San Francisco – Day 1 (Part 1)

The husband and I just got back from our first trip to California, and it’s good to be home! Although we had a great time, there were a lot of things about this trip that didn’t go as planned (and I’m a planner, so that’s difficult for me to deal with  🤷🏻‍♀️).

We headed to Raleigh on Wednesday for a flight that was supposed to leave at 6:22pm…after numerous delays, our plane finally left around 10pm which meant that we arrived in San Francisco around 1am (but 4am Eastern time). As we were scurrying to our Uber, husband dropped our 50 lb bag on my toe. It was not a good evening, but we got to the hotel, went to bed, and started fresh the next day.

We woke up at 6am (what?!?!) which was way too early to go to breakfast at the restaurant I had picked for the morning (The Grove – I guess I’ll have to wait until our next trip for cinnamon roll bread pudding), so we made our way to Coffee Cultures nearby.

From left: delicious oatmeal, coffee, vanilla latte, and almond croissant

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Civic Center which was nice enough but in a terrible part of San Francisco. There were a ton of homeless people around (which I expected from reading about the area), but there was also a ton of drugs…I’m pretty sure we walked right by a drug deal going down. J (husband) wasn’t comfortable at all and insisted that we take an Uber if we were ever out at night.

After breakfast we went walking. And I mean we WALKED. In fact, by the end of the day, I had 40,174 steps and 17 miles recorded on my Fitbit!

Our first stretch was to walk down Hayes Street to the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square.

You have to scale the hill to appreciate the view, but once you get up there, it really is a beautiful overlook of San Francisco (and lots of people bring their dogs there, which is the best part).

And fact: San Francisco has THE BEST dogs. Seriously, most of the time I was just staring at all the adorable dogs in the city.


Our next stop was Golden Gate Park where there are so many things to do. We passed people picnicking, playing tennis and lawn bowling or fetch with their dog, and (for a price) there’s the California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden (pic above), De Young Museum, and the Conservatory of Flowers. We didn’t actually do any of those things (San Francisco is expensive, y’all!), but maybe on the next trip we’ll save some time for visiting.


Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake

But don’t worry – there are free things to see, too! There’s a bison paddock, but I don’t know that I’d make a special trip to see them. There are also some really great picnicking spots – Strawberry Hill (there’s a waterfall!) and Spreckles Lake, where several older men were racing their mini sailboats.

When we finally got to the end of the park – it’s a huge park and walking from one end to the other took way longer than I thought – we were treated to some windmills and the beach! And yes, I realize what a weird combination that is. More on the beach and the gorgeous views later…

And stay tuned for a post on our first experience with dim sum!


  1. Pingback: San Francisco – Day 1 (Part 3) – Biscotti and a Ph.D.

  2. Pingback: Dim Sum (San Francisco – Day 1, Part 2) – Biscotti and a Ph.D.

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