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Itinerary for a Perfect San Francisco Weekend

Over the years, I have had many “Perfect” San Francisco Weekends. From our first visit when I discovered the Sea Lions on Pier 39 to the weekend we sneaked off to get married to a birthday celebration with friends. But, this past trip ranks as our most perfect San Francisco weekend. Everything seemed to flow in such a relaxed atmosphere that our short weekend felt more like an entire week.

The highlights: The Cool Weather, Ferry Building Marketplace, Ferry across the Bay, Walking the Golden Gate, and Two Baseball Games.

Arriving Friday evening (a little early due to ditching out of work before five o’clock), we were greeted with the open arms of cool breezes ready to take us in. We had found a great hotel in a great location, Hotel Griffon, on Hotel Tonight, where we scored a great deal. For dinner, we headed to one of our favorite spots, The Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, for fabulous tapas, amazing brews and we even caught the end of the baseball game. If the Diamondbacks could have pulled out a ‘W’ over the Giants it would have enhanced the beginning of the trip even more, but there is only so much we have control over.

Saturday I woke up ready to go. Of the many San Francisco weekend trips we’ve made, I have only been across the bridge twice – once in a town car on the way to get married in Tiburon…and then again on the way back after we were officially hitched. For the past couple of years I have been stuck on the idea of walking or biking across the bridge, but for one reason or the other, it has never happened. I was determined to make it happen on this trip. Kris presented the idea of taking the ferry to Sausalito and then walking back to San Fran across the bridge. I loved this idea for two reasons: 1. I get to take a boat over to Sausalito; and 2. When we walk across the bridge, we’ll have the full view of the city in front of us.

Our hotel was mere steps from the Ferry Building, so we grabbed our coffee from the lobby and headed toward the bustling Saturday morning Ferry Building Marketplace before boarding the ferry. Sampling the fruit, cheese and chocolate (Dark chocolate almond brittle may be the best thing ever) in the cool San Francisco mornings is at the top of my list of ‘Best Things To Do in SF.’ Once we got our fill outside, we ducked inside to grab some breakfast sandwiches, as well as some sandwiches to take with us for later.

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

We took the seats in the front of the ferry boat for the trip to Sausalito. The fog was thick on the bay and we could barely see the bridge. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a clear, sunny day, but I suppose that is just part of San Francisco’s charm.

Golden Gate Bridge from Ferry Boat on a foggy July day

Golden Gate Bridge from Ferry Boat on a foggy July day

We didn’t spend any time in Sausalito, but instead headed straight for the cab stand. We directed our driver to drop us at the north end of the bridge on the east side. (The east side is designated for Pedestrians Only on weekends.) We were literally dropped off on the side of the road. From there, we followed the sidewalk around to the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge - View from the North end

Golden Gate Bridge – View from the North end

From the end of the bridge, we could see that the pylons were covered in fog. As we walked the stretch of the bridge, it seemed to lift a little, but was densly settled above us, never revealing the top of the bridge. The sun was fighting to come out and we could see splashes of bright light on the city, only for it to quickly be shaded once again.

Foggy San Francisco

Foggy San Francisco

It was cold – perhaps colder than I thought it would be – on the bridge and I was happy to have my 4 layers of clothes on, as well as gloves and a hat. It was the middle of July and I was dressed for winter…and I couldn’t have been happier!

Sarah on the Golden Gate Bridge

Sarah on the Golden Gate Bridge

We weren’t in a rush to get across the bridge and took our time to stop and look out over the water at the city. Below us, in the water, we spotted swimming sea lions and several boats. The cars, or more specifically, the trucks and buses, flying across the bridge giving it a good shake and sway made my knees turn to jelly. I couldn’t stand in one place too long without a being overcome with motion sickness. We made it across in about an hour and then spent time at the end of the bridge looking at the exhibits and simply people watching.

Golden Gate Bridge from the south end

Golden Gate Bridge from the south end

As we were getting a bit hungry (it was a long walk!), we headed toward Crissy Field Park and found a spot to sit and enjoy our to-go sandwiches we had picked up from the market in the morning, with a view of the bridge from below. We had decided to walk back toward the city as far as we could before we would grab a cab to head back to the hotel. Our perfect day was over yet – we had a baseball game to get to.

Lunch with a view

Lunch with a view

Going to a San Francisco Giants game is quite the spectacle. Their recent fame (much to my chagrin) has skyrocketed attendance…and prices. Luckily, the game wasn’t sold out and Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets were available for the incredible price of $39…each. Astounding. (What is more astounding is what they charge for beer, but I’m not even going to get into that!)

AT&T Park - Home of the San Francisco Giants

AT&T Park – Home of the San Francisco Giants

There are several sections designated for SRO, which is a bonus, because we got to move around the stadium. We started in the outfield and then, once it got too breezy, moved to a spot tucked up on the concourse behind home plate, where we witnessed a couple of insane calls by the umpire. Unfortunately, at the end of the nine innings, the Dbacks were behind- yet, even without the win, it was still pretty much perfect.

Sarah at At&T Park

Sarah at At&T Park

At this point, we were struck with two options: Go back to the hotel, get some sleep and try to make it on the 6:00 a.m. flight out of SFO or we could risk it by hitting a few bars on the way back to the hotel, sleep in, go to the day game on Sunday and hope that there are still seats on the 9:00 p.m. flight. With the way this weekend was going, the choice was obvious. We headed to a dive bar, the Hi Dive, on the water. It was crowded with mostly baseball fans decked out in their Orange and Black except for one table of young guys speaking with an accent. This friendly group of Kiwis, in town for America’s Cup, chatted us up a bit before we needed to move on toward the hotel. Or, more specifically, the hotel bar.

Sunday morning was a bit lazy and we didn’t get moving out of the room until it was time to head to the ball park. We stopped for a breakfast/brunch/lunch at the Hi Dive (completely different atmosphere from 12 hours ago!) and then into the park. For this game, tickets had been left for us from a friend. And, they were awesome seats just 23 rows up from home plate. It was a clear, sunny day; I could feel the heat from the sun and welcomed the light, cooling breeze. I love that in San Fran you can be cold and bundled up one moment and then the sun appears and suddenly you are hot.

Awesome seats for the day game

Awesome seats for the day game

This game finally resulted in a big win for the Dbacks – a perfect ending to our perfect San Francisco weekend. It was only 4 in the afternoon and a quick check of the flights showed we had a chance of making the 7:00 p.m. flight out of Oakland. We had a gut instinct that it was the right thing to do, so we gathered our bags from the hotel, took the BART toward Oakland and the bus to the airport. We got seats in an exit row that we had to ourselves and were back to reality and in Phoenix by 9:00 p.m.

Diamondbacks win the day game!

Diamondbacks win the day game!

We want to know: What would a perfect San Francisco weekend be for you?

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