Exploring San Francisco was a great way to spend the week before Christmas and end the year. There was plenty to do in 3 days and it helped I got to stay where the action is by Union Square. The trip wasn’t completely planned out, I just knew the areas I wanted to explore thanks to local friends and family. Continue on for the highlights of my half planned/half spontaneous SF adventure!
The first day was spent walking around the Mission district and window shopping at all the cute and eccentric shops. I had the best meal there at a Mexican restaurant called Gracias Madre, which I would highly recommend! They have a somewhat traditional menu of Mexican food with a vegan twist. I regret not taking better photos of the food but I will let the Yelp page speak for itself.
After lunch, we decided to walk around Dolores Park which is also in the Mission. The majority of the park is on a giant slope, so it was nice way to burn off calories climbing stairs and get a nice view of the city. We took a sit-down break here for a bit before going back to wandering the streets.
If we weren’t wandering aimlessly around the Mission, I don’t think I would have come across Clarion Alley. I am so glad we did because I love wall murals! It kind of reminded me of the East Side Gallery in Berlin. Clarion Alley is an actual alley you can walk through and is a good detour to take when exploring the Mission.
We finished off the day by looking at the festive decorations at Union Square and doing some last minute Christmas shopping.
Palace of Fine Arts
Walking is my preferred way of exploring a new city. There was a lot of it on the second day as well. We walked a mile from our hotel to get breakfast and coffee at Blue Bottle at the Market Square. Thankfully there was a fire pit in the courtyard for us to warm up at. Not far from the Market Square is San Francisco City Hall. We took a short walk there to look at the building before heading to the Palace of Fine Arts.
The Palace of Fine Arts is a great escape from the city scene. It may be full of other tourists, but it’s worth visiting. It felt like I was transported to Europe walking through the columned pathways and admiring the detailed architecture. Although the grounds aren’t large, we spent a good hour there taking photos and watching the swans. An added plus was taking in the beautiful neighborhood across the way and admiring the houses!
After finishing up at the Palace of Fine Arts, it was time for a break at the hotel (and a shoe change). The hotel was right across from Yerba Buena Gardens where we took an evening walk. There is a walkway in the gardens that leads up to a good view of downtown and SF MOMA. There was an art gallery open at Yerba Buena as well, but we ran short on time for both.
We went back to Union Square that night because I was in desperate need of another warm jacket. I stopped by Uniqlo and found the perfect puffer jacket which I wore pretty much the rest of the trip!
Japanese Tea Garden
The last day in SF was mostly spent visiting my future in-laws. After a long search for a good brunch spot with less than an hour wait, we ended up grabbing some goodies at Wholesome Bakery. My fiancé and I had a little time to ourselves that day and so we decided to go to the Golden Gate Park. We parked right next to the Japanese Tea Garden and decided to step in to the most serene part of the park.
We finished off the trip with the family before driving back to warm Los Angeles. It was a fun mini-trip to San Francisco and hopefully I can visit again soon. Until then, I’ll have to plan out where my next mini-trip is!
Til next time,
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