Trip Report – San Francisco Day 1

Day 2 is here

You know the empty feeling you get when a trip has ended? That’s what I felt when we came home after our Las Vegas & Santa Monica trip last month. I told myself I needed another trip to look forward to so I started looking. Due to Eric running out of vacation day and him having a class on Saturday, I wanted a short 3-day trip with minimal traveling time. Vegas would have fit the bill, again, but even I thought I should go somewhere else! In the end, we decided on San Francisco, CA.

Where we flew into – SFO

The dates were set for the weekend right after our exams so after we both got our vacation approved from work, I started looking up flights & hotel. Because I have such good experiences with Allegiant Air (have flown with them 9 times in the past 6 years with 0 delay), I naturally looked at them first. I did not fly with them this time because their return flight would depart at 11 AM – too early since our trip is already short. Therefore, instead of flying from Bellingham, I ended up booking with Air Canada while they were having a one-day sale to fly out of Vancouver. We chose an early flight out (6 AM) and an evening flight back (5 PM). This way, we would have two and a half days in the city. We also chose to park at the airport this time because our flight was so early.

View of the barely visible Alcatraz Island on our hike up to Golden Gate Bridge
View of the barely visible Alcatraz Island on our hike up to Golden Gate Bridge

Just a note, Allegient would have flown into Oakland International Airport (OAK) while Air Canada into San Francisco International Airport (SFO). OAK is about 10 minutes further away to Union Square than SFO by car.

Where to stay in San Francisco – Hotel Emblem

For accommodation, since we were not renting a car, the location was key. I focused on Union Square as it was downtown and close to many places we wanted to visit (Union Square, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf etc.). We ended up booking a room at Hotel Emblem, part of Viceroy Hotel chain, that was within walking distance of Union Square.

Day 1

In order to catch our 6 AM flight, we woke at 3:15 AM and left the house just after 4 AM. Despite my excitement, I needed coffee very badly at that point. We arrived at YVR just before 5 AM and had just enough time to go through customs before boarding. We ran out of time to get ourselves some caffeine but thankfully, beverage service was served not long after take off.

We arrived at SFO right on time. Since we did not have any checked-luggage, we headed out towards the designated rideshare pick up area for our Lyft. It was a quiet and smooth ride and cost under $35 USD before tips to Union Square.

As expected, our room wasn’t ready at 9 AM so we dropped off our luggage with the bell desk and headed out.

Chinatown / Lombard Street / Fisherman’s Wharf / Presidio

Chinatown is a short 10-minute walk away from our hotel. We haven’t eaten anything since dinner the previous night so we decided to grab breakfast somewhere in Chinatown. We walked by a couple of HK-styled cafes before setting our eyes on Metro Hong Kong Dessert and Milk Tea. In hindsight, we should have trusted the average reviews and chose something else instead.

Metro Hong Kong Dessert and Milk TeA

We soon decided that we saw enough of Chinatown so as the street was getting busier and more crowded, we took a turn and headed towards Fisherman’s Wharf.


We decided not to follow the shortest route but rather, make turns as we saw fit to take in the beautiful architecture San Francisco had to offer. We made a pit stop at Lombard Street, the tourist spot famous for its “steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns” (Wikipedia).

Lombard Street
Lombard Street

Afterward, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and visited the Hyde St Pier and the Ghirardelli chocolate shop.

Cable Car near Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf
Hyde St. Pier

We spent about an hour or so in the area before we decided to walk as far to Golden Gate as we could. It was a very nice, scenic walk. Midway, we got hungry and decided to have late lunch at the highly-rated Super Duper Burger in the Marina District.

Fort Mason
Super Duper Burger

After that, we continued our walk towards the Golden Gate Bridge. We enter this beautiful area called the Presidio. We took advantage of 1 of the 3 free shuttles called PresidioGo that looped Presidio – Golden Gate.

Tip: download the free Transit app for real-time transit updates including the free shuttles; available for free on Google Play Store here or App Store here.

Sunday Picnic at Main Post Lawn in Presidio
Sunday Picnic at Main Post Lawn in Presidio
Sunday Picnic Sign at Main Post Lawn in Presidio
View from the PresidioGo of the Golden Gate Bridge
View from the PresidioGo of the Golden Gate Bridge

Since we were getting tired from the early start and the traveling, we decided to remain on the shuttle while it passed Golden Gate Bridge lookout and caught the other shuttle that looped Presidio – San Francisco downtown.

The shuttle dropped us off next to the Ferry Building and it was a 20-minute walk for us to go back to the hotel.

Continue reading – Day 2 & Day 3