San Fran, the beautiful city with a Golden Bridge that is actually Red. I’ve been here many times for many various reasons. A handful of times just driving down the coast, I’ve taken my mom here because it is such a wonderful city to see and I’ve seen some pretty amazing bands here too, Modest Mouse, Muse (back when no one knew who they were), Interpol, The Editors, Stellastarr*, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. I don’t know if I should admit those last 2, but it was a long time ago.
Lands End Park / Miles Beach
Either way it was my day in the city that I loved and I had literally done ever touristy thing possible, even driving down Lombard Street. However, the one thing I hadn’t done was eat a whole crab. Back in the day down by the wharf the guys would be there cracking open all the claws and making it so you could eat it easy, handing it to you in a little paper tray. I really wanted to do it and visualized grabbing my crab, sitting on a curb with Baron and making myself look like a fool since I had no idea how to eat a crab like that. It was about the experience right?
Well I am pretty sad to report that the place I remembered doing this had now turned into a complete tourist trap. The whole street had just turned into a row of people serving the same seafood chowder, little shrimp cocktails and crab already scooped out with an ice cream scoop into a little dish. Although it is fresh and amazing, there was absolutely no love. On top the crowds were crazy so Baron and I basically took off, but not before snapping a photo outside a candy store call Candy Baron! Awesome. We hoped in the van and drove away as quick as possible. I’ll have to leave eating a whole cab on the side of the street on my bucket list for another day and another place.
One of the best things about San Fran is that it is one of those amazing cities that is super dog friendly. Baron had even been here when he was 6 months old digging holes in the sand. I wonder if he remembers? Tons of the beaches are off leash and they can basically go with you everywhere you want to go hiking, so after a morning play on Baker Beach I knew the next stop had to be Lands Edge Park since I had never been somehow.
If you’ve never been to Lands Edge Park either put on those walking shoes because you’re in for a free workout. To get to the beach you basically have to walk down a million stairs, okay maybe 1 million and 1. As I stood at the top looking down I knew how far they would keep going beyond where I could see. I also knew that going down would be the easy bit, but I’d have to get myself back up. I actually did debate if it was worth it and just crossed my fingers the view of the bridge at the bottom would be worth it. And it sure was!
It wasn’t busy at all, partly because most people aren’t dumb enough to walk down the stairs I guess. It was a great little spot for Baron and I to take a break, relax for a bit and explore the beach. I might have prolonged the exploring for a little longer than normal because I really didn’t want to go back up those stairs, but it was totally worth going to see.
Park Chalet Garden Restaurant
After we finally made our way back up, I was STARVING, obviously! Well deserved after our free sightseeing workout. Not wanting to eat out of the van since we were in San Francisco I had read about a great place just at the end of Golden Gate Park that was dog friendly for us to try. You sort of wouldn’t know this patio area was even there. The food was delicious and made up for the horrible crab fiasco earlier. Fresh blackberry lemonade and white fish tacos with mango, corn and tomato salsa with chips and guacamole on the side. HEAVEN! It was so good and even though it was a little cold sitting on the patio at 5 pm it did just the trick.
As we made our way back over the bridge and out of San Fran to tuck in for the night we made one last quick stop at Golden Gate Park on the other side of the bridge since the sun was setting. I had good memories of this park and wanted to see it again, but I probably should have left it as it was. It was packed with people doing just the same thing.
I’m super happy that I had done everything touristy here before, but this time around I do need to stick off the beaten path for sure. Having travelled the coast quite a few times, I don’t know if it is me getting older, or maybe because I’m traveling in a van with Baron, but crowds and doing what everyone else is doing is just not even a little bit exciting anymore. I am still really happy I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge again, so much fun to drive across, but tomorrow we hit the coast and I know leaving the city would be a completely different experience and it’s all about taking the road less travelled.