I spent my birthday in my all-time favorite U.S. city: San Francisco!
It was a quick turnaround, but well worth the trip. I arrived late Wednesday night (or technically Thursday morning) and spent most of Thursday relaxing by myself until my best friend, Cynthia, arrived just in time for a late dinner and drinks. Then Friday was all about hitting the ground running!
◊ Palace of the Fine Arts
My mother told me about this random place near Golden Gate Park from her co-worker called The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre was originally built for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in 1915, but now serves as a venue for large events. I don’t know how I never knew about this gorgeous place, but I am glad we made our way over. After our photoshoot, we spent a couple of hours just sitting and enjoying the beautiful 70-degree weather. It could not have been a better way to start the day!
◊ Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39
When I was last in San Francisco, I walked Fisherman’s Wharf early in the day when it was foggy. It was nice to see it illuminated by the sun and see everyone out enjoying the day. We didn’t really have a mission with being here except to get my souvenir shot glass, see the seals at Pier 39, and to catch a glimpse of the bridge.
We made our way over to Ghirardelli Square where I was able to see part of the bridge, and eventually headed off to lunch. What I particularly enjoy about this whole area is that you can sit anywhere from the benches near the docks or in the green of Ghirardelli Square and have an oceanfront view. Aside from maybe a picnic, this is my idea of a perfect day outdoors.
We were only briefly at this bar for happy hour, but I felt it worth mentioning for any of my fellow gin-lovers out there! This is a gin bar and their menu is extensive to say the least. You can get other drinks that do not contain gin, of course, but you should at least try one of their many gin cocktails. This is a place I definitely plan to visit again when I am back because there is just so much to choose from. As expected, the drinks are pricey, but they were large–at least my Tiki G&T was! You can check out their full menu on their website.
◊ Smuggler’s Cove
We had to pry ourselves out of bed to get out on Friday night because not only are we old at heart, but we were also still recovering from the ridiculous meal we had for lunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food. Smuggler’s Cove, however, was a great way to end our trip. After some research, I found out that the owner of this bar is actually a co-owner of Whitechapel! Smuggler’s Cove is a tiny tiki bar that can only really be spotted by the line outside–otherwise, you would just think it’s the entrance to the apartments above it. I feel I should emphasize tiny because they really have to be strict about how many people they allow into the bar despite the fact that it is two stories (yay for safety!). Still, they also had a really cool menu that offered an array of tropical rum cocktails and there’s a little waterfall with neon lights that I naturally gravitated towards. It’s a great choice for a lowkey night!
♦ Transportation and Lodging:
Cynthia and I stayed at Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street. The location was very central, but I had more than a couple of grievances while staying there. I am not really the type to file complaints, however, I had to reason with myself and realize that I was in fact a paying customer and that my expectations were not met. Long story short, I would only recommend this hotel if you are only looking to come back to your room to change and sleep, but would prefer to be centrally located. It was very outdated and clear why it was discounted across all hotel sites.
For transportation, we utilized uber and Lyft. uber and Lyft are headquartered in San Francisco so there are more than enough drivers in the city. For most of our rides, we used expressPOOL which is an uber service that is new to me. It is apparently branching across different states, but basically you pay even less than uberPOOL to walk a short distance to meet your driver. When I say a short distance, I do mean short. I obviously would not recommend this option for anybody who feels unsafe at night in an unknown city or is carrying luggage, but for going out and about in the city, it was the perfect option. Any other time, such as going to and from the airport, we used Lyft Line. Dallas, please step it up.
♦ Total costs:
Lyft: $37.26 (including the trip to the airport)
ALL (excluding costs of food and drinks): $52.74
So obviously from the totals above, we did not do any activities that required payment which is something that made me fall in love with San Francisco when I first visited. To me, it’s like being in Europe because all of the sightseeing attractions are outside and you can spend a day in so many different parks across the San Francisco metropolis when the weather is great. Not to mention, the city itself is extremely diverse. If I had to give any tips, it would be to dress in preparation for strong winds at any moment and prepare to eat some very large meals. Though most of my meals were expensive, the portions were ridiculously large. I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but it was to the point that I started to feel guilty about how much people consume and how much food was going to waste. But for some, it is always good to get your money’s worth.
For the two days I was there, I admittedly did not do much, but that gives me yet another reason to return to this beautiful city. Cynthia passed on some words of wisdom from her co-worker to me: There is traveling and then there are vacations. This birthday trip was a vacation and I spent it in the best, most relaxing way. Let’s just hope another three years doesn’t pass by before I make my way over again. ❤
Thank you again to everyone who wished me a happy birthday!! If you haven’t already, I’d love if you would check out my previous post reflecting on what I think 24 has in store for me. 🙂
As always, please make sure you are following me on Snapchat (@alexasdrawde) and Instagram (on the sidebar) to see what is happening live on my trips!!