Between the time I finished school and my convocation, I “adulted” – solo travelling, find a job and move across the country. I have officially reached the stage where I feel ready to take on the world in both my career and travels. Being a fresh grad didn’t really hit me till I travelled to San Francisco, where I said my final goodbye to the West Coast. Yes, I packed my bags and moved over to Toronto due to the city’s career opportunities and multicultural bustling lifestyle.
I’ve always loved San Francisco – the people, food, beaches, sunny weather and the city’s vibe. Since Vancouver was still snowing in February, I escaped to the Bay area for the sun and the people. I wanted to leave the West Coast with a good impression of the area.
Twin Peaks Summit
Palace of Fine Arts
Golden Gate Bridge
Mission Dolores Park
Half Moon Bay
Shark Fin Cove
- San Franciscans are the nicest people I have ever met. I’m not going to go into detail about my SF friends because they made this trip happen for me but San Franciscans are so chill and welcoming. There’s a good vibe in the city and everyone is friendly.
- I actually did a solo trip to San Francisco and I got to enjoy the city the way I wanted to remember it. My schedule wasn’t crammed and I wasn’t restricted financially or geographically. People say that travelling alone sounds lonely but it was extremely therapeutic for me.
- Driving down Highway 1 along the beaches to Davenport was a jaw dropping experience. We rented a Mini Cooper and got a bunch of friends to join us on a roadtrip to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the Bay Area.
- I pretty much lost it when I stepped into Oracle Arena to see the Golden State Warriors play during their peak season. Even though they completely destroyed the Chicago Bulls, this was my first live NBA game and I chose to watch this year’s best team (and 2016 Champions).
- The arts culture in San Francisco is bustling. There is street art everywhere and SF MoMa was just as immersive as NYC MoMa. I also got to watch RENT on broadway and would highly recommend anyone to look for broadway shows whenever they’re travelling to a big city.
- The seafood in SF is hands down some of the best I’ve had. From freshly shucked oysters to baked scallops, I did not stop when it came to seafood lunches and dinners.
San Francisco Tips
- Uber and Lyft will be your best friends. Instead of taking their train system, taking an Uber or Lyft is cheaper than their public transportation. The city is small enough and you save a lot of money if you do UberPool too.
- San Francisco is a small grid city and there are certain areas for specific events. Take your time and enjoy the coffee shops and bakeries in the daytime then go for dinner and drinks nearby. I did not find much around the Financial Area but instead I really enjoyed SoMa, Hayes Valley, and Tenderloin.
- Always bring a pair of sunglasses and an umbrella. The weather fluctuates within the day so be prepared for rain and shine within an hour.
- Walk. I know that the hills are a killer but you also get to see the old Victorian looking apartments along the hills and each one is very unique.
- Walking also has its downfalls. Google Maps told me that it’ll be an easy walk but what they didn’t tell me were the rolling hills that I’ll be climbing. San Francisco definitely makes you walk and if you’re not as fit as me, then you’ll struggle a bit.
- This isn’t so much of a challenge but it smells like pee in every single Bart station. Just a minor complaint.
I barely shopped in San Francisco and majority of my spendings were on food, transportation and drinks. The city is pretty big on credit card payments instead of cash so it definitely didn’t help when I carried so much cash with me. Regardless, things weren’t too expensive in San Francisco but depending on where you eat, the food and drinks can get pricey. I would say that I spent the most on Uber and Lyfts than anything else.
As I mentioned earlier, take Ubers and Lyfts instead of public transportation unless you’re going on a road trip or further outside of the city. Compare Uber and Lyft prices to save a few bucks and always take UberPool if it’s cheaper. Either way, both options will be cheaper than public transportation.
Even being in Toronto (one of the best food scenes in Canada), I miss the Bay’s food scene. I lived in SoMa and was surrounded by many trendy places including Sightglass Coffee and Vive le Tarte. Other food places I’ve been to and have made a lasting impression on me: Hog Island Oyster, Humphrey Slocombe, Smitten’s Ice Cream, Tartine Bakery, Farmhouse Kitchen, Boudin Bakery, Peet’s Coffee, Woodhouse Fish Co., and Bi-Rite Creamery.
I drank every day in San Francisco. I have no idea how my body pulled through but San Francisco’s bar scene was so lit. I would recommend…
Rye: Staff were very friendly and the drinks were very intricate and creative.
Smuggler’s Cove: The one place to get completely hammered in San Francisco. My friends and I waited an hour to get into this small tiki bar and it did not fail us. They’re known to get people pissed drunk after one drink so beware.
Bourbon and Branch: A popular and very exclusive speakeasy to the point that you need a password to get in. All of their cocktails lived up to the speakeasy’s reputation so book in advance because this place gets packed.
Yes, I went into the secret room.
If you know people who work in any of the big tech companies in SF, hit them up. Visiting all of these headquarters was a huge highlight of my trip…mainly because I’ve always wanted to join a tech company. Each office has their unique design, especially Airbnb, and you can’t help but wow at their staff benefits and amenities.
San Francisco is a great city for a solo trip, couple’s trip or group trip. I actually enjoyed it more as a solo traveller because I got to meet more people and there was more freedom to walk around and take in the city the way I wanted to. I definitely will come back for more because I really can’t get enough of the sun and the city.