PHOTOS: The Weekender | Soaking Up San Fran Pt. I

My dose of San Francisco was tiny but strong.

A familiar weakness began to creep up -- (i.e. wanderlust, or in this case, Cali-lust) -- one only a getaway could alleviate. I was cured by my encounter with a city I've wanted to step foot in ever since seeing my mom's post cards from her trip at least 15 years ago. The pesky cold I caught (having sick coworkers throughout the office is just dandy, isn't it?) tried to hold me back, but I'm Rick Ross in these streets when it comes to adventuring through a city. I wasn’t going to let my cold deter me from being the super tourist that mommy dearest has conditioned me to be.

So, sore throat aside, I was ready to tackle the streets of SF from the moment we crossed the Bay Bridge into the city. We packed in a ton of sightseeing in under 3 days. Over the weekend, the visions I had of what San Fran was like came to life as I laid eyes on the city’s rainbow mix of townhomes coloring every neighborhood, and the historic trolleys and cable cars that clattered along the streets.

Te and I were gifted with the pleasantries of a charmingly characteristic city that would show to live up to my expectations. What I hadn't realized though was just how beautiful it was going to be everywhere! We bounced around admiring views: those from atop its famed hills, in downtown blocks lined with architectural gems, the tranquil scenes of the bay, the calming grassy parks, and don't even get me started on the many viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge. I couldn't put my camera down.

Downtown San Francisco - Tenderloin/Union Square District

Speaking of Golden Gates, the first landmark we found our way to was not yet the iconic bridge, but Golden Gate the Park. Locals refer to it as the Central Park of the West. It's an expansive treasure stretching over 1,000 acres, with something in the park for everyone. Museums, a botanical garden, lakes, sporting outlets (golf and tennis), and Segway tours are just a few of the ways to spend hours on end here.

Our weekend long sprint didn't allow sufficient time to traverse much of the park. We went only for a preview while waiting for our room to be ready, traipsing through one of its section to have a look at the Japanese Tea Garden and the oval-shaped music concourse, both of which striking and just awesome.

SF felt notably different than LA, while still carrying that light and breezy California vibe. Since SF city limits aren’t relatively widespread, most of what we wanted to see was only about a 10-20 minute ride from where we stayed in the Union Square district. The best part about it? No traffic all weekend. Well -- let me rephrase that -- we were rarely held in traffic. Other than being briefly held up due to major downtown construction being done in the shopping district, there weren't any jams to speak of. And if you know anything about getting around in LA, this was a welcome relief.

de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park

Music Concourse band shell, Golden Gate Park

San Francisco street art

Forever 21 interior

Downtown SF shopping district

All the shopping you could wish for

 St. Peter and Paul Cathedral on Washington Square

Trolley cables along a typical SF street

Trolley cables along a typical SF street

Downtown art gallery across from Union Square

An interesting perspective piece

Fresh flowers, DTSF

Brightness on a cloudy morning

Walking through Chinatown

Chinatown streetside fresh fish market

Quaint homes tucked away in Telegraph Hill

Preview of next post!

Preview of next post!

Fisherman's Wharf landmark

Sunday was the only day we had in its entirety, so we spent it on the move for all of our waking hours. At the top of our morning, we strolled from our hotel in Union Square through the 5th Avenue-like shopping district, then through Chinatown, finally arriving in Telegraph Hill for brunch at Mo’s Grill (I looove how walkable this side of town is). Our next stop was to the Fisherman’s Wharf, another San Fran staple, the buzzing bayside area lined with seafood restaurants and beachy shops. We walked by a boat in port announcing its last call for passengers before taking off on an hour long tour, which we decided to join on a whim.

The ferry ripped through the Bay’s low waves underneath layers of dense fog that swallowed the city whole. The breeze was chilling and visibility was nearly non existent, however for only $15 each, it wasn’t a complete loss. I fed my interest in creepy things as I learned more about Alcatraz Island history, and snapped these appropriately eerie pictures of the famous old prison as we glided past. Plus, we were granted two wishes by our boater and tour guide as we passed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and back. I made the same wish twice for the skies to lift the fog back up into the ecosphere. No lie, my wishes were granted almost immediately, and by the time we unloaded the ferry back in port at the Fisherman’s Wharf, all was sunny and radiant in San Fran again...

… which it made it the perfect time to meet the Bay Area's pride and glory, the Golden Gate Bridge herself.

(Coming up on Pt. II *wink*)

Alcatraz Island

Loading dock for Alcatraz prisoners

Alcatraz behind a haunting fog

Clear as day - just 15 minutes later!

Approaching San Fran as the fog began to lift

Misty air and hair don't mix welll...

Fisherman's Wharf Seafood restaurants

Got this for $12 just to try some quick seafood  -- YUCK! Bad decision. So tasteless.

Bye bye Mr. Crab

When was your last weekend getaway & where did you go? Was it enough time away or just a teaser?

Kristen Noelle

I consider myself a softly eccentric urbanista. I’m quiet by nature, and I’ve generally always had a mellow laid-back vibe. However, when it comes to my preferences for fun, my style, and my overall thought process, I get a bit more eccentric. I like stepping out of the box of normalcy -- but without forcing anything. I’m a thrill junkie and I live for things that get my adrenaline pumping, such as riding on top of party buses in New York City and hanging off of skyscrapers in Vegas. I spring for bold hues, colorful prints and patterns, and a relaxed look that gives effortless-chic. I like exploring new places and capturing exciting sites. I’m a creative, with a million different ideas running through my mind each day. Whether I’m designing waistbeads, imagining up new clothing concepts, envisioning my next business venture, or planning my next adventure abroad, I’m always thinking of how I can create something great. Being raised in the suburbs but not far from the city and constantly traveling, I developed a love for the best of worlds. The calm and the crazy. The easy-going and the always-buzzing. The soft and the eccentric.