San Francisco

Quick Facts and Tips:

  • Locals refer to San Francisco as “SF”. Avoid calling it “San Fran” even though we know it can be intuitive to do so.
  • Uber pool is really cheap within the city! During rush hour, it could cost roughly the same as public transit, so before jumping on a bus or subway, I’d check the Uber app and then decide.
  • SF has microclimates in different areas of the city despite its small size (7×7 miles) because of its geographic location, and this is particularly true during the summer season. As a result, it is best to wear layers to dress accordingly to the weather of each block.

In October 2016, Megan and I and our friend, Alex, went to San Francisco for a quick weekend trip. It was our first trip together and we were beyond excited as we love traveling and have been planning a trip like this for so long!

During our first day in the city, we met up with our friend, Ziying, who was working in SF at the time. He picked us up early Friday afternoon and took us to our first stop – the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, it was a foggy afternoon, which impeded our view but nonetheless, it was still a magnificent sight. We took photos and stayed till sundown and we got to see the lights on the bridge light up.

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Alex, Catherine, Megan, and Ziying (from left to right) in front of Golden Gate Bridge

We didn’t walk on the bridge because the weather wasn’t the greatest and we have done it before on a previous trip to SF, but we would definitely recommend doing that if it is your first time in SF and you have some time to spare. You can stop by the Visitor Center to learn more about free guided tours as well as exhibits and to learn about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Our next stop was Mizutani Sushi Bar since we were craving sushi. It had good reviews on Yelp and it was only an eight-minute drive away from the Golden Gate Bridge. What more could we ask for? We definitely recommend this restaurant as the food was delicious and the service was excellent!

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Catherine’s order of the 10 piece nigiri

Alex ordered the omakase, and the sushi chef very patiently explained his choice of fish to us and answered our questions clearly. At the end of our meal, we received a serving of deep fried bananas with ice cream on the house, and thus concluded our first night in SF!

On Saturday, we split ways. Megan spent her day with family and I spent my day with friends.

Ziying and I arrived at Plow at 8:30am, right when the restaurant opens, to beat the notoriously long line as it doesn’t take reservations. Unsurprisingly, we weren’t the only ones with that plan and we ended up waiting around half an hour. Each bite was absolutely delicious and so worth the wait as well as early wake-up call. Plow’s decor is also incredible, full of big and airy windows and wooden tables, which gives it a rustic look.

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the plow and the eggs benedict with smoked salmon (from top to bottom)

After Plow, we headed to the Painted Ladies, a row of brightly-coloured Victorian and Edwardian style houses across from Alamo Square Park. Although the houses were gorgeous, the view was slightly disappointing because Alamo Square Park was undergoing renovations. Regardless, I was happy to be there because these houses were featured in the opening credits of Full House, and that was one of my favourite TV shows!

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The Painted Ladies

We headed to Sightglass Coffee in the SoMA (South of Market) District to meet my family friend. It was great to catch up with him and the interior of the cafe was gorgeous. I enjoy cafe-hopping and this one definitely tops the list. However, be careful if you’re planning on studying or doing work here as it doesn’t offer wifi or outlets.

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Sightglass Coffee from the second floor

Another good friend of mine, Anshuman, was also working in SF at the time and we picked him up and explored Lombard Street (where we met up with Alex), Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown (by accident as we missed a turn but I’m not complaining), Boba Guys (yes, that itself counts as a destination, and yes I’m a bubble tea addict), and a tour of Anshuman’s office. Coincidentally, Saturday was Anshuman’s birthday! I’m a big fan of celebrating other people’s birthdays and that made me really happy, especially considering that the last time the three of us hung out was probably back in high school.

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We ended the night at In-N-Out because I really wanted to try it despite being completely stuffed from dinner. I didn’t get to go last (and only) time I was in California, and it was my biggest regret from the trip.

at In-N-Out! one more item off my bucket list!

We got a burger protein style in an attempt to be healthy, animal style fries, a not-so-secret secret menu item, and a milkshake.

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this is the look of true love

I loved the burger and the shake, but next time, I’m just going to get regular fries because I found the animal style fries a bit too overwhelming for me but I love that In-N-Out prepares their fries on-site!

I ended my night visiting Ziying’s office and doing some work there before heading for the airport to head home.

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