For a long time, I’d always wanted to visit San Francisco partly because it always looked like a stunning city, but most probably because I was a huge Charmed fan and that’s where the show was set. I’m sure this is the case for many people whether it be San Francisco due to Fuller House or Brazil due to Fast and Furious, were often enticed and drawn into many locations due to the way they’re portrayed through media outlets.
One of the first things I noticed about San Francisco was how vibrant the city was! From the green palms and blue ocean to the colourful buildings and street art! Luckily for me the weekend I was in SF they had a freak heatwave that everyone definitely made me aware of. Letting me know that was not the norm and to enjoy it, which of course I did.
Accommodation – Green Tortoise
When I was looking into where to stay I was really unsure whether to splurge on a hotel or not, but as I knew this was going to be a solo trip I knew a hostel would be my best option. Now I know there are always hostel sceptics and who cannot stay anywhere but a 4 star+ hotel but they’re not as scary as you might think, the best thing to do in any scenario is Review! Which I recommend everyone do.
The great thing about The Green Tortoise Hostel is that it is smack bang where you want to be to get easy access to the entire city. The hostel has a free breakfast in a huge common area with a great view of the Transamerica building perfectly enjoyed by sitting down with your morning coffee in their cushioned booths.
One thing I usually find with hostels is that there is always something that lets them down. To be honest, I slightly struggled with figuring out what that was with the Green Tortoise. Their staff were super friendly and had laughs with quite a few of them and their rooms and bathrooms are kept very clean. I guess if I was pulling at straws they could have A/C but as I mentioned SF is usually pretty windy so they rarely need it at night, they could have more bathrooms but again I don’t think people realised you can use bathrooms on other floors … I always ended finding news ones I never even knew were there!
As I know that some of us are extremely busy and don’t always get the chance to fully compare where best to stay. To make your life a little bit easier here’s a Hotel and Alternative Hostel both with great reviews and locations! Although if you have the time feel free to search, I tend to use Booking.com due to their handy Free Cancellation on most accommodation!
China Town and Little Italy (Districts)
The great thing about staying in the centre of cities like San Francisco, is that everything is within walking distance. A great perk of The Green Tortoise was that it’s located in the junction between Little Italy and China Town, meant you get easy access to great food which can really make or break a trip in my opinion. The hostel actually had a handy guide for the best food and cafes in the area sorted according to distance and price! I was loving up the Italian pizza slice joints so if you ever find yourself there make sure to check out Golden Boy and Tony’s.
Being a Tourist.
A lot of people forget social media networks are here to connect us, so I used my Instagram just for that. I really wanted to see more of SF from a local perspective so reached out to a San Franciscan (is that what they’re called?) to hang out during my time in SF. Luckily for me, I picked a good’un in Melissa! who was nice enough to show me around and take some of the fantastic photos with me that you might have already seen on my Instagram.
You cannot fly all the way to the east coast especially from the UK and not do Standard’cisco! You can always mix it up along the way but don’t miss the main attractions guys.
All over SF you’re going to find various different periods of architecture, which I absolutely love which is why my camera roll is pretty much filled with half the buildings in SF that I passed. The most iconic set are The Painted Ladies, unfortunately for me, Alamo Square (Park) opposite them was closed meaning I couldn’t get the shot I was hoping for but I made it work. I felt slightly sorry for their residents with people coming up all hours of the day just taking pictures of your house, I guess its the price you pay for living somewhere that stunning.
I didn’t think I was going to be shocked by anything in my experience of San Francisco but I’m glad I was. I’m not sure if many people on the other side of the pond know about The Place of the Fine Arts, I just know I definitely did not. What a stunning piece of work right en-route to the Golden Gate bridge. It looked as though a part of Rome or Greece had been plucked up and placed right there in sunny California.
There’s not much I can say which probably hasn’t been said about probably the most photogenic bridge in the world! No one can deny the beauty of the Golden Gate bridge.
“That curvy road. You know that mad curvy road.” My description prior to knowing the name of Lombard Street. Now going to see a random street might not sound like the most appealing thing to do but this is really a once in a lifetime experience.
Due to SF being built on a tonne of hills, you get to have the most randomly fun photogenic experience. From the top of the street, you get to see those classic SF cable cars go by, whilst you can look down on a view of the SF streets all the way down to the pier, going down the street is a journey within itself! I recommend hoping in an Uber Pool (surprisingly cheap) and getting them to go down.
So unbeknownst to those of us that do not live in San Francisco, Mission district is apparently the place to be, can’t say I don’t understand why! Dubbed after the main street that passes through the area, it’s filled with lively people enjoying the independent restaurants and boutiques that fill the area. Sometimes old habits die hard so I had to make sure I got the best Greek food and Bubble Tea in the area (Although the lack of Honeydew Milk Tea was seriously disappointing guys).
You guys feeling some visual paradise? Yes? Good, head to Point Reyes. Again, I had never heard of this location prior to my trip to California but thank god I did.
Sometimes (going back to my initial point about hostels) Is that you can meet so many people as a solo traveller, lucky for me I met two great lads who were up for a last minute road trip down to these breathtaking coastlines. So if you find yourself with a free day around San Franisco or Northen Cali just rent a car for a day and drive! I recommend you definitely hit up Point Reyes or try to go somewhere unexpected!
So if you’ve made it this far and read all there is to read about San Francisco … maybe you’ll be will to go a bit further or you just want more?! Then make sure you’ve subscribed to my YouTube channel where you can follow me around and get real insight into my San Fran adventures through my Travel Vlog coming soon…
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[Please Note – all opinions in this post are my own]