San Francisco Favorite Tips by richiecdisc
San Francisco Favorites: 601 reviews and 687 photos
colorful Chinatown mural
Favorite thing: San Francisco's Chinatown is the best in the US and like walking right into an Asian city sans flight.
Fondest memory: We arrived thinking we knew a thing or two about San Francisco. It was my fourth visit and my wife had been on one of those excursions as well. We only had two days to explore and knew mostly we would stick to some old favorites. What we enjoy most is walking around this great town with such varied architecture. Generally speaking, it's also a great climate for walking, not too hot, not too cold. So, we got into town early and though our room was not quite ready, they let us park in our underground spot and said to come back in a few hours. We headed out in our “city” clothes after a couple of months of camping and immediately realized it was roasting out. The combination of the heat and the steep inclines that the city if infamous for had us in a sweat in no time. Though we still enjoyed San Francisco, we made a mental note to not come in summer again.
A few weeks later after conquering the trails of Yosemite and relaxing in Sequoia National Parks, we decided to travel on the 4th of July. My cousin was camping with his family on the northern California Coast and we were going to meet them there. Surprisingly, there was no traffic and we figured we would stop in San Francisco's Chinatown for lunch. It was dead on our path and with the lack of cars on the highway, we were there in no time. The town was empty. I guess everyone was away for the holiday weekend so we got a spot within walking distance of our favorite restaurant and jumped out of the car in hot pursuit of Beef Chow Fun. We were coming from the mountains so we figured it would be warm in town and were wearing shorts. As we walked, we realized it quite windy and soon we were freezing. Minutes later, we laughed as we slurped hot tea in the little Chinese BBQ place we had eaten many times before. We may have known San Francisco better than many but there was still a lot to learn. That was okay with us, we wanted to come back and do just that. And next time, we're wearing layers.
atmosperically jutting through the fog
Fondest memory: The next day we were to meet them at the Embarcadero to check out a farmer’s market and then head over to Berkeley on the BART, but as D and I got up by the Wharf, we noticed the elusive Golden Gate Bridge was no longer engulfed in fog as it had been our first two days in town. So, we called them and changed plans. To make it easier on them, they met us up by the marina and we just walked from the Wharf area.
It was a magnificent trail with great views of the bridge along the way, but our cohorts were lagging behind us quite a bit. My friend loves to snap lots of digital photos and me still being in the stone age of film, am a bit more selective. Also, I know how fickle weather can be and I wanted to get up to the best vantage point for photos as quickly as possible. I felt bad leaving them so far behind but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
I got there in no time and started up a trail to gain some elevation. I didn’t know exactly where I was going but I figured the higher up I got the better pictures I’d get. I was rewarded with great views and soon Doreen caught up to me, with her poor sore feet the victims of new shoes not worn in enough. We got some great shots and set up camp on a bench to soak in the scenery.
By the time our friend got to the base of the hill, the bridge was nowhere to be seen. It was again covered in a blanket of fog. We came down to meet them as there was no use in them coming up since there was no longer a view. I managed to not act smug even though I felt vindicated by my actions. Even when it comes to good friends, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, and I’m glad this time I did. Casual friends might have had a problem with this scenario but longtime friends know each other better, and accept people as they are. And when they are bulls to begin with they know changing the other person would be about as easy as changing themselves.
heading up the beach towards the bridge
Favorite thing: San Francisco is a great city to walk in and around. The hilly streets give you a workout but also afford great views. There are numerous trails from which you can enjoy the city's spectacular setting as well as its justifiably famous red bridge.
Fondest memory: Longtime friends bring many special joys; for instance who can you reminisce with better? But they also present special challenges especially when you decide to do a trip with them. Likes often attract likes and I’ve certainly been drawn to my share of bull-headed people. Oh, did I mention I was a bit bull-headed myself?
Well, recently Doreen and I met up with my oldest friend and his new wife for a trip to San Francisco. I knew it would not be a particularly easy trip but I also knew we didn’t get to see each other much since we now live in different states over a thousand miles apart. So, we just did it and hoped for the best.
Staying in different parts of the city, we met up after breakfast the first day at Fisherman’s Wharf and I relented to doing some of the more touristy things. Doreen had not been there before so it was fun for her anyway and as crowded as the Wharf can get, it still has a hokey charm to it. We walked quite a bit and San Francisco being as hilly as it is, it took its toll on our friends legs as they don’t work out much. The next day we opted to spend the day apart and met up in the evening. They took a ferry to Tiburon and we did a huge walk to the Mission, through the Castro, up a few small peaks in Corona Heights and Buena Vista Parks and into the Haight, where we met them for a few brews at the Magnolia Brewery. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
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