Trip to San Francisco – Days 5-6

Today I’m going to wrap up the last two days we spent in San Francisco. Thursday the 8th, we left Sonoma and returned our rental car back in San Fran. We checked in to our last hotel for the week. The Westin St Francis in Union Square. We got a great rate ($199 for 2 double beds) through the Avon walk. The room was really big and spacious. The hotel itself was beautiful and Union Square was a lot of fun.

Cable Car – too bad it was full!

We went across the street to get one of the $11 passes for public transportation. Since the cable car costs $5 to ride, and the buses and F-line are $2/ride, we figured we’d get our money’s worth. The line at the ticket station was crazy long and since it was so cold, Hubby and I ran over to Macy’s to get a sweatshirt for him.

Pagoda at Japanese tea garden

Once we were finally on our way, we decided to hit up Chinatown. We waited for a little while to ride a cable car, but every one that went by was full so we gave up on that. Instead we just walked over to Chinatown. We were all hungry and decided to get dim sum at New Asia. It was a great experience and the food was good. Our bill at the end was $40 for the 4 of us.

Dragon at the gateway to Chinatown

Next we wanted to see the Golden Gate Fortune Cookies. It’s a small little place that’d you’d miss if there weren’t a bunch of other people going there too. There are two women who make the fortune cookies by hand. We bought a bag of chocolate and regular fortune cookies for $4 and had fun snacking on them the rest of the trip.

Cable Car Museum

Then we walked over to the Kong Chow Temple. It was really neat to see a real Buddhist temple. We did want to see the Chinatown gate as well, so we headed down to see that. We were kind of backtracking and should have gone there first, but we were hungry when we first set out. We enjoyed seeing all the markets and shops in Chinatown as we were walking around.

Pretty house and flowers on Lombard St

The next thing to do on our list was check out the Cable Car Museum. It’s free and really informative. Being a bunch of engineers and a history teacher, we all loved learning about how the cable cars work and the history behind them. They only go 9.5 miles/hour max and the cables all run through the museum. This was my favorite part of the trip (until we went to Alcatrez).

Looking up Lombard St

From the cable car museum, we were able to catch a ride on one! We rode it up the street to Lombard street (aka the Crookedest Street). We walked down the stairs on Lombard and snapped some pictures. There were quite a few cars driving down the curvy road at the same time.


We walked the short distance over to the Fisherman’s Wharf. A&J hadn’t been yet, so we went to Boudin Bakery to try some sourdough bread. I got a mini turtle and a cinnamon-chocolate loaf (amazing btw) for Hubby and I to snack on. Asha got a bread bowl with chili. It was a great little snack for all of us. Then it was about time to head down to Pier 33 for our Alcatrez tour.

Inside the halls of Alcatrez

I ordered the tickets for the night tour online about a month in advance. The latest tour was already sold out at that point, so we were on the 6:10 tour. This is something everyone should do when visiting SF. Hands down, our favorite part of the trip. The tour included an audio tour that you could listen to at your own pace and wander around. The views of SF from The Rock were pretty cool and Hubby and I had a great time taking a bunch of pictures, especially when the sun started setting.

Movie poster for The Rock (which happens to be one of my favorite movies!)

When we got back to Pier 33, we were hungry for dinner, but tired from a long day. Across the street was Hillstone. We decided it was a good choice because of the location and the menu posted outside looked tasty. Hubby and I split the house salad, roasted broccoli, and rotisserie chicken. It was all amazing. A&J split an Asian salad that looked great too. Hubby also had a glass of wine and our total was $50. This was our second favorite meal of the trip (after Roy’s), but much more affordable!

Sunset at Alcatrez

That night we went home and crashed. Friday was our last day of sight-seeing and we wanted to do some relaxing to prepare for the Avon Walk. We started the day at Lori’s Diner. I didn’t write down how much our meal was there, but it was standard diner breakfast food. Good, but nothing amazing.

Rose in the rose garden

We hopped in a cab and headed over to the Golden Gate Park. We checked out the Japanese Tea Garden, which cost $7 to get in to. It was very serene and the landscaping was amazing. We wished they had a tour to talk about all the different plants and such. Then we walked through the rose garden. It had rained the night before so there was still some dew on the roses. I got some pretty sweet pictures in there. We walked around some more and decided to call it a day near the Conservatory of Flowers. Asha and I wanted to get off our feet and we needed to head over to the Castro to meet up with Hubby’s Aunt.

Mini Turtle from Boudin

We were able to grab a cab who drove like a mad man up and down super steep hills near Buena Vista and ended up in the Castro. We had planned to go to Ike’s Place based on a recommendation from a coworker. There was a line down the block, but we didn’t want to sit outside, so we decided instead to check out La Mediterranae. The food here was good and the tea that Hubby ordered was quite tasty.

Watch tower at Alcatrez

After we ate lunch, we headed up to see the Castro Theatre. We had fun doing some people watching on the corner and I grabbed a double chocolate cookie from Hot Cookie. It was huge and I didn’t think I could eat it all in one sitting, but before I knew it, it was gone. Hubby and I said our goodbyes to his Aunt and jumped on the F-line back to the hotel.

Castro Theatre

It was about 3:00 at that time and the last touristy thing we wanted to do was take the elevator up to the top in the Westin. It’s an all glass elevator that goes to the 31st floor and you get some great views. You don’t have to be a guest to go up in the elevator to check it out. We just happened to be staying there. Once we got back to ground level, our sight-seeing days were over. Asha and I started laying out our stuff for the walk and the boys had a crew meeting. If you missed my recap of the Avon Walk, check it out here.

Tree stump in the park

Sunday night after the walk, we headed out for dinner. We were all in the mood for a beer and a burger. Our cab driver suggested BurgerMeister. He gave us all sorts of SF movie trivia while he drove us there. Hubby got the BurgerMeister and some AMAZING garlic fries. If you like garlic, get these fries. I had a turkey burger and curly fries. We each had a beer and it was ~$40. It really hit the spot and at that point we were all exhausted.

Approaching Alcatrez

Monday morning, A&J got up to catch their planes pretty early. Hubby and I took our time in the morning since our flight didn’t leave until 2:00. We went to the Taylor St Coffee Shop for brunch. It’s a very small place but would be worth a wait. I got the vegetarian breakfast sandwich and a bowl of fruit. I was expected the sandwich to have egg on it, but it didn’t. It was delicious even without the egg. Hubby got the Sailor hash. It had a bunch of seafood in it and he was in heaven. Our bill came to $30 for our last meal in SF.

View of San Fran from Alcatrez

Hubby and I had a great time in San Francisco. There were so many things to see and do and I think we got a good mix while we were there. I hope you enjoyed the recap posts!

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19 Responses to “Boston Marathon 2013”

  1. #
    Fiona — April 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Jen! I completely understand where you’re coming from and how you feel…do nice things for yourself

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 8:50 am

      You do the same Fiona

  2. #
    Kristen — April 19, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is UNREAL. My husband Jeff ran the Boston Marathon this year, and I spent the day traveling around on the T watching the marathon with my in-laws. We ended the day just a block from the blast sites – I shared my story here:; Jeff’s story here:

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your and Jeff’s stories. What a day you guys had. I’m glad you’re safe.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      I added these links to the body of the post.

  3. #
    Shannon — April 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

    It definitely does help to put some words together. And I feel the same way- even though I was volunteering at the 10k, i can’t help but wonder why wasn’t i volunteering at the finish line so I could’ve helped?

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      I agree – it was therapeutic to write this up.

  4. #
    Katie L — April 19, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for sharing Jen. I haven’t lived in Boston for 4 years now, but my husband and I had a similar reaction. We both wanted to get “home” to the city we love, a city that becomes part of your being no matter where you go next.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

      I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Living in Boston leaves such a strong impression…

  5. #
    Jen — April 19, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I’m a longtime reader, first time commenter. First I want to give you big virtual hugs regarding the events in Boston. Your feelings are no less valid, no less important. My heart goes out to you. Also, I want to say, welcome to Cincinnati! I live east of the city and am a transplant from Seattle. Cincy is growing on me, and slowly but surely I’m starting to tell people that I’m from Ohio not Washington. 🙂 Best wishes to you and thank you for sharing.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

      Jen – thanks so much for commenting. I realize that at some point I’ll say I’m from Ohio, but the events of this week just my my heart tied even tighter to Boston…

  6. #
    Jene — April 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I’m so glad all of your Boston people are safe. I can completely relate to your feelings of helplessness, I felt the same way after 9/11. It’s hard to be away from family and friends and a city that you love when tragedy strikes.

    Big hugs for you and your crew.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

      Thanks Jene. I’m sure it’s very similar to how you felt around 9/11.

  7. #
    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — April 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I feel the same way–Boston was my home for four years of college. I love that city. I feel like it is MY city. I wish I was there, locked in with friends, watching the news and hugging them. I feel so helpless on the other side of the state, so far away.

    As soon as I’m able I’m going to the city and having a moment in the Common before heading to all my favorite places. My heart aches for the city, I wish I was there.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way. We are trying to make plans to get back to the city sometime soon as well.

  8. #
    Kathy — April 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Oh I so know how you feel.. I live in Michigan. I’ve been here for almost 10 years, and I still call Boston home. It’ll always be home to me. You’re not alone!

    • beantownbaker — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one. I definitely think Boston will always feel like home to both me and Hubby.

  9. #
    VTHokie — April 22, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I know exactly how you feel – I am a 2004 graduate of Virginia Tech. I was at work when the April 16th incident happened in Blacksburg, and I felt SO far away, and SO hopeless – the only place I wanted to be was in my beloved Blacksburg.

    To make matters worse, I flew to Missouri the next day (for work) for 3.5 weeks. It seemed that the people out there had ALREADY moved on from the tragedy – it just made NO sense to me. I cried most of those 3 weeks, and since I was out there by myself it was a struggle.

    I have always loved Boston, and I know that that community will love and support one another, just as Blacksburg did (and still does). It was the sixth anniversary this past Tuesday, and with everything happening in Boston, and the thoughts of VT and Blacksburg, it was an extremely long and tiring week.

    Stay strong.

    • beantownbaker — April 22nd, 2013 @ 11:46 am

      That sounds like a horrible situation for you in the aftermath of the VTech tragedy. Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your story.

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