Aren’t winter getaways just the best? Especially if you live in a place where the winter spans nine months of the year. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. If there’s anything Minnesotans love more than escaping the cold, it’s complaining (bragging?) about how long the winter lasts here. And that's exactly how this trip started.
A few friends and I were having brunch back in November, lamenting about the days getting colder and shorter. We started to think about warmer places. Two of us already had plans to go to visit Florida in early spring, which seemed like a lifetime away. We wanted to get away sooner! "Maybe we could go to San Francisco and visit Katie at Stanford?" suggested someone. Sold.
We booked our tickets a week later. And when January came, I was so glad we did. We ended up having a blast and the weather was awesome. Here are the highlights from our trip to “the City” (apparently that’s what locals call it):
1. Bike the Golden Gate Bridge. Sure, it’s a little touristy but this was BY FAR my favorite day of the trip. I’m sure the sunny, 70-degree weather didn’t hurt. We biked across the bridge to Sausalito, a great little town full of adorable shops and restaurants. After some debate about where to eat we ended up buying sandwiches from a deli and having a little picnic by the water. We couldn’t resist getting some ice cream before boarding the ferry back to San Francisco. The bike-ferry logistics were a little complicated but completely worth it.
2. The Ferry Building. From the Barcelona’s Mercado de La Boqueria to the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, I’m a sucker for these indoor markets. So colorful! So many tasty treats and cute little souvenirs! When we got the marketplace, our first stop was Blue Bottle Coffee, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! Across from Blue Bottle is Miette, for your macaron fix. Coffees in hand, we breezed right past the fresh produce stand to peruse the selection of French pastries. .
3. Choux. Disclaimer: This bakery is the size of a postage stamp. I heard about it from a coworker who mentioned they are known for their cream puffs. It turns out all they make are cream puffs. Nothing else. Now I love a good cream puff as much as the next person, but by late morning, after 45 minutes of walking (through the Tenderloin neighborhood, no less), a little cream-filled pastry was not going to get the job done. We ended up going across the street for a more substantial breakfast. When we were ready to move on we discovered that the Painted Ladies were right around the corner! So naturally, being the Full House nerd that I am, I had to check it out.
4. Brunch at Park Tavern. An upscale spot in the North Beach neighborhood, not far from Telegraph Hill and the Coit Tower. I obviously ordered the French toast but I also had my eye on the grapefruit brûlé and a chorizo-egg scramble. Whatever you do, make sure you order a Bloody Mary.
5. Grab a Burrito in the Mission District. This was the last stop before heading the airport. For $5 I had enough food for the next three meals. I went to La Taqueria but there are no shortage of places up and down Mission Street.
6. 620 Jones. This bar was conveniently located a few blocks from our hotel in Union Square. It’s one of those places that isn’t clearly labeled on the outside so you almost miss it walking by. Makes it feel very “insiders only.” The rooftop is awesome and the drinks are tasty!