12 Hours to See San Fran? Challenge Accepted

12 Hours to See San Fran? Challenge Accepted

First things first, you need to know that I fell in love with San Francisco. 


I took the Monterey Airbus on the 8:15 A.M departure and I got to the San Francisco airport by 11 A.M! Like I said before, it is super convenient and it got me there with no delays!


I quickly dropped my stuff off at the Airbnb and made my way to the Bay Area Rapid Transit a.k.a BART (their metro) because I was so ready to start my adventure. I stayed in San Bruno, since it is right by the airport and is super convenient if you have an early flight to catch.

The game plan was to go from the Airbnb straight to the Golden Gate Bridge and work my way through those key tourist areas, but I was convinced by a lover/fan of In-N-Out Burger to go straight there instead. The lovely BART attendant encouraged me to buy the MINU Day Passport, and even though it was USD $25 (with the Clipper Card, $22 without) it was the best thing I did. I was able to ride all MINU metro, buses, cable cars (that are a whopping $7 one way) and street cars in the city with ease nor worries about taking out my change purse.

It took awhile to get my #expresstourism started because what was supposed to take only 50 minutes to get to In-N-Out, ended up taking two hours! After 15 minutes on the F-line, I asked the attendant if this was going to Fishermans Wharf and he told me that we were heading to the Castro Theatre, which is the complete opposite direction! I got off and retraced my steps until I was headed back on the right track.


When I finally got to In-N-Out Burger, I had to wait a little longer to put food in my system because there was such a long line to order and even a longer wait to pick-up your order! I found a seat and ate my yummy burgers and fries (fries were TOP NOTCH) and only after THEN I was able to kick my #expresstourism mode into full gear! 


I walked towards the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and took some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from afar. It was pretty foggy so it wasn't showing up in the pictures. I made my way up to Ghiradelli Square and checked out the Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghiradelli Square, one of the two Fairmonts in San Fran. I la-la-love the Fairmont Hotels and Resort Chain. I used to turn moments into memories while working at the Chateau Laurier and took great pride working for this company. Now, whenever I visit a city that has a Fairmont, you will find me there checking it out! This visit was one of the highlights of my day because when I went in and introduced myself, one gentleman from concierge, Zach, gave me a great welcome and even knew one of my former co-workers! The Fairmont world is a small one! He gave me a great tour of the hotel, a room, and also the mustard terrace that has a great view of the bay! 

Golden Gate Bridge is there if you look closely!

Golden Gate Bridge is there if you look closely!

The next stop on my list was going to catch a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, but after seeing how far it was on the map and considering how long it would take me to catch a bus, Zach pointed me in the right direction! He recommended to walk up right by the dock and then up a hill towards Fort Mason/Black Point because it has a viewpoint where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge! This little walk was a double whammy because I saw the bridge and also Alcatraz! The park right by it once you go down the hill seems like a perfect picturesque picnic spot, so bring your lunch if you can! 

Perfect picturesque picnic spot!

Perfect picturesque picnic spot!

I was waiting for the F-line streetcar to take me back to the Ferry Building at the stop by In-N-Out, when I realized I was close to another tourist spot-- Lombard Street! I got my cardio work out for the day climbing uphill and downhill to see the ‘Crookedest Street’ but was definitely worth it once I saw it. To be honest, it isn't hard to spot with all the tourists (including myself) in the middle of the street trying to get a shot!

This is the picture i got!


I saw the little dinky kart coming down and it gave me some Super Mario feels. I just had to get a picture! I can just imagine Mario and Peach riding down the street!

Powell-Mason cable car

Powell-Mason cable car


After a solid ten minutes, I referred to my handy map (Thank You Zach) and tried to find the Original Fairmont--The Fairmont San Francisco. I got on the Powell-Mason cable car line and made it to the hotel. Once there, I checked out their beautiful lobby, rooftop terrace, and their lounge. I had no idea that Tony Bennett resided there back in the day! I stood, and took in the famed Venetian Room stage, where he first performed in public ‘I left my heart in San Francisco’ back in 1961 for a benefit dinner and concert. The hotel was bustling and absolutely beautiful. It was everything I imagined this grandiose hotel to be for the period it was built in.

After I collected my jaw off the floor, I made it all the way down California street to finally get a picture of the Ferry Building. I only realized at this point, how sore my legs were from all the walking I did! According to my Health App, it registered that I walked 15.5 km and climbed 42 floors/ 23,416 steps. This might not be a lot for you but my legs were sore, so they were a lot for me! Once there, my phone battery was at 2%, and the sun was setting. It was almost as if the sun and my phone were telling me to go home and sleep, but obviously I did not let that stop me, there was still a couple more things I wanted to see!

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

Buddha Beer

Buddha Beer

The last stop of the night, or so I thought, was Chinatown! Apparently San Francisco has the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America! I figured it was best to go at night to see the lights and lanterns decorating the streets. I browsed some shops, and found my way to a must visit spot -- Buddha Lounge. It is max a ten seater bar with very dim lighting, cheap drinks (compared to anywhere else) and the gentleman who runs the place is a GEM. There is amazing energy in the air that gives Buddha Lounge its atmosphere and maybe the reason why I feel like everyone should give it a visit! They have no website, but this is their address: 901 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA. Go there.


Like I mentioned, I thought Chinatown was going to be the last stop of the day before I made the hour trek back to San Bruno, but it was not. While at Buddha Lounge, a couple walked in and the girl had an AMAZING coat on. I had to tell her how much I loved it and how great she looked! We all got to talking, found out it was her birthday week celebration and when she heard that I was only here for a couple hours in San Fran, they invited me to check out more places with them that are their favourite spots! We got into an Uber (yes I know, I shouldn't get into cabs with strangers, no one should, sorry Mom) and went to Bob's Donuts. I did not expect to eat the best donut in the world. It is a Crumb Donut that I wanted to eat forever. It literally beats my favourite Sour Cream Glazed Donut from Tim Hortons (my fellow Canadians should know what I am talking about). If you are in San Fran and looking for a snack, please go to Bob's Donuts.




*On a side note, if you know of another donut place in this world you think could top this deliciousness, or you think I should try, please send me an email and I promise I will give them a try!


We then went to Harper & Rye, which is their favourite bar that serves delicious drinks in big mason jars that serve like four people. We did not indulge in one of those (next time I’m here, I’m trying this mason jar sensation) but we had Whisky and Tangerine Highballs instead and let me tell you, I had summer in a glass. YUM.

The night had to end somewhere and this was the perfect ending by meeting some awesome locals!



Aren’t they cuties!?!

At around midnight I called it a day since I had an Airbus to get the next morning to bring me back to San Jose to catch my flight. 

In 12 hours I ate In-N-Out Burger for the first time, saw the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, visited two Fairmont Hotels, rode on the street car that Harvey Milk rode on, rode on all three historic cable cars that are left in San Francisco, met amazing San Franciscans and also the cutest couple, had a Buddha Beer (I took a bottle home as a souvenir) and got a great cardio work out by walking the iconic hills of San Fran. I seriously cannot wait to go back!

Thank you San Fran! 


San Fran Tips

-       Buy the day pass on the MINU system and ride a cable car

-       Buy Museum of Ice Cream tickets ahead of time (if available) because you will end up like me and be unable to go

-       Wear comfortable shoes

-       Check out City Hall, it is a beautiful building (I only saw it from the street car)

-       Visit the Cable Car Museum, it's free admission!

-       Get a Crumb Donut from Bob's Donuts

-       Have a Buddha beer at the Buddha Lounge