San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

June 15-27, 2022

As soon as we arrived in San Francisco, we found ourselves driving up an down the iconic steep hills as we navigated our way to the airport. We dropped off our car at the rental company office at San Francisco airport and then took an Uber into the city. We were staying for 12 nights at the Holiday Inn San Francisco – Golden Gateway. We’d hoped to stay in an Airbnb but the central apartments were so expensive that, surprisingly, a city centre hotel was the best option. The hotel was well located with a lovely view from our 22nd floor room, an outdoor swimming pool (bonus) and the traveller’s friend, an onsite launderette!

View from our 22nd floor room at the Holiday Inn, San Francisco
Prime Rib at Osso Steakhouse

Our stay in San Francisco was the longest amount of time we had stayed in one place since we left home in mid April (two months earlier). We were excited to take some time to catch our breath, enjoy the San Francisco vibe and meet up with friends.

On our first evening, we treated ourselves to a visit to a premium steakhouse, Osso Steakhouse. They were understaffed so the service was extremely slow but the steak was worth waiting for!

That evening, we also checked out our local area, Polk Street, and, what do you know, we found an incredible cocktail bar just a few minutes’ walk from our hotel. With a great atmosphere, superb cocktails and Golden State Cider, Hi-Lo Club, became our favourite spot for a nightcap on the way back to our hotel in the evenings.

Sightseeing in San Francisco

Riding the cable car in San Francisco

There is so much to see and do in San Francisco and we had plenty of time to see the sights:

  • Ride on the world’s last manually operated cable car system
  • Walk along the waterfront from the Ferry Building to Pier 39 and see the sea lions
  • Hop on a sightseeing tour – we joined the San Francisco Love Tour and travelled in style in a 1970’s funky VW hippie camper van
  • Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge – the iconic one mile long suspension bridge was opened in 1937 and is purportedly the most photographed bridge in the world
  • Chill out in the Golden Gate Park – we visited this sprawling and beautiful park a couple of times and particularly enjoyed the vibe at the Sunday afternoon free concert held at the impressive Spreckels Temple of Music
  • Take a wander around Haight-Ashbury – the neighbourhood known for being the centre of counterculture and hippiedom in the 1960s. It’s not that anymore but it’s still worth a visit for the shops, bars and restaurants and the nostalgia with nods to its history.
  • Visit Alcatraz Island – the site of the former maximum-security prison where some of the most infamous gangsters have been incarcerated including Al Capone, George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly. and Robert Franklin Stroud, better know as the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’. Many prisoners have attempted to escape but only three are thought to have made it. It’s a great experience to take the boat over to the island and explore the prison and learn about it’s history. The Island has more to recommend a visit as a site of historical significance being the site of the Indian ‘Red River Movement’ and Occupation from 1969-1971.

Meeting friends and enjoying the nightlife

Meeting up with Kishan and family

We had the chance to meet up with Kishan, my founding colleague at UXCam, and his family, as they were staying in Oakland – great to catch up with Roshan again, and meet their parents for the first time after hearing so much about them in the last ten years. Kishan was just getting ready for the birth of his first child, so big changes coming his way.

Stand-up comedy

We’ve always thought that the quickest way to get to know a city is to see some stand-up comedy so it was only natural that we would seek out San Francisco’s comedy clubs. Luckily, San Francisco has a vibrant stand-up comedy scene. We visited a number of venues whilst in San Francisco including comedy night at the Milk Bar in Haight-Ashbury which was a new material night with accomplished acts who kept the room entertained and the wonderfully named, ‘Cheaper Than Therapy’ club [and yes readers, she did buy the t-shirt!].

A night of live music with old friends

It was wonderful to meet up with Jenny and Eddie whilst we were in San Francisco. We hadn’t seen them for well over a decade; the last time being when we met up in Amsterdam for a weekend when they were on holiday. We saw a couple of great bands that evening at the rather wonderful Bottom of the Hill club: Southern Culture on the Skids and the Carolyn Sills Combo and purchased a couple of new albums to add to the soundtrack for our road trip.

After nearly two weeks in San Francisco, it was time to hit the road again. We picked up a new car to take us up to Seattle, a rather lovely BMW 5 Series.

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