Been There: San Francisco
Hey MintMaggers, Louise here – I hope you’re all enjoying the sunshine! For those of you who follow us on Instagram or Snapchat (usernames @mintmag.ie), you’ll know I recently visited sunny San Francisco! So, I wanted to give you a round up of my trip with the all the info on my favourite places to eat, drink and things to do, so you can use it if you plan to visit yourselves (which I highly recommend!)
We stayed here for a couple of nights when we first arrived. It’s centrally located, very reasonably priced and has good facilities. The rooms aren’t state of the art but the bed was like a cloud to sleep on! Prices start from $199 per room.
We spent 6 nights in the Clift Hotel and it was a really lovely stay – It’s just up the road from Union Square so centrally located too. We were upgraded to a Junior Suite which had a living room off the bedroom (albeit the bathroom was a little small) but with all the floor-to-cieling mirrors in the room it felt like a never ending space! The staff were really friendly and helpful, and the Redroom bar downstairs was great for a nightcap (or few).
From the food to the trendy atmosphere, Marlowe ticked all the boxes. The dishes were hearty and wholesome and the place was full of energy. It’s a great spot for drinks at the bar too if you’re not feeling the menu.
The Foreign Cinema in the Mission District had to be my favourite dinner of the week. Whilst we enjoyed our seriously delicious food (get the sesame chicken!), they screened an old movie on the wall (this changes month-to-month.) It’s important to note that you must get a seat outside in the courtyard to be able to see the movie and enjoy the experience in the best way. For me it was a match made in heaven!
This trendy little Italian joint is hidden away off 6th Street and is a great spot to grab lunch. All the staff and chefs are Italian and they are experts in the original way of making pizza, called Pinsas. The wood oven way leaves it oozing with flavour and is meant to be a more digestible alternatives to our pizzas made today – bonus points!
When you visit Sausalito on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge (which you must), a lovely waterside dining experience is Scomas. Whether you get a table outside or in, the seafood is amazing and it has an elegant air of ladies-who-lunch about it.
If you’re looking for a relaxed restaurant by the sea for lunch then Pier 23 down at Fishermans Wharf is it. They play some great music outdoors to accompany the seaside sounds and they do a mean sandwich.
Ever had a cocktail out of a little man shaped mug? Well you will at Trick Dog. They serve up some really unique cocktail concoctions in an uber-cool stripped back bar. There’s no sign on the door, just a few Chinese symbol so look out for them.
At the top of the Marriott Marquis hotel is The View, a bar with yes, you guessed it, a serious view of the city. Definitely worth a visit if you want a good picture of the San Francisco skyline.
Just across the road from the Clift Hotel was BDK. It’s a really trendy spot that does super tasty food as well as a mean cocktail.
When you’re in Sausalito, pull up a pew outside and watch the water world go by with a drink in hand. The view of the bay is one of the best seats in the town and you can make your own Bloody Mary with their quirky DIY menu.
Seeing the tallest trees in the world has always been on my bucket list, so I was delighted to tick that off after my visit to Muir Woods just outside the city. Redwoods in this forest are almost 300ft high – it’s really an amazing site.
A super touristy area is Pier 39, but it’s a must visit to catch all the seals there basking in the Californian sun.
One of the most interesting places you’ll ever see in your life is Alcatraz. The stories this place has is fascinating. Make sure you get the audio tour for when you’re walking around – it’s definitely worth it to learn all you can. They actually had an ex-resident, Bill Baker, there at the time giving a talk about his experience on the Rock over 50 years ago.
The best way to experience the Golden Gate bridge is to cycle over it. You can ride all the way from Fishersmans Wharf to Sausalito in about an hour and a half. The views are incredible and definitely worth the slug up some rather steep hills!
A few last things to note on your trip:
- Alcohol is expensive – $12 average for a glass of wine.
- It is a relatively safe city but there are a lot of homeless people.
- If you’re planning to do a lot of walking, bring comfortable shoes as there are some seriously steep hills.
- It can get really chilly in the evenings and when the fog rolls in (it happens really fast!)
- The cable car is one of the main touristy things to do but be prepared to cue for a long time if you don’t get there first thing.
- Don’t forget to tip minimum of 15%, for drinks and food!
Most importantly, have an amazing time!