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San Francisco Travel Guide

Today's the day - the final recap from our Pacific Coast Highway Adventure! At this point in the trip we were almost ready to go home! Our final stop was San Francisco! I've been to San Francisco 4 or 5 times and each time there is something new to discover, a new neighborhood to explore and of course a new restaurant to try out! Four years ago we stopped in San Francisco for a few days to break up the flight between Maui and Boston headed home from our honeymoon. It was nice to end the trip a couple of days before our anniversary & think about everything that's changed (and stayed the same) in those 4 years! 
What to do in san francisco, palace of fine arts, california road trip, PCH highway, travel guide

Sleep ||

Of course there are tons of hotels to choose from in San Francisco, but I couldn't think of anywhere I wanted to stay more than the Villa Florence Hotel in Union Square. We stayed there on our honeymoon and thought the location was perfect. It's right on Powell Street - the same street the cable car runs on & you're smack dab in the middle of all the best shopping! 
Upon checking in, the friendly staff let us up to our room to drop off all our bags even though we were really early for check-in. I mentioned in passing that we were excited to be back since we haven't been to the city in 4 years  not mentioning why we were back! After an afternoon of sight seeing we were so surprised to see a bottle of chilled champagne and chocolates waiting for us congratulating us on our 4 year anniversary! It was that little touch that made me realize we had made the right choice in staying there again! 

Eat ||

We didn't have any set plans for dinner while we were in San Francisco & instead relied on people's recommendations on the trip. 
Tacolicious || A few people recommended this taco place to us and it wasn't until we passed by that I remembered it was not to be missed! We mixed and matched 4 of the tacos and had a few of their sides! Some of the best tacos I've ever had! It also wasn't so heavy that you felt like taking a nap after - perfect for a refreshing pit stop in between all the sight seeing! 

Hops & Hominy || Someone on Instagram recommended this restaurant and I'm so glad they did. A nice mix of southern charm & urban atmosphere. They are known for their fried chicken so that's exactly what we got with a side of ham hock croquettes & roasted sweet potatoes. You also get a nice little serving of corn bread which was delicious! Definitely recommend trying this place out! 
Honey Honey, Cafe & Crepery || If you're craving an omelet and your friends are craving nutella pancakes, this is where you want to go. The menu at Honey Honey has something for everyone and their latte's are delicious! I had the post street omelet while Gary opted for the sunrise burrito - neither one of us shared! 

Explore ||

This go around it was important to us to see all the things we missed on our trip 4 years ago. We weren't able to make it to Alcatraz & Muir Woods so those were definitely going to be on our list. 

Alcatraz || I'm not sure I had as much fun as Gary did on this tour, but it was interesting none the less. My biggest piece of advice is to book your tickets at least 2-3 weeks ahead of time because all of their tours get sold out, rain or shine. The tour itself is self-guided and takes about 45 minutes to an hour to go through the entire prison, which is on a hill on the island and about a 10 minute walk from where the ferry drops you off. It was rainy and a bit cold when we went, which sort of fit the theme of being in a prison, but I would have loved to see everything in bloom there because supposedly there are gorgeous flowers and wildlife there! 
Muir Woods & Sausalito || Through Best Bay Area Tours we booked a half day (4 hour) tour to see Muir Woods & Sausalito. We actually tried booking this tour with a few different companies and each time it would come back that the tour was cancelled. We found out that because these were big bus tours, they couldn't get up to Muir Woods Park due to construction and water damage from all the rain that San Francisco was having. 
Thankfully Best Bay Area Tours uses smaller vans, which is also nice because you're in a smaller tour group - so they had no problems getting to the parking area. My tip is booking this tour for the morning because the park can get very congested and already at 10:00 am was overflowing with people and we were already leaving which was nice! The redwoods in the forest are absolutely gorgeous - I mean they are ginormous trees and seeing them up close and knowing how minuscule you are compared to them really puts things in perspective. We only had an hour and half in the forest, which for me was plenty of time - you see a few red woods and you get the point! 
I was really excited to visit Sausalito because I had heard such great things about this charming little town. We had every intention of not going back with our tour group and exploring Sausalito since we were only given about an hour and half, but after realizing that the town itself was really tiny, we decided it wasn't worth taking the ferry back to San Francisco. We explored the little shops & had hands down the best ice cream of my life from Lappert's, but other than that we didn't really feel the need to stay any longer. I'd say Sausalito is a nice stop if you have the time, but for me it wasn't a full afternoon sort of excursion. 
San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts || The neighborhood surrounding the Palace of Fine Arts is just gorgeous. Stately, colorful homes adorn the streets that enclose the park. It's close to the Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco side so if you plan on going there, which I don't see why you wouldn't - definitely stop by the PFA! This is one of the most photographed sites in the city and for good reason, it's absolutely gorgeous there! 
Marina District || We actually had no intentions of going to the Marina District, but since it was so close to the PFA, we decided to walk through the area. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many cute shops and restaurants. This is actually where we stumbled upon Tacolicious. You have bigger retailers like Apple & Gap and then on the flip side you have smaller boutiques. It was really charming! 
Minted Local || I was so surprised to see an actual minted store in San Francisco and even more surprised that it's the only one in the country! That has to change soon because the store is too perfect! There's a cute little photo booth in the back area to keep kids (or adults) occupied & I of course got a couple of cute prints and stationary items!! It was originally supposed to be a pop up shop, but did so well that they extended the lease! 
{throwback from our honeymoon!}
Lombard Street || Even though we saw the world's most crookedest street on our first go around, it's one of those things that you can see more than once. The hike up that hill is no joke - I was either really out of shape after not going to the gym for 2 weeks or that incline did me in!! 
We did make our way to Fisherman's Wharf again for fresh seafood - a must & took our time exploring! So there you have it - the final stop on our 10 day adventure in California! In a word, this trip was epic! We loved San Francisco and were both so happy to feel like we finally saw all the touristy stuff & were able to hang out a bit more this go around! 
Do you ever go back to a city & get excited to see everything you missed before? Or do you like to go back to your favorite spots?

57 comments

  1. This looks like such a great trip! So many great options, thanks for sharing!
    Xo, ELizabeth
    http://stripesandsolitaires.com

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  2. I have to say of all the recaps, this is my favorite..just a delight and your room was so modern and fresh!! I included you was a favorite over at the Blended Blog today for your post about your favorite looks from Cali!!!! Have a spectacular day gorgeous!!

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  3. SF is also on a must visit list! I've only been to the airport for a layover and there wasn't anytime to go out and explore, but I would love to go to Alcatraz! So glad you had a fun time! I know what you mean about getting to the end of a vacation and kind of being ready to go home....I'm always ready to get back to eating healthy because I get tired of eating so bad!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  4. Epic is definitely the word to describe your trip - every stop sounds great and San Fran being the perfect end!

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  5. Anytime I got back to Chicago or NOLA I get just as excited, if not more, as the first time I was there. Muir Woods looks so pretty! And I know I already said it on IG, but seriously with those tacos! I need them in my life!

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  6. I love San Francisco!! My dad actually live in San Ramon, not too far from SF, and I always love to visit! So pretty, and so many great places to eat!!!

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  7. What a fun stop in San Fran! The hotel you stayed at looks so pretty and so awesome they left you champs in the room! Both tours you went on sound perfect. And the food. Give me all the food!!!

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  8. I haven't been to SF in about two years but you're making me crave a trip! Every time we go it's always a day trip since my family lives in the area. I really need to plan a longer weekend stay!

    By Lauren M

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  9. Another great travel guide! How sweet that the hotel left you an anniversary card. It's definitely those small touches that make a hotel special in my book. I definitely agree on the tip about Alcatraz! We have never been able to do the tour because it is always booked up.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  10. Oooh now I want to go back to San Fran! Armed with your tips !!

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  11. These have all been so fun to read, and so helpful! We're planning a California trip (hopefully) for our 7th anniversary this fall, so I'll definitely be checking these out again! :)

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  12. We were in San Francisco for not even two days after visiting Napa and before heading home. We really didn't get to see the city and we have said that we need to go back! What a special touch with the champagne for your anniversary. So thoughtful! And all the food looks delicious -- especially that ice cream cone!

    xo, Rachel
    A Blonde's Moment

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  13. Wow y'all packed a lot in!! Love all the pics and tips!! XOXO, R

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  14. Oh man, all of that food literally has me drooling. That alone is enough to make me want to go to San Fran! And love that your hotel surprised you guys with a bottle of champagne, so sweet! Glad you had such a great trip! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  15. I can see why you chose Villa Florence for a number of reasons. First, that little gesture was so sweet and thoughtful and would give me reason enough to continue to come back! Also, how glam is that room!? I love the hot pink accents and overall decor, so beautiful! The location also sounds fantastic and super convenient. You know I take your restaurant suggestions very seriously, haha, so I'm glad you were pleased with all the spots you hit up. Now you have me craving fried chicken and I don't typically go for that, but it'd have to be a place like Hops & Hominy where they truly specialize in making it. That mint chocolate ice cream also looks delish! Thanks for sharing, beauty, and I hope you're having a great week so far!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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  16. San Francisco is definitely in my top 5 cities in the world! I just LOVE the hotel you stayed in - Union Square has the best hotels. All of this food looks so delicious, too!

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

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  17. San Francisco is one of my favorite places--I can't wait to make a trip back there! That last picture of y'all in front of the bridge is breathtaking!!

    Rosy Outlook

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  18. It's such a fun city for sure! I which we had gotten out to the woods, the photography capabilities there are amazing!

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  19. Loving all your travel guides recently! Isn't San Fran so fun!? I was there over the summer with my family and loved it!
    ~Samantha
    http://goldcoastgirlblog.com

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  20. Girl you've been getting me super excited for our upcoming San Fran trip, Alcatraz and Muir Woods are on the agenda and I hope it's not too rainy and making it tough for the buses. Such a fabulous city, and yay for complimentary champs for your anniversary <3
    Green Fashionista

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  21. I'm still so amazed you guys squeezed in so many things- this looks like the best way to end your trip. Visiting Alcatraz would be so much fun, and it looked like you guys found some amazing food- those tacos look delicious!

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  22. So happy y'all made it to Muir Woods!! Isn't it crazy to have that amazing outdoor forest space nestled in the crazy city?? I feel like it should have a secret trap door because it's so all-of-a-sudden. Loved your pics :)

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  23. So swanky! I love hearing (or reading) about ya'lls travels! We need to step up our game! (help me get hubby to be adventurous like yours haha!) xo

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  24. Didnt know there was only one Minted store either...
    Good to know about Alcatraz. i wouldnt have thought it would sell out that far in advance.

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  25. ah the iconic bridge photo! i mean everyone has to do it. alcatraz is def on my list for next time. man you guys did a lot! and sausalito. lombard. and all that food don't even get me started. SF has SUCH good options its hard to know where to start!

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  26. SF is such a fun city! We loved doing the Alcatraz tour and I'm surprised how much I really enjoyed the audio guide (not typically my thing- ha!).

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  27. I will have to check out the Villa Florence Hotel on our next trip up to the City. We live in the Central Valley of California, and we love going up to the City!

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  28. We hope to visit San Fran in the near future. It looks like you had the best trip! I'm laughing about the redwoods - I imagine you're right that once you see one you get the point lol.

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  29. What a great end to a wonderful trip! I crammed in as much as I could in one day there and I cannot wait to go back and check out more, especially the Muir woods!

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  30. Such a beautiful city! And it's on my bucket list for sure! I'm sad that your recaps are coming to a close. I've been enjoying them so much!

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  31. What a way to end such a fun trip! I've only been to the LA/Malibu area in Cali, but I would love to visit SF one day. All of your travel guides make me want to go somewhere fun this summer!
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

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  32. I'm glad that y'all were able to find a tour for the Muir Woods because it really is so beautiful there! We ended up driving there on our way to Napa and I think that Chris would have preferred to have somebody else drive! And that's so sweet that the hotel had champs and a card waiting for you to celebrate your anniversary!

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  33. Wonderful photos!! I am glad that you had a fun trip. I love San Francisco and also Muir Woods. :-) I hope that you are having a great week so far too! :-)

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  34. SO FUN! san fran is on my to visit list and this post is great! i wanted to go this summer but i think it might be a better city to go without a toddler ;) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  35. Loving these posts! I can't wait to go back to San Francisco someday!

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  36. I'd definitely go back to San Francisco. I say that about a lot of places and never do though. LOL

    We hit Muir Woods first thing in the morning and were leaving as the crowds were coming in, which was great.

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  37. It looks like it was such a fun trip! San Francisco is definitely a great place to visit! Great post!

    http://roadesque.com
    http://ourruins.com

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  38. Sausalito was one of our favorites when we visited SF! I didn't like Alcatraz quite as much as Derek either but I loved the little boat ride over.

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  39. San Francisco is definitely high on my list! It looks so pretty and the food sounds amazing! I love spooky stuff so I would probably love that prison tour! haha!

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

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  40. I love San Francisco! The best street food! The happiest people around! Love your photos!

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  41. What an awesome recap! This looked like a blast and that ice cream OMG! I need a trip to San Fran asap!

    Brittany :)
    www.kingdomofsequins.com

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  42. I love SF and it's been AGES since I've been. Now I've got some places to add to the list, thanks to your suggestions! What a fab trip y'all had!

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  43. San Fran was so fun when I went (many years ago). We loved Muir Woods too! So glad that you guys had a great time in Cali!

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  44. I love San Francisco! It holds a special place in my heart because that's where we got engaged! Such a great city for walking and exploring. It seems you really squeezed in a lot in a few days. Great photos!

    www.taffetaandtulips.com

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  45. Such a great post! Your hotel looked lovely!
    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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  46. Never been to San Fran but I'm dying to! And my husband is dying to go to Alcatraz!

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  47. What fun!! I have never been to San Fran but have always wanted to. Your hotel looks amazing. Love those pink pants of yours!

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  48. I would love to visit San Fran one day, your trip looks like amazing one. And the food looks so yummy, made me feel hungry .

    Nina
    Nina's Style Blog

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  49. San Francisco sounds amazing! Thank you for the tips, I'll bookmark this post :)

    Alyssa // STYLE VANITY ❤️

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  50. You did such a great job with this! San Fransisco is one of my favorite cities and you've pointed out some new spots to go for next time!

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

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  51. Looks like you all had a great time! I wish we had planned this stop a little more. By the time we go to looking, Alcatraz tours were sold out. I didn't know about all these other great ones you mentioned.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  52. Thanks so much for posting this - I'm so excited to go there !

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  53. San Francisco is one of those cities that you can't help but fall in love with when you visit. The hotel you picked sounds like the perfect location central to everything and the champagne surprise makes it even more appealing. I've been to SF a couple of times (for work) even though I got to explore a little bit on my free time, I never made it to Alcatraz or most of the places/restaurants you went to. I adore the last photo of you and Gary with the bridge in the background! I'm sure so many more memories were made on this trip 4 years later xo

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  54. That hotel room is beautifull. I would like to see the Muir Woods. This post makes me want to revisit a couple of places!

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  55. Aww I love how the hotel commemorated your anniversary!! That's definitely the kind of personal touch that makes me want to go back to places! I had NO idea that Minted actually had a store! That sounds amazing and SO dangerous!

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  56. I have to come back and reread this before my next trip out there - I go for work and usually end up exploring myself. Looked like so much fun!

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  57. I truly loved following along on this trip! I have been dying to get to Napa and San Fran, so I can't wait to use these as a reference when we finally get to visit! xx, I'm Fixin' To

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