Last year, after listening to firecrackers until 2 am, having a freaked out dog until 4 am, and having to be at work the next morning, we vowed never to spend another 4th of July at home. After bouncing a few ideas back and forth, and after having been lucky enough to enjoy the best of nature recently (Canada…you are stunning!), it was time for some big city living.
Margaret has been to San Francisco several times, but never experienced much beyond an airport hotel, and Neal hadn’t been in years. Without much thought, we booked ourselves into the Fairmont San Francisco and set out to explore the city.
Speaking of the Fairmont, it is a remarkable hotel both inside and out. The staff is incredible, and down a short hallway on the lobby level is a rooftop garden with the best hydrangeas in the city.
We woke up bright and early our first morning, excited to explore the city. The benefit of being up so early is sharing the streets with only the cable cars on our morning run.
From there, it was on to the Ferry Building, where all Margaret’s gluten free dreams came true at Mariposa Baking Co – the most wonderful bakery filled to the brim with GF croissants, pain au chocolat, bear claws, sticky buns, and almost every other breakfast pastry you could think of. All paired perfectly with Blue Bottle coffee.
A few days a week, the Ferry Building also has a farmers market, filled with local goods and produce.
We took our spoils from the morning and continued down the Embarcadero, stopping by to say hello to the handful of sea lions who stayed in town for the summer.
Although it wasn’t a top priority (Neal had been twice before), we stopped by Pier 33 to see if we could get a tour to Alcatraz. As it turns out, you can’t just walk up and get a tour…they book up about 2 months in advance.
Having accomplished our goals for the morning, we headed back to Nob Hill to clean up and change. It was time to make our 10 year old selves dreams come true. Have Mercy!
The Painted Ladies!!! Viewable from Alamo Square Park, also notable for the location of the family picnic scene in the opening credits of Full House. Not only were the Tanners influential for their amazing catch phrases, but they also introduced everyone in San Francisco to the best picnic spot in the city. It was packed with people enjoying the sunshine (and also presumably living out their childhood dreams).
Next up, Haight-Ashbury: home of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and the hippie counterculture, which remains alive and well today.
We finished out the night at The Tonga Room, the tiki bar at the Fairmont. The drinks were rum-my, the food was delicious, and the live music was a fun way to end the day. (Plus, it was only five floors down from our room…a major plus after about 18 miles of walking and running during the day.)