A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to San Francisco to experience Hilton’s California Road Trip . It was my first time visiting the Bay Area!
We stayed at the Hilton Union Square, which is famous for having a 360 view of the city from it’s Cityscape bar on the 46th floor. The hotel is situated in the Theatre District, the perfect location to explore the city by foot or by taking a short taxi ride. There were several car rental garages just across the street from the hotel which made it very easy to pick up and drop off our car for the days when we wanted to road trip because, if you didn’t road trip when you visited the West Coast, did you even go?
My favourite neighbourhood in the city was The Marina, especially the areas around Chestnut and Union Street. There are so many great restaurants and shops around, which serve as a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It’s also a scenic walk away from the famous Lombard and Fillmore Streets, the latter being another of my favourite areas that we visited. Make sure to visit Le Marais Cafe on Chestnut Street for breakfast; you’ll never find a better start to your day than the Croque Madame or their continental take on Avo Toast, replacing the toast with a freshly baked croissant!
The food during this trip was some of the best I’ve ever tasted, having received so many recommendations from friends who visit often or live locally, we tried to squeeze in as many as we could. You can find the full list of restaurants we loved on my Dining Guides page, with none of them being any less than amazing (seriously)!
Apart from exploring the neighbourhoods and waiting for your next meal, there are lots of sights and attractions to tick off that are iconic to the Bay Area. Fisherman’s Wharf is about as touristy as you can get; a good place to start if you want to jump in the deep end with exploring. You’ll find some great things to do there, like catching a ferry to Alcatraz Island, browsing the shops at Ghirardelli Square or you can always pick up a sweet treat at Pier 39!
Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. There are a wide range of food stands selling both produce and ready-to-eat food, so get there early and grab as many samples as you can, whilst making the very tough decision as to which one you’ll settle on for breakfast.
However you choose to see it, the Golden Gate Bridge is essential when visiting San Francisco. In my opinion, the best way is to drive across it, park up by Battery Spencer and walk down to Kirby Cove beach, however, there are numerous other places from where you will get a great view including Baker Beach, which is known to be a local favourite.
It’s unlikely that you’ve seen a movie, television show or any few images of San Francisco without coming across a cable car taking a route up the steep inclined streets. Whilst rarely used by the locals, it’s definitely a tourist attraction that can’t be missed, however, I can’t promise that you’ll see Julie Andrews or Anne Hathaway on route!
If you want to escape the city atmosphere, the stunning Muir Woods is a great day trip or if you prefer to stay close, why not try climbing Twin Peaks or walking around Golden Gate Park to give you that fresh outdoors feeling.
Whilst visiting San Francisco, we spent time in the Napa Valley area and continued the road trip seeing as many places as possible. Napa Valley is only a 90 minute drive from the city centre so I would highly recommend spending as much time as you can spare in what was one of the most breathtaking and scenic places I’ve visited in the US so far. I’ll be doing a separate post on my trip to Napa soon so look out for it!
Thanks to Hilton Hotels for sponsoring this post.