Millions of people flock to San Francisco to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge or the Painted Ladies as seen in Full House. These beautiful sites are right outside my door. So I was excited to be a tourist in my beautiful city in which I was born and raised in.
I recently had a six day staycation and became a tourist. The question is, what to do or not to do? For example, if you have an out-of-town guest visiting for the first time EVER and for a short amount of time, what attractions do you see or what things do you do in order to capture how amazing San Francisco is without being overwhelmed? I limited this staycation to a few major activities/attractions that I felt captured my city. I have to admit, I’ve lived here my entire life and I am embarrassed to say there are some things I haven’t done or seen, like ride a cable car. Oh! Did I just admit that out loud? I’ve been on one just not one in motion. But don’t fear, I will do it and post lots of pictures of it when I do. Yes, I am one of those people.
I wanted to start the staycation off with a view of San Francisco. Twin Peaks is right up the street from my house, so this was our first stop.
So here is how we spent our six day staycation.
Night 1: California Academy of Sciences
This is by far one of my favorite places in San Francisco set in the beauty of Golden Gate Park. It has an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and more. While this is a great place for children to explore and enjoy, the Academy has “Nightlife at the Academy,” every Thursday night for adults only. The pros are: it is cheaper, alcohol is served, no children, and less crowded. I have been here several times during the day with my nieces and nephews but never at night for Nightlife. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it!
Day 1: Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf
We walked around the Pier, saw the sea lions, observed Alcatraz from land and had lunch at Boudin’s. You cannot go to the Wharf and not have clam chowder in a bread bowl. Yummy! After lunch, we went to the Wax Museum (only because I found a living social deal) and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum (which a friend highly recommended). My recommendation, skip the wax museum and definitely go to Ripley’s. Most wax figures did NOT look like the people. I left most of the figures saying, “Who was that?” If it wasn’t for the name displays, I would have left there very confused. Ripley’s had some really cool things. This being one of them:
Day 2: Golden Gate Park
You can spend the entire day in Golden Gate Park, which is larger than New York’s Central Park. There is so much to do and see there. Some of the attractions being the California Academy of Sciences, De Young Museum, Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, many other gardens, the bisons, Legion of Honor, a carousel and park. We decided to kept it low-key and had a picnic at Stow Lake. After lunch, we walked around the lake and did a little hike.
Day 3 and 4: Monterey Overnight
One thing I love most about San Francisco is being so close to take weekend getaways. Want to go skiing? Lake Tahoe is only four hours away. Want to have a romantic weekend? Monterey is only two hours. We headed to Monterey for an overnight stay taking the drive down Highway 1 with amazing coastal views. Of course, if this is your first time visiting Monterey, you want to check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We passed on it and felt, you’ve seen one aquarium, you’ve seen them all. Plus, we just saw the aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences and the Monterey Bay Aquarium can be quite expensive depending on how many guests you are entertaining. If there was more time, we would have stayed a few days in Carmel and Big Sur.
We spent the day driving to famous attractions which included the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, the crooked street on Lombard Street, Coit Tower, and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Day 6: Ocean Beach
We lucked out with warm weather during this staycation and decided to end it with a day at the beach. While there are many gorgeous beaches to visit in the Bay Area, we stayed near home and went to Ocean Beach (which is ten minutes from my house). After the beach, we went to Mitchell’s Ice Cream, which is a must for any ice cream lovers! Just check out the Yelp reviews yourself.