San Francisco Trip In Review: Day #1 in Downtown SF

Having watched three movies on the plane, we landed in SF around 10:30am. As soon as we touched down we realized immediately how tired we were. We had taken Delta’s 7am flight out of New York, and our four hours of sleep the night before was already catching up with us. The time difference is REAL, folks!

Selfie on the plane! (I'd say Derek is pretty good at fake sleeping)

Selfie on the plane! (I’d say Derek is pretty good at fake sleeping)

As soon as we got through the airport, we summoned a car to take us to our hotel using our Uber app (how totally San Francisco of us). We were so grateful that a room was available when we checked in that we were more than happy to pay the small surcharge for a slightly upgraded room with an outdoor deck. It had been a long journey, and my head was on the pillow less than thirty seconds after opening the door to the room.

Lobby at the Hilton Union Square where we stayed

Lobby at the Hilton Union Square where we stayed

When I woke up a couple hours later, my boyfriend Derek had already started exploring the downtown area (Tenderloin and Union Square neighborhoods) and had grabbed us some lunch to eat in the room. After I gobbled down the food and took a quick shower, I finally felt refreshed enough to venture out to begin our sightseeing.

The first thing we did was hail a cab to take us to Ghirardelli Square. (Chocolate!…my priorities)

Archway entrance at Ghirardelli Square

Archway entrance at Ghirardelli Square

Picking out some chocolate in the shop

Picking out some chocolate in the shop

View of the Ghirardelli sign from the middle of the square

View of the Ghirardelli sign from the middle of the square

After we meandered through the Ghirardelli store and bought a few sweets, we started walking along the shoreline of the bay. Some of the clouds we had seen earlier in the day had dissipated and the sun was glistening on the water in the Bay as we took our first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge – gorgeous!

Next, we strolled along the docks from Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping to take photos when we liked the views.

Posing with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background

Posing with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background

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The walk was a perfect introduction to the city for Derek, who had never been to San Francisco before. We even stopped to film the below video of the bakers making the famous Sourdough bread at Boudin bakery. As I mention in the video, to this day they are still using parts of the original “mother dough” from 1849!

Once we reached the intersection of Battery and Embarcadero, we headed inland to meet my childhood friend Rachel for an early dinner – or what we thought would be an early dinner.

Derek checking out the menu at Tadich Grill - the oldest restaurant in San Francisco

Derek checking out the menu at Tadich Grill – the oldest restaurant in San Francisco

Rachel had suggested we go to the oldest restaurant in the city, Tadich Grill, which does not accept reservations. Even though we got there at six, the place was already packed! Since Rachel was running a little late from work, Derek and I enjoyed drinks at the bar as we waited. The staff was exceedingly friendly, and the food was worth the wait! Between the three of us we ordered some incredibly fresh and delicious sea food plates. How totally San Francisco of us.

Me and Rachel waiting for our food to arrive at Tadich Grill

Me and Rachel waiting for our food to arrive at Tadich Grill

After dinner, Rachel guided us to a hands-on science museum on the Embarcadero (the street that runs along the water) called the Exploratorium, which stays open late on Thursday nights for adult-admission only. In essence, the museum lets you act like a kid again and explore the exhibits – this time with a glass of wine in hand. Who could ask for more?!

Optical illusion at the Exploratorium - columns that look like there are people talking between them

Optical illusion at the Exploratorium – columns that look like there are people talking between them

To be honest, though, as we walked around the Exploratorium that evening it was easy to notice the amount of highly intelligent techies and scientists that reside in the city. SF is known to attract top talent in those fields, and I think our group stood out a bit with our three collective business degrees. But oh well! We still had a blast playing around!

Later, as we took a cab back to our hotel that evening, I remember how eager I was to continue exploring the city the following day. There was so much more to see!

In my next blog entry, I’ll continue to reflect on what we did/saw the subsequent days of our trip, which exposed more of the “real” San Francisco. It gets a little grittier, so stay tuned!

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