When my parents said they were heading to California for a wedding, my sister and I didn’t really hesitate in asking to tag along. I have always dreamed of moving here. I’ve even been looking at home in the nearby community of River Island. There is something about the River Islands lifestyle that really appealed to me and its a commutable distance from the wonderful San Francisco. We were gone for a very magical ten days, and got to see San Francisco, Palo Alto, Napa, and Walnut Creek. I thought for a bit about if I wanted to share all the fun things we did (and, let’s be real, delicious things we ate) with you, as Her Philly is a Philadelphia-based blog, but as a very wise friend told me: “people can’t really expect that you never leave the city, right?” And that’s true (unless you’re referring to the suburbs, of course), so, here we are. If you’re only here for the Philly goods: I promise there will be more of that very soon!
We stayed at the Hilton Union Square (333 O’Farrell Street) in a room with a beautiful view of the city. We arrived late afternoon, and after a full day of traveling and a very obvious lack of airplane snacks, we were dying for some grub. Colibrí Mexican Bistro (438 Geary Street) was an excellent choice, and the empanadas, tacos, guac, and so many margaritas were the perfect way to start our trip. Afterwards, we did some shopping in Union Square, including buying my sister a jacket, because it. is. cold in that city!
The next day we headed over to the very popular Fisherman’s Wharf. Before our scheduled Alcatraz tour, we walked in some shops and visited Ghirardelli Square (900 North Point Street). I thoroughly enjoyed chocolate sample after chocolate sample while browsing the very pretty things in elizabethW (900 North Point).
Word to the wise about the ol Alcatraz Tour: buy your tickets ahead of time! Being the planner that I am, I had our tickets ready, but when we arrived, they were selling tickets for over a month in advance at the ticket booth. Once we were at our pier, we struggled to find something for lunch before we took the ferry over, but then Sammy’s Aloha (Pier 33 Embarcadero) appeared. My Teriyaki Beef Cobb Salad was incredible.
Alcatraz was a great experience. The audio tour was quick, but great, centering mostly around the escape attempts (so fascinating!). I was most surprised to learn that the guard’s families lived on the island with them – it was almost like a mini community out there. The current inhabitants of the prison structures are seagulls, and so many of their babies. Pretty cute.
After returning to land, we went in some shops – I loved Proper Fox (552 Columbus Avenue) – and stopped at a few old Italian bars before dinner. Tony Nik’s (1534 Stockton Street) was so cool (my dad was in heaven), and our super nice bartender gave us recommendations for the rest of the evening. After a few more rum & diets at Gino & Carlo Cocktail Lounge (548 Green Street), our table was finally ready at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (1570 Stockton Street). Any place that boasts “home of 11 time World Pizza Champion” is a place I can get down with. The food was out of control, including the 1 of 25 “Meatball Gigante” made every day, and the Cal Italia pizza, a winning dish on the Food Network Pizza Challenge show. Time for a very happy pizza/rum-induced slumber.
The next day we shopped around Union Square, because that’s what the women in my family do. We made our way to Mikkeller Bar (34 Mason Street), which was absolutely delicious. We then decided to venture into Chinatown, which was huge, but I did not feel confident enough to conquer. I did love the Urban Sidewalk (218 Columbus Avenue) store, so many cute things! We had a drink at Calzone’s (430 Columbus Avenue) and met friends for dinner at Sodini’s (510 Green Street), which reminded me of an Italian grandmother’s house. It was also delicious. We obviously couldn’t finish an Italian meal without dessert, so Stella Pastry and Cafe (446 Columbus Avenue) hit the freaking spot.
And with that, our time in San Francisco was over! The next day we were off to Palo Alto, for robot hotel delivery services and tech company sightings left and right. Thanks for coming along on my trip with me! xx