Thursday, January 19, 2012

If you're going to San Francisco

It’s been awhile, but man, have I been busy. One of the perks of working at a University is that you usually get some holiday time off around Christmas. This year I followed my week off by taking a week of vacation to Hawaii with my family. We celebrated my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary by renting a luxury house in Kapalua, Maui and it was glorious! I’d love to get into it, but then I’d be completely skipping over another vacation: San Francisco.

My brother and sis-in law went to San Fran about 3 weeks before Jonathan and I. They were pretty “eh” about it, so we weren’t sure what to expect. From what we’d seen on the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchises, San Francisco seemed pretty fantastic (and what better place to get travel inspiration than a reality dating show? Remind me to tell you the Portugal Panic Attack story. It’s a classic).

Well I will end the suspense and let you know that we absolutely loved San Francisco and take back every bad thing we’ve ever said about California. When comparing notes with my brother, I realized 2 big differences between our separate trips that could really make or break your stay. Photos of Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco
(This photo of Orchard Garden Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

1: Location of Hotel. Jon and I stayed at the Orchard Garden Hotel which is next door to the gate to China Town. We were about ½ mile from the pier and a few blocks from Union Square. We could walk everywhere.
Which brings me to the number 2 difference: Driving. Jonathan and I didn’t rent a car. We took a cab from the airport to our perfectly located hotel and walked everywhere once we got there. The only time we took a cab was to the Golden Gate Bridge and back, and that was only because construction had closed down some of the pedestrian paths.

My brother rented a car and said driving and parking in San Francisco was confusing and stressful. Plus, driving cuts down on your ability to drink good wine. Plus, when you walk everywhere (I’m guessing we clocked about 6 miles per day) it lessens your guilt about eating all the fabulous food San Francisco has to offer.

So do your research on your hotel location and do not rent a car. The rest will take care of itself. We stayed at a boutique hotel called the Orchard Garden. The rooms were adequate, roomy, clean, and updated, but most importantly the rates were $100 bucks cheaper than anything else I found in the area. The location is prime. There are tons of bars and restaurants within a 2 block radius. My favorite thing about the hotel was the rooftop terrace. It’s a super romantic spot with a great view of the city. My second favorite thing was its location across the street from two super authentic French restaurants. We ate at Café de la Presse twice for breakfast and I seriously felt like I was smack dab in the middle of Paris. Photos of Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco
(This photo of Orchard Garden Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

However, visitor be warned: other than the touristy spots, the city shuts down on the weekends. Our poor jet-lagging selves could find no French Breakfast when we woke up at 6 AM Saturday morning, and you can forget about finding anything open on Sunday morning either. By lunchtime, things seemed to pick up a bit and we were able to score some French Brunch, so don’t feel too sorry for us.

So to summarize: if you're going to San Francisco, make sure to stay in a central location and burn off that French Toast breakfast by walking everywhere. And of course, it wouldn't hurt to wear some flowers in your hair.

No comments:

Post a Comment