San Francisco is not a new destination for me, as I have set foot in the Bay Area a few times already. Somehow though, I seem to discover new experiences on every visit. My recent trip this autumn was no exception.
For one thing, it was my first time to visit the place during this time of year. My past trips happened during the summer when the weather was fine, but this time, the air was a bit nippy. In fact, I saw that the Union Square Ice Skating Rink was already open when my college friend and I strolled along the area.
Sights, sounds and taste of San Francisco
Before we embarked on our downtown excursion, we made a stop to SOMA StrEat Food Park for late lunch. Being a foodie at heart, I made a special request to check out the food truck scene in the area so we headed to that location where several trucks were parked alongside each another.
There were vendors offering different kinds of sandwiches, desserts, beverages, and everything in between. All looked mouthwatering but I gravitated towards the Bacon Bacon truck that sold, what else, bacon! These superb swine slices were the star of the show of their burgers and sandwiches. My friend and I split The Grilled Cheese that had bacon, cheddar and bacon jam (yes, there’s such a thing). As if that man-wich wasn’t big enough, we had to get a side of fries to complete the meal. It was sufficient to fuel our walking tour of the city.
We went straight to Union Square, the ultimate shopping district that is home to Macy’s, Barneys NY, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and a whole lot more. I was tempted to enter all the shops but I had to restrain my inner shopping goddess since my trip was all about sightseeing and not shopping.
We passed by boutiques, hotels, restaurants, and cafés as we proceeded to Powell and Market Streets, which is the beginning stop for the iconic cable car. Along the way, we chanced upon the popular Filipino fusion food truck called Señor Sisig. As much as I wanted to sample its specialties, I just had to walk by it to avoid feeling like a glutton. Later on I wished I had gotten something from there to go.
We went on our way to the cable car stop. No matter how cheesy it seemed, I just had to ride this historic form of San Francisco transportation since I hadn’t ever ridden one despite my past visits.
There was a quite a long queue but my friend and I turned it into catch-up time since we haven’t seen each other for a while. We finally got in the Powell-Mason line that headed up to Nob Hill and down to the Fisherman’s Wharf along Bay Street. At first, we were on the inside seats but we transferred as soon as we saw there was space in the front of the car. I’m glad we did because the ride became more fun then.
We disembarked at the Fisherman’s Wharf, a well-known tourist spot that features Ghirardelli Square, Aquarium of the Bay, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, waterfront marketplaces, and other notable attractions.
We began our leisurely stroll along the boardwalk where we also saw a couple of street acts. Even when the sun was about to set and the sky turned dusky, I was still able to see the faint silhouette of the infamous Alcatraz. Too bad we didn’t have time to join a sightseeing boat to The Rock. I suppose that could be my next new experience on my future visit. As we covered more ground, I saw boats in the water and even sea lions basking by the bay. We passed by a row of seafood restaurants and artisanal bakeshops like Boudin Bakery & Café, whose sourdough French bread is a must-try, as well as its chowder in bread bowl. Got time to spare? Try to explore the museum or do a bakery tour of Boudin.
But since we only had an afternoon in downtown San Francisco, we did away with the tours and simply enjoyed our walking journey. We wandered around Pier 39, saw the San Francisco Carousel, went window-shopping, and viewed the well-lit Bay Bridge at night. There were lots of good conversations in between sightseeing.
It was beautiful to see the city this way—sans the fanfare of tour groups and such. I was surprised I didn’t feel chilly throughout our walking excursion, but I know that the memories from this trip will forever be frosted in my mind. — BM, GMA News