We decided to tackle the North-central-east side of San Francisco via foot and cable car our first day (this area is seen as the most tourist-friendly because of how much there is to see within such a close area and of course because of the touristy shops/restaurants…no thanks Bubba Gump Shrimp Co!).
North Beach – We watched a few (there were four total) seals lay out on the boat docks at Pier 39 in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. One of the seals had its right hind side bitten out by a shark (poor guy!! he looked miserable..) but the people looking out for it were hopeful that it would heal and be fine! We were happy to see a few seals out because they are known to migrate south for the summer. Normally there are hundreds to be found at these docks during the late fall/winter months.
After saying bye to Andre we headed on foot toward Washington Square, the central hub of “Little Italy” where we grabbed some Gelato at a nearby Delicatessen (so fancy) and enjoyed the square where artists in the area had their work on display and locals were basking on the lawn. We had a hard time deciding whether to eat our gelato in the shade or the sun because the weather was in the upper 60’s/lower 70’s and in the shade it was almost too cold but in the sun it got hot pretty fast! Nearby a local in a tank top was preparing for a nap under the sun as she sprayed herself down with sunscreen but before passing out threw on a hoodie, for warmth? for sun protection? At least we weren’t the only ones confused by the weather.
Financial District – From there Sam found the closest cable car which unbeknownst to us took us into Union Square ,aka the central shopping area, where you can find big name stores such as: Macy’s, Coach, Dior, DSW, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and many others. Sam and I stopped into Sketchers to pick me up some comfy walking shoes and then headed back toward North Beach on foot. Uphill. Hello glutes!
On our way to Chinatown we needed an afternoon energy boost bad (at least I did) so we stopped into a place for coffee to sit awhile. Walking the hills is no joke! And there are so many places to pop in for a drink or a bite in San Fran which is a big part of its charm.
Once in Chinatown we walked down one of the most popular streets, also known as “the street of painted balconies” or Waverly Place. Being the oldest and biggest Chinatown in the country there was a lot to take in! A lot of culture, a lot of shops and restaurants, temples and churches, and people living life. We stopped for a moment to watch a volleyball match that was down an alley off a main street before moving on.
At this point we had worked up an appetite so we popped into another little place on the side of some random street for a giant slice of pizza and some soda before walking (uphill) through Telegraph Hill, “one of San Fran’s 44 hills and one of its original ‘seven hills’ to check out Coit Tower and the view (which was gorgeous).
10+ miles and we called it a day! We also decided on bikes for our second day which I’ll share in another post!