On my long list of cities in the world I want to visit, San Francisco has been near the top for a good long time. I've always known its beautiful, seems livable, and obviously lovable. We spent a couple days here because I just wanted a 60-hour date with my new boyfriend, San Fran.
Our first full day, we WALKED. We started towards the Ferry Building to try the "city's best coffee" at Blue Bottle, which has chicory, adding a subtle, delicious spice and grabbed some sandwiches to sit along the water and admire it all.
Making our way to the 'touristy' area, Fisherman's Wharf, we wandered in and out a few buildings and exhibits. Upon arriving to Ghirardelli Square, you are handed a Ghirardelli chocolate before you walk through a store with every possible flavor. It's colorful and overwhelming.
The J&J-All-Day walking tour then headed towards the Mrs. Doubtfire house. We heard that there were lovely messages and flowers for Robin Williams all over the property and we wanted to add something. Turns out, the man who lives there now is one of the top sex-change surgeons in the country. Irony at its finest.
We walked through Chinatown, which is the biggest Chinatown in the country, and Jenny treated me to Dim Sum, tapas-style portions of doughy balls with various fillings.
We stumbled into the strangest /coolest store that was filled with odd costumes and run by these older women who were twins. (disclaimer: We only saw one of them. She kept going into the back to speak to the other twin, but we NEVER saw her...) This woman was dressed in head-to-toe black including a head wrap and tight, black-rimmed glasses on her face. Looking back, I am unsure if this place was real.
Spent the rest of the day walking the Haight-Ashbury district, the designated Hippie neighborhood, and found some of the best thrift shops, book shops, record shops and local brews of the city. In most of the stores you weren't allowed to take pictures because they sell such odd trinkets made of animal teeth, or eyes, or who knows what. Needless to say, we went back the next day too.
The following day we explored the outdoors! We started down at the beach and walked through Golden Gate park from there. Well, actually we had a friend pick us up in the middle of the park cause it was just too big. We walked through the Shakespeare Gardens, where all the flowers referenced in Shakespeare's plays are planted.
That night we went to the Mission district. And I think I probably found the best coffee shop that I have ever come across. Its inexpensive, varied, and they make your coffee by the cup. Its a very personable experience. Just you and one of the baristas. They do all of the work, but you feel somewhat involved. Philz also has a "mint mojito" - some iced coffee concoction with muddled mint. On a hot day like that, it was all you needed.
The final destination of the evening was at Amnesia, a bar in the Mission with a speakeasy kind of feel that had a killer live band, Gaucho, accompanied by a crowd of hipsters doing the fox-trot. These dancers were phenomenal and after grooving to one song, Jenny and I decided we were too untalented and in awe of the real dancers, so we just stood along the wall to marvel.
And with that, San Francisco gave me the best first impression a city ever could. It was so welcoming of culture, creativity, and tourists. I'll be back soon, SF. I may have even left my heart there...