring Chicago
Day three – Minneapolis
Day four – Why I visited Minneapolis!
Day five – New Orleans!
Day six – The real New Orleans!
Day seven – Goodbye New Orleans, Hello Washington
Day eight – Exploring Poulsbo!
Day nine – Wedding day!
Day ten – To Portland!
Day eleven – the actual 3-0!
Day twelve – Oregon City and Portland
Day thirteen – Walla Walla bound!
Day fourteen – Walla Walla
Day fifteen – The family BBQ!
Day sixteen – the Vegas finale!
Day seventeen – Back to Oregon!
Day eighteen – Exploring Oregon’s coast!
Day nineteen – California pit stop!
Day twenty – San Francisco bound!
Day twenty one – San Francisco begins!

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jasonlikestotravel

I'm Jason and from a little place in England. Here to just talk about my various adventures. Hopefully you find some inspiration or just enjoy hearing my stories :)

26 thoughts on “The big 3-0: Day twenty two – San Fran continued!”

  1. It’s good to have the slower days, especially on a long trip. Sometimes you just need to soak a place up rather being ‘doing’ all the time. Look forward to hearing about Alcatraz!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. The start to the trip was really busy so a few slower days along the way was much needed.
      Alcatraz should be a fun one to write about / read πŸ™‚

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    1. Haha we did enjoy some other great food. It’s definitely a city I’ll return to too so hopefully I’ll get to enjoy even more next time πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ace, as ever, Jason. You write America well. I’m intrigued particularly with the idea of Chinatown morphing into Little Italy – what a brilliant image this conjures! I hope there was one restaurant at that vague border that offered bolognese with noodles and Peking Duck with pasta! And if not, why not?! Safe journeys soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Nick. A border-style restaurant serving up both sounds pretty wonderful! I can’t recall seeing one but it’s a good idea!

      Hope you’re well πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so glad to see there’s another post about San Francisco. Intrigued by its name, I had to Google The Cheese Factory right away, Jason. They have things like chocolate caramelicious cheesecake made with snickers, how amazingly delicious is that! Thanks for sharing and have a good day. Aiva πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m glad I was able to introduce you to The Cheesecake Factory. I think they’re based all over the US. I’d heard of them but it was the first time I’d had the chance to eat at one.
      Have a good day too! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You just brought back a flood of memories for me as I grew up a couple hours from there and used to spend weekends wandering the nooks and crannies of SF. I always imagined myself growing up and moving there to live a fabulous city life but fate somehow took me a whole different direction. Lovely photos and story!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I was able to bring back some good memories from your time growing up! Life certainly doesn’t always lead in the direction we think but I’m sure it all worked out for the best that you didn’t end up in SF πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds like you had such a good time in San Francisco. It’s a city that I definitely want to visit someday because it’s supposed to have such relaxed vibes. And I’m sure I’d find great vegan food there, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, I’ve only just seen this. Your comment went to spam for some reason! I’m sure you’d love San Francisco, it’s a wonderful city and I’ve no doubt you’d find some great vegan options too! πŸ™‚

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  6. I’ve learned to incorporate a day like this one into my travel itinerary, where you have a few places you could visit but you don’t have to. It allows you to revisit something else or wander down a completely random path. San Francisco is a great city to do it!

    I’m still a little horrified that you didn’t have cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory! I LOVE the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s good to take a step back and just enjoy your surroundings. San Francisco certainly was a good place to do it.

      I didn’t want any slanderous accusations because I can’t remember 100% but I’m sure a NY style cheesecake was actually the unavailable dessert we wanted. That said, it was three years ago now and my memory is foggy and it seems absurd that the cheesecake factory would be lacking in cheesecake haha.

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  7. My memories of San Fran are so hazy – I really must get back. Sounds like you had a great relaxed day Those are some of the best while traveling, especially when they’re interspersed with the busier sightseeing days.

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    1. San Francisco is a wonderful place, hope you get to visit at some point! Glad you enjoyed the post, I don’t feel like this was one of my better ones so hopefully you’ll enjoy others in the series even more. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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