We drove into San Francisco from the north, on the 101 from the Sonoma Valley. Having only entered the address for the Golden Gate Bridge Park into Google maps and not really studying the actual route, we were all excited to find that our route to the park actually took us right over the bridge. The bridge is beautiful and majestic with great views of the San Fran skyline and the ominous Alcatraz seems to haunt the bay below. I explained to the kids that prisoners would try to break free and swim to shore, only to be eaten by the resident shark population, sparking a long conversation about sharks and qualifying as road schooling.
The Golden Gate Park itself is fantastic with lots of play areas and is heavily used by cyclist, clearly a favorite pass time of the people of San Fransisco. We saw a number of photo shoots being conducted throughout the park and it was easy to see what a great backdrop the park really is. As we drove through the lush green park we were greeted by the Pacific Ocean. We headed along the coast to find our way back to the actual bridge.
The bridge itself has a wonderful visitors center and there is additional parking just past the visitor center on the left with an incredible view of the park and a well maintained walking path down to the bay. The kids had a blast on the bay beach with the Golden Gate Bridge as their backdrop.
With lunch time approaching we headed for Fisherman’s Warf. The famous hills of San Fran created an exhilarating and adventurous tone to our drive with lots of what if scenarios about losing your breaks on the downhills. The hybrid could barely make it up some of the steep inclines. We ended up eating at Plant Cafe a delicious vegan establishment not far from Fisherman’s Warf. We took our veggies to a local dog park and admired the neighborhood.
San Fran has some great style, architecture and local retail. We headed out to try to find a friend of ours who happens to own two of these stylish retail stores. If you’re ever in San Fran you should check out Marmalade and The Mason Jar . Then like all families on a tight time constraint to see one of the coolest cities in America in one day, we went to find a skatepark, road school phys ed!
After a 1 hour skate session we headed back into the city to meet another friend of ours for dinner. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity on the way to drive down Lombard St. We had driven by it a few times throughout the day and there never seemed to be a shortage of folks photographing the street. It’s very cool and was a lot of fun to drive down in the Hybrid, but man I would not want to live on that street with the amount of people around all the time.
We ended up at Pier 23 near Fisherman’s Warf a cool little spot with a great deck and they allowed us to bring our dog in with us, not something that happens very often. We finished our shrimp and beers, said our goodbyes and hit the open road for Los Angeles. I’m sure we didn’t come close to seeing everything, but we sure hit a lot in one day. So, is it possible to do San Fran in one day? Yeah, would I recommend it, probably not.
Check out the Traveling Chimps San Fran episode here
Have you ever done a fly by of a major tourist destination? Tell us about it below.
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