The plan for our third day in San Francisco was to bike to and across The Golden Gate Bridge. It was a very ambitious goal for our energy levels at that point so instead, after brunch, we drove to Crissy Field that’s nearby the bridge and dipped our toes in the water.
We could still see the bridge from here but we were able to walk along the shoreline and watch people fish along the way once we got to that dock. There were lots of cute little kids with equally as cute and little fishing rods trying really hard to catch something.
There’s a gorgeous relatively short hiking trail that gives you a better vantage point of the bridge that’s packed with succulents, cool trees and flowers.
I was in desperate need of a nap at this point so I was getting pretty cranky at the people who weren’t staying on the trail (which is just a huge pet peeve of mine in any park) but once we got to the top everything was better because of this perfect view!
Once we got back to our friend’s house, and after a much needed quick snooze on my part, we were ready to seize the day and the beautiful sunny weather. First stop was to pick up some ice cream.
We set up a spot at Miss Dolores Park where our friend promised excellent people watching. It totally delivered. The park is a big hill that was packed with folks on blankets relaxing, playing with their dogs, blasting music or whatever. There was also super quirky vendors wandering around selling things like cocktails inside of a hollowed out pineapple and (what I hear are) insanely popular infused truffles. Just lazing around and listening to tunes while we overlooked part of the city was a flawless end to the day.
The next day was my birthday! But it was also Monday, so our friend was back at jury duty bright and early. Such a bummer but she gave this adorable present to me in the morning before she left! It’s a really cool print of The Golden Gate Bridge, a funny novelty desk sign and a book of 100 ways to tell that you’re getting old. We don’t need to discuss how many pages I read and noticed those things have already happened… I’m not old, I swear!
Another must-see place for me was Chinatown! S. and I headed there first thing once we got up. We found this hole in the wall dim sum place that is supposed to be very good. We got a few pieces of scallion bread, shrimp dumplings, chicken shumai and sesame balls from Good Mong Kok Bakery. The place was so tiny it didn’t have an area to sit down and eat so we munched while we meandered past busy markets. Please excuse the toppled over display of the dumplings but it’s honestly a miracle they even stayed in the container long enough for me to take this picture. YUM!
After walking up and down blocks of food markets, we finally found our way to the iconic red lanterns hanging on Grant Avenue. It’s such a magical area!
Grant Avenue is where there’s more touristy shops where you can find cute gifts and souvenirs and things like that. Each store was so adorable I could have bought everything, but somehow couldn’t decide on anything! These mugs were everywhere and I almost regret not getting one, but wasn’t really feeling carrying it around all day.
S. and I walked from Chinatown back to the Embarcadero since it was close(ish). We figured we wouldn’t mind spending a little more time in that market place again or finding somewhere on the water to grab coffee, but that’s when we stumbled upon the Exploratorium. It’s an extremely hands on museum that describes itself as a “public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception.” There are dozens and dozens of little stations all over the place with odds and ends and different things for you to tinker around with. It reminded us a lot of the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie from our Paris trip.
My favorite exhibits had to do with light and color and there were rooms and rooms of different ‘experiments’ you could do with those.
My favorite was the Monochromatic Room. Everything in the room is actually colorful but since the room is lit up by lamps that only emit a single wavelength of light, the human eye can’t identify any colors. Everything looks yellowish.
Now, I’m not going to pretend to be a scientist and explain how or why… but in the room there are regular flashlights that reveal all the colors when you shine that normal light on the objects! This second picture was taken through the glasses they give you that divide the light in the room so your eyes can identify the colors again. They have crayons and colorful paper cranes in those bubbles on the wall and a rainbow painted on the floor. Too cool!
Another bizarre exhibit is their Giant Mirror. It’s 12 feet across, 8 feet wide, curved and somehow makes the world appear upside down. The strangest thing about this is the images look so crisp, almost 3D. You can even give yourself a high five! It looks so strange and real when you’re seeing it in person.
Must have missed the scientific purpose behind these next exhibits but all I know is they would do really cool things to your shadows or projections of yourself.
The featured exhibit was “Welcome to Wildcard: Where Cardboard and Imagination Collide.” It’s a huge whimsical landscape made completely out of cardboard. While the project as a whole was pretty impressive, there were hidden nooks inside of the worlds and different funny details that you may miss if you weren’t looking close enough.
After the museum we were able to meet up with our friend again and get ready for our last dinner together. Once again, our hostess nailed it with the restaurant suggestion. We went to Mission Rock Resort that overlooks The Bay. Only their top deck was open that night which gave us a great view; the rest of the restaurant was pretty cute too.
Started with oysters, obviously. Fortunately no one choked on any of these this time which was really an ideal way to start the meal.
My friend and I both ordered a crab roll which was so so good. It was basically the perfect ocean dinner by the ocean. We even got to see the sun set over the bay before we headed back to her place.
I honestly feel so blessed to have spent an amazing weekend and my birthday with such special people. One of the hardest things about my friend and I’s job is people move around a lot, but it’s always so great to be able to visit old friends and catch up in their new homes. Our friend was incredible at showing us around San Fran and it’s exciting to think of where we’ll be when we visit each other next. I was so happy I almost couldn’t even think of anything to wish for on my birthday candle (which stayed lit for about .5 seconds in the wind, just enough time for me to be able to blow it out!).