Category Archives: Guide to San Francisco

36 Hours in San Francisco

friday afternoon i was completely blindsided when i received a text from b asking,
“instead of just going up to the city for dinner on saturday, do you want to stay up there all weekend?”.
my mouth dropped. was he asking what i think he was asking?
i quickly said yes and asked questions later.
why was i so shocked?
b does love exploring cities as do i so that did not shock me.
the spontaneity shocked me a little but the big shocker was that he wanted to be in san francisco for 36 hours straight!
b doesn’t love big cities. he grew up in salt lake city and i think that is as big of a city as he would like to live in. he finds san francisco to be some what of a headache with the traffic, high prices for parking, hoards of people and aggressive pedestrians. he finds the city dirty and the people odd.
but he knows i love the city. he knows i love exploring. he knows this is my ideal weekend and he wanted to give me a little belated valentine’s day present. bless his heart. i will always remember this weekend because it was simply perfect . here’s what we did..



8pm: arrive in san francisco and check into the galleria park hotel.
the minute b asked me if i wanted to stay the weekend in the city, i scoured the internet for moderate priced hotels in good areas. i looked at both expedia and hotel tonight. have you ever used hotel tonight? it is my favorite travel app when searching for last minute deals. you are guaranteed a better rate booking through hotel tonight than expedia (i checked) but the catch is you can only book through the app 7 days prior to check in (it used to actually be the day of but they expanded their services).
the galleria park hotel is a boutique hotel located in the financial district (less than one mile from the ferry building). we greatly enjoyed our stay at the hotel. it was a stone’s throw from the bart station, the decor had a modern feel and the beds/pillows were especially comfy. the only draw back was the air conditioner was located in the window so you could hear noise from the street and the valet service was slow (despite paying $42/night — most hotels in sf charge this much or more for valet…)

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9pm: head to dandelion chocolate factory (via the bart),located in the mission district, for hot chocolate, frozen hot chocolate and desserts.
dandelion chocolate factory closes at 10pm on friday nights so don’t delay. i love their passion for chocolate and how they only use the highest quality coco beans. do try the frozen hot chocolate (not like serendipity at all– more of a dark chocolate, rustic taste) and brownies.

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9am: breakfast at il cane rosso located in the ferry building.
i partly picked this place because i can’t stay walking distance from the ferry building and not check out the weekend farmers market. and for how much b doesn’t love sf, he does love the ferry building (mainly for the cowgirl creamery).  this is a quaint cafe located next to blue bottle coffee. we enjoyed the french toast and slow scrambled eggs. do try to eat outside at their reserved tables so you can eat by the water (or bask in the sun as b enjoyed doing).

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10am: walk around the ferry building
check out cowgirl creamery (one of our favorites) because they give you free samples of all their cheeses! we also love doing the olive oil sampling and meandering through the farmers market for fresh produce.

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11am: catch an uber to the complete opposite side of san francisco to hike land’s end
let me preface by saying, i am not really a hiker. my mother wishes i was with all her attempts during our vacations while i was growing up but i usually complained the whole time. i will say, that i am enjoying it more now and if every hike was like land’s end, i would love to hike every day. there are some steep parts of lands end but it is not too difficult of a hike with stunning views. b and were literally taking pictures every two feet. we took the coastal path through the presidio heights neighborhood and ended up at the presidio. it was gorgeous. i loved every second of it.
on an uber note, have you heard of the uber carpool option? i hadn’t until this weekend and it may be only available in san francisco (i have to look more into it). it is where you share an uber with a person traveling to a nearby destination and right now it is only $5 for 1-2 people! i am talking $5 no matter how far the destination is (we paid $5 for 8 mile ride) but you do have to stay within sf. uber carpool is bumped to $15 if you want to go outside the city.

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12:30pm: then keep on walking to grab a sandwich at lou’s (located in the richmond area).i asked b his favorite part of the whole trip and besides spending time together he said lou’s. hands down. the sandwiches at lou’s are the best in the area (including south bay). b said it was some of the best turkey he has ever had. the sandwiches were thick and flavorful. i got the veggielicious sandwich and have never been so full in my life (considering no meat on the sandwich). you definitely get your money’s worth but be prepared to wait in a line and wait for your sandwich. well worth it as far as we were concerned.
do note, land’s end is not super close to lou’s. we were in the walking mood and just enjoyed the sunshine but it was a little bit of a trek. san francisco is known for making you walk miles upon miles though. b was monitoring his steps on his phone and we walked approx. 10 miles on saturday alone…


at this time, we headed back to the hotel to shower and give ourselves a bit of a rest. after feeling a little rejuvenated, we walked around the city a bit more and took in the sights. i loved the architecture and could have gazed at some areas of the city for days.

7pm: dinner at foreign cinema (mission district)
i had heard good things about foreign cinema and funny enough my boss was an investor of the restaurant when it first started. foreign cinema is not in the best neighborhood, but once you walk through the doors you are transported into a vibrant / modern atmosphere.  the menu is ever changing with the seasons, just the way i like it. the star of the meal for me was the key lime pie dessert and for b it was his sole entree (typical). we ended up sitting inside so we were not able to see the movie and next time will opt for the movie route because it sounded like a different dining experience.
only drawback with this place is service is a little on the slower side.

And after you have trekked all the way back to home base (ie your hotel) you may get hungry again. i know we did. but hey you are burning so many more calories so you deserve dessert after dinner’s dessert. just head on over to bob’s donut + pastry shop for classic donuts and take your time because it is open 24 hours. now this is the kind of big city living i would like!


9am: breakfast at tartine bakery (mission district)
yes, back to the mission and yes, 9am timing is a must (that’s when it opens). we made the mistake of taking a little longer to get ready and headed to tartine bakery around 10am and the line was insane! like 45 minute wait and i was getting hangrey at this point so truth be told we did not eat here but evident by the line (and my foodie sister recommended it), you should. we settled for craftsman + wolves and it was settling indeed. i was a little let down by my chocolate stacked croissant (lacked enough chocolate if you ask me) and b had the poppy seed muffin which was ordinary. lesson learned. wake up early for tartine bakery!