A Perfect Getaway to San Francisco, California

A few years ago, we had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in San Francisco. From Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, to the Golden Gate Bridge, there are plenty of sights to be seen in the city of San Francisco.  Clearly two days is not enough time to see everything that this wonderful city has to offer, but we took full advantage of the time that we had.  It is a friendly city with a wonderful climate that seems to just make you feel relaxed and at home during your time there.

Sea Lions at Pier 39 in Fisherman's Wharf
Sea Lions at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf
Grant Avenue, the Main Street in Chinatown
Grant Avenue, the Main Street in Chinatown
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San Francisco Skyline

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without wandering the streets of Chinatown and exploring the shops and eating authentic Chinese food in one of the many restaurants.  There are other cities with their own Chinatown districts, like New York and Chicago, but Chinatown in San Francisco is the oldest and largest in the United States.  In fact it is the largest anywhere outside of Asia.  Chinatown is a city within a city with its own vibrant culture and crowded and colorful streets.

Entrance to Chinatown
Entrance to Chinatown
Chinatown Mural
Chinatown Mural
Streets of Chinatown
Streets of Chinatown

The city is definitely very walkable, but there are a lot of hills, so you need to be in shape if you are considering that approach.  A better option, however, is hopping on and off of the trolley cars as they are an excellent way to get around as well.  Along with the Golden Gate Bridge, the trolley cars are one of the images that immediately come to mind when people think of San Francisco.  They are also a great way to get to Fisherman’s Wharf, which is famous for its restaurants, boating excursions, sea lions, and family activities.

San Francisco Trolley
San Francisco Trolley
Irish Pub
Irish Pub
Sea Lions Playing at Pier 39
Sea Lions Playing at Pier 39

Pier 39, which is the pier with the most attractions in Fisherman’s Wharf, can be a full day’s worth of activities, with plenty to do during the day as well as at night.  While we were there, we watched the sea lions play on the pier and had clam chowder and drinks at one of the many restaurants.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take one of the tours out to Alcatraz Island, but there was no missing its presence out in the bay.  We had driven over the Golden Gate Bridge on our way into the city, but it was even more impressive seeing it from the pier.  As the day came to an end, the famous fog rolled in and engulfed the bridge.  We were there in January, so as the day came to a close, the temperatures dropped quickly.

Alcatraz
Alcatraz
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Fog Close Up
Fog Rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge

There is a carousel in the center of the shops at the pier, which is colorful during the day, but even more so at night when the lights are all lit.  We couldn’t resist the temptation to release our inner child and take a ride on the carousel.  There was also an artist drawing caricatures, so we decided to sit and have one done of the two of us.  We’d had them done of the kids in the past, but this was the first time we decided to do that for ourselves.  There a many restaurants to choose from in Fisherman’s Wharf and we went to a couple, including Scoma’s Restaurant on Pier 47 for dinner.  

Pete and Dona on the Carousel
Pete and Dona on the Carousel
Our Caricature
Our Caricature
Dessert at Scoma's Restaurant
Dessert at Scoma’s Restaurant

San Francisco is definitely a destination that should be visited as it is beautiful and has so many things to see and do.  We’ll definitely be back in the future to see more that the city has to offer, but any amount of time is worth spending in this wonderful city.  Clearly, our night at Fisherman’s Wharf was the highlight of our stay, but dining and shopping in Chinatown will forever linger in our memories forever.

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

We’ve been to several marinas with restaurants, boat tours, and amusement rides over the years. Some that come to mind are the Navy Pier in Chicago, the  marina in Cabo San Lucas, and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. We had a great time shopping, eating, and watching the sea lions while we were there. It is a wonderful place for the whole family as well as for couples with lots to do. The smell of the salt air, the fresh seafood, the views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge all make visiting the wharf an amazing experience.

Sea Lions on the Pier
Sea Lions on the Pier
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf

We ate incredible clam chowder for lunch with traditional San Francisco sourdough bread while we were at pier 39. For dinner we went to a very nice restaurant called Scoma’s, which was fairly expensive but well worth the money. There were several dinner cruise options that will take you out into the bay to see Alcatraz close-up, but we chose not to do that on this particular trip back in 2014.

Dessert at Scoma's
Dessert at Scoma’s

Fog Close UpYes, it can be a little touristy, but we felt that it was still worth visiting. You can easily spend hours just watching the sea lions as they dive off of the docks or chest-butt each other to express their superiority over each other. The carousel and the arcades are certainly a lot of fun and there are plenty of shops to buy some souvenirs. The food, however, is the star of the show as far as we’re concerned. Fisherman’s Wharf is definitely worth visiting if you’re in San Francisco , you won’t be disappointed.

Carousel
Carousel
Sea Lions Playing at Pier 39
Sea Lions Playing at Pier 39

 

San Francisco – A Romantic Destination

We had taken advantage of a work trip two years ago to spend a couple of days in San Francisco. Clearly two days is not enough time to see everything that this wonderful city has to offer, but we took full advantage of the time that we had. From Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf or hopping on one of the famed trolleys, there are plenty of memories to be made in whatever time you have in San Francisco.  Although many of the cities we’ve visited in Europe have inspired romance, this was probably one of the most romantic cities we’ve ever visited here in the United States.

San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Skyline
Sea Lions at Pier 39 in Fisherman's Wharf
Sea Lions at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf
Grant Avenue, the Main Street in Chinatown
Grant Avenue, the Main Street in Chinatown

We spent a good portion of our first day wandering the shops of Chinatown and eating authentic Chinese food in the many restaurants.  There are other cities with their own Chinatown districts, like New York and Chicago, but Chinatown in San Francisco is the oldest and largest in the United States.  In fact it is the largest anywhere outside of Asia.  The history of Chinese immigration to California is definitely a sordid one, which is unfortunately the case with many of the immigrant populations throughout our country’s evolution, but today Chinatown is a vibrant center with a proud population.

Entrance to Chinatown
Entrance to Chinatown
Chinatown Mural
Chinatown Mural
Streets of Chinatown
Streets of Chinatown

Hopping on and off of the trolley cars is definitely an excellent way to get around as well as to enjoy one of the famous images that comes to mind when one thinks of San Francisco.  As we walked around downtown San Francisco, we found an Irish pub proudly declaring that it was “Time For a Pint”.  Who we were to argue, especially since we find Irish pubs wherever we travel.  The trolley cars are also a great way to get to Fisherman’s Wharf, which is famous for its restaurants, boating excursions, sea lions, and family activities.

San Francisco Trolley
San Francisco Trolley
Irish Pub
Irish Pub
Sea Lions Playing at Pier 39
Sea Lions Playing at Pier 39

Pier 39, which is the pier with the most attractions in Fisherman’s Wharf, can be a full day’s worth of activities, with plenty to do during the day as well as at night.  While we were there, we watched the sea lions play on the pier and had clam chowder and drinks at one of the many restaurants.  We did a little shopping as well and picked up a glass Santa Claus that we display every Christmas.  We didn’t have time to take one of the tours out to Alcatraz Island, but there was no missing its presence out in the bay.  We had driven over the Golden Gate Bridge on our way into the city, but it looms gloriously on the horizon.  As the day came to an end, the famous fog rolled in and engulfed the bridge.  We were there in January, so as the day came to a close, the temperatures dropped quickly.

Alcatraz
Alcatraz
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Fog Close Up
Fog Rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge

We had reservations at Scoma’s Restaurant on Pier 47 in Fisherman’s Wharf for later in the evening, so we made our way to the carousel that is in the center of the shops at the pier.  We weren’t ashamed to take a ride on the carousel and act like the kids we are at heart.  There was also an artist drawing caricatures, so we decided to sit and have one done of the two of us.  We’d had them done of the kids in the past, but this was the first time we decided to do that for ourselves, it was great fun and proudly hangs on the wall of our family room today.  Dinner at Scoma’s was wonderful, they are one of the best seafood restaurants in San Francisco and we’d highly recommend them to anyone.

Pete and Dona on the Carousel
Pete and Dona on the Carousel
Our Caricature
Our Caricature
Dessert at Scoma's Restaurant
Dessert at Scoma’s Restaurant

All in all, despite our short time in San Francisco, it was truly a memorable and romantic occasion for the two of us.  We’ll definitely be back in the future to see everything that the city has to offer, but any amount of time is worth it in that beautiful city.  Clearly, our night at Fisherman’s Wharf was the highlight of our stay, but dining and shopping in Chinatown will forever linger in our memories forever.