When we were booking our flights to New Zealand, we had the option to choose a short stop in San Francisco or a 12 hour layover. Both options had us arriving in NZ at the same time.
K and I had never set foot in San Fran outside of the airport. Being the adventure lovers that we are, we decided to do the long layover and see as much of the city as we could. We got to see a lot of highlights, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, cable cars, Lombard Street, and Chinatown. How did we do it?
- First, we had a plan. We narrowed down our list of must see sights, went on Googlemaps, and plotted out a tentative itinerary for our trip in March.
- Once our plane arrived, we stored our luggage at the Airport Travel Agency for a small fee.
- Next, we took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from the airport to the Embarcadero stop. It was about a 30-minute ride.
- From Embarcadero, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. We did some seal watching at Pier 39 (one of my favorite things!) and we spotted Alcatraz Island. I only wish we would have had time to tour Alcatraz!
- K had the great idea to rent some bikes as it was beginning to be questionable if we would make it to the Golden Gate Bridge and still have time for other activities. Once on the bikes, we made great time and ended up biking over the bridge and then back across. It was surreal being on the bridge. I’ve seen it in movies and on TV shows, but seeing it in person was pretty amazing.
- After returning our bikes, we got some lunch – seafood chowder in a bread bowl, of course!
- Then we did something that was on my original bucket list – #16 to be exact – ride a cable car in San Francisco. There was a long line of people waiting for a ride…it was definitely a touristy attraction. The ride itself was short. I’m glad we did it, but the spontaneous adventure of riding bikes across the bridge was definitely the highlight of our day trip.
- We got off the cable car in Chinatown and briefly walked through.
- Our last stop was to see the crookedest street in the city (Lombard St). It was also very crowded with tourists… so crowded that there were police directing traffic and pedestrians.
- Finally, we took the BART back to the airport. After 8+ miles of walking and 12+ miles of biking, we were pretty exhausted! K was asleep before the plane even took off.
Have you ever been to San Francisco? I’d love to hear about your trip!