Seal you at Pier 39: Adventures in San Francisco!

Zoom, zoom!
Zoom, zoom! Fast elevators at the Hyatt.

Although the main objective of our recent San Francisco trip was, of course, to run in The San Francisco Marathon, it was also my first time in the city, so I was excited to pack in as much sightseeing as possible in one weekend! Our first night, we stayed closer to the airport, in Millbrae, but on day two, we hopped the BART downtown to the Hyatt Regency – Embarcadero!

TALL lobby!
Impressive atrium!

I was immediately impressed by the retro-fabulousness of this atrium – and if you are a film buff, you might recognize it, even if you’ve never been there!

The hotel itself was very nice: large, clean rooms, great views and of course, an excellent location! As host hotel for the race, it was a stone’s throw from the race start/finish and also centrally located for public transportation and sightseeing (it’s right across the street from the Ferry Building).

View from our room; you can see the Ferry Bldg as well as the Bay Bridge!
View from our room; you can see the Ferry Bldg as well as the Bay Bridge!

After settling into our room (we were excited that a room was available so early in the day – around 10) we set out for our first stop: visiting Blue Bottle Coffee! Monica, of Run Eat Repeat had raved about it serving “the best ever iced coffee” so I knew I had to pay them a visit.

The line for coffee.
The line for coffee.

We waited about 20 minutes in line, but boy, was it good! I ordered the “New Orleans Style Iced Coffee” and hubs wanted to try the yummy smelling waffles! Neither disappointed, and they were perfect snacks to take with us on our walk toward Pier 39/the Fishermans Wharf and Ghiradelli Square!

Blue Bottle Waffle!
Blue Bottle Waffle!

On the walk up, we ran into my friend Linzie (so cool when you see friends in unexpected places) who I was planning on meeting up with later! After a quick chat, we bid farewell for the moment, and we set on our walking adventure.

Me and my coffee!
Me and my coffee!

Although it was a little windy (ya think 😉 ), the temperature was perfect and the walk was very pleasant. There were lots of cyclists, runners and tourists – a great mix, which made for excellent people-watching.

Spotted Coit Tower
Spotted Coit Tower!

Before long, the pier numbers were increasing and we were at the famous Pier 39! I definitely HEARD them before I saw them…

Pier 39 loungin'
Pier 39 loungin’
Hubs took this pic with our zoom :)
Hubs took this pic with our zoom 🙂

We hung around there for a while, and checked out the views – it was pretty clear and we could see Alcatraz…we didn’t have quite enough time to visit on this trip, but it was really neat to see in person.

See back there?
See back there?
Alcatraz ZOOM!
Alcatraz ZOOM!

The next stop was down at Pier 45, to an attraction that had been highly recommended to me by several SF-lovers: the Musee Mecanique! I had told hubs about it before we arrived, but of course, he was confused when we saw the entrance. Thankfully, it’s admission fee (FREE) was enough convincing for him 😉

Musee Mecanique
Musee Mecanique

Inside the MM, there are TONS of old, cool coin-operated games, machines and arcade attractions:


We broke a $5 bill into quarters and played a few games, did a few fortune teller machines and of course, made a pressed penny for my collection. It was definitely a cool stop and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Naturally, all that fun made us a little hungry, so it was time to head to the Boudin Bakery! Eating here was definitely on my MUST DO list since I love the version at Disney California Adventure – always a Disney connection 😉

Bakery Cafe area.
Bakery Cafe area.

Since it was 12:30ish, the quick-serve location was pretty busy, so we opted to head upstairs to the restaurant (Bistro Boudin)….which turned out to be an incredible idea, since we got a great view of the water and didn’t have to fight for seats, or have to worry about seagulls stealing our food 😉

At Bistro Boudin

I had the Bistro Shrimp Salad – Grilled shrimp, grilled avocado, chopped romaine, orange supremes, red peppers, jalapeño and cilantro vinaigrette and hubs had the Dungeness Crab Cake Sandwich – Toasted sourdough, lettuce, tomato, avocado and lemongrass mayonnaise – which he promptly declared as “the best sandwich he had ever had in his whole life.” So yes, I’d say it was a delicious meal…and of course, unlimited sourdough bread basket ❤

After that meal, it was time to head back out…

The Famous Sign
The Famous Sign

…we walked along, enjoying the breeze, and there it was…

...first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge!
…first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Yes! Although there was a faint layer of fog, I could see it! Very exciting!! It blew my mind to think I’d be running over it the very next day…but first: more carbs!

Ghiradelli Square!
Ghiradelli Square!

We met up with Linzie for ice cream sundaes, which was a perfect place to chat, eat delicious ice cream and just enjoy! Neither one of us could finish our ice cream before it melted, but it was fun trying 😉

Ice cream + friends = happiness.
Ice cream + friends = happiness.

That ice cream energy certainly came in handy for the next part of our walking tour of San Francisco…

Hills, what hills?
Hills, what hills?

I had noticed on the map that we were not that far from the famous twisting Lombard Street! Although we didn’t have a car to drive down it, I figured it would still be cool to see it, and walk down the sides on foot 🙂

Definite tourist attraction!
Definite tourist attraction! Loved it!

At this point, we had walked somewhere around 7.5 miles, according to my fitbit. Since hubs was a little nervous about the race the next morning, we decided to head back to the hotel, this time cutting through Chinatown and some other neighorhoods.

Chinatown! Cool to see the transitions…

We called it an early evening (although I walked back to the Ferry Building to grab hubs some items for breakfast, and wandered a bit, reaching 11 miles walked) and settled in the hotel watching the silly ‘Mermaids’ documentary on television. It would be an early wake up call and a packed Sunday (the race, my plans of visiting the Presidio, and of course, our travels back home) but it was a great feeling to have accomplished so much in one day!

Have you ever visited SF? If yes…what was your favorite thing to see? If no…what would be at the top of YOUR bucketlist?


  1. We have a condo on Powell & Pine and try to visit at least once a year. San Francisco is my favorite city in the entire world. I’ve lived on 5 of 7 continents but every time I get off the plane in SF I just feel like it’s home.

    BTW, did you walk the stairs/trail up to Coit Tower? After all my marathons even I won’t do it! My wife does it every time. She has legs of steel! LOL

    • I am adding that Coit Tower climb to my list of things to do on my next trip to SF already! I didn’t want to torture my hubs too much! 😉

  2. I’ve always wanted to tour San Fran! There are so many things to see and do there. Alcatraz is totally on my bucket list (is that weird?). Looks like you had a great time…and um that waffle looked fabulous.

    • If you can, do Alcatraz on Halloween! We did the tour one year on Halloween and it was spectacular. After the tour they do these stories/talks with the rangers as you walk back down to the ferry. Do the one on Al Capone.

    • ZOMG that waffle: magical. I want to do the Alcatraz night tour, but we didn’t book soon enough! I will definitely try it next time because I love that sort of thing 😀

  3. Hmm…Might need to brave the line and have this waffle (I’ve never seen it before, but then again, I totally take for granted that Blue Bottle is just there and that other places brew the coffee). The walk/run up to Coit is a must, and one day I’ll head over to Alcatraz. GGP and all its museums are a must visit, along w/ the Exploratorium.

    • Hah! You’d love the waffle 😀 Sooo good. Hope to see you soon and we can have some treats 😀

  4. Love!

    We went to SF as part of our honeymoon in 2006. It was one of my favorite cities. We stayed near Fisherman’s wharf, in the Argonaut Hotel, which was awesome. I loved the sea lions, the hills, visiting Alcatraz, and just wandering around. We had the most amazing meal at Boboquivari’s and absolutely had ice cream sundaes at Ghiradelli’s. This post brings back so many memories.

    • NO WAY! We walked by that hotel, and those bellmen with their awesome uniforms….wow. I was like, “ONE DAY WE HAVE TO STAY HERE!”

      That must have been an amazing trip!

  5. San Fran is one of my favorite cities in the whole country. I’ve been there many times as my mother use to live in San Jose so it was not a stretch to go for the day. You definitely need to do Alcatraz next time you visit. I need to go back as I was rather large (pregnant with twins) and not allowed, due to the unseasonable heat, to do parts of the tour.

    • I definitely wanna do Alcatraz…I am especially interested in the night tour!! I know we’ll be back 😀

    • Somehow I cannot believe that you’ve never been there, C! You’d definitely love it.

    • YOU ARE SO RIGHT, CHRIS! Left coast is the best coast.

      I cannot wait to visit again!!! It was great to meet you.

  6. I love SF!! I haven’t spent a lot of time there, but I love walking along the waterfront (and of course ending up at Ghiradelli Square! yum!). Alcatraz is incredible. Musee Mecanique looks really interesting – I’ll have to put that on my list for my next trip there.

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