As you know, I ran the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday. Obviously, I had to go to San Francisco to do it. This post is about all the non-running related stuff Mom and I did, including food and tourist-y things. If that’s not your cup of soup, that’s fine. The running rambles will recommence soon.
Friday, July 21
We landed at about noon and got an Uber into the city. We stayed at the Hilton in the financial district. The room was nice and the bed was very comfortable. Not a lot of city noise, although on Friday night there was some sort of concert going on that we could hear.
The TransAmerica ‘Pyramid’ Building was right by our hotel.
We asked the concierge for lunch recommendations and he sent us to Specialty’s for the sandwiches and the cookies. We both got a roast turkey and then we got a black and white cookie and a peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie and shared them.
After lunch we walked down to Embarcadero so I could see where we would be lining up on Sunday morning. We headed back to the hotel for a little while and then decided to go to City Lights book store. Both my mom and I love independent book stores and this one did not disappoint: three stories crammed with shelves of books. Plus, City Lights is where Allen Ginsburg read his poem Howl, so it’s historically significant as well.
I’m impressed we each only walked away with three books.
We went to dinner at another restaurant recommended by the concierge called China Live. It had a shop attached to it with strange spices and tea kettles and very expensive pots and pans. The seating ranged from traditional tables, to sitting around a grill and a bar that let you see into the kitchen (where we sat.) We tried some tea and then split orange chicken and vegetarian pot stickers. If you’re like me, the drawback of Chinese or other Asian food is how oily it is. Not the case. This food was heaven.
After dinner we walked around Little Italy and found this cool church.
Saturday, July 22
We decided to get breakfast at Starbucks. Since our hotel was in the financial district, it wasn’t very busy. The streets were pretty empty for most of the day too. After breakfast, we took a Lyft (not sure if that works grammatically but oh well) to the race expo. I spent some money on race swag because hey, you only run one first marathon. I also got a free Jamba Juice.
We then took another Lyft to Pier 39 because I was trying not to walk too much. We got more coffee and went to the aquarium. This turned out to be one of the coolest things we did. They had jellyfish, sharks, and an octopus. I think octopus are really interesting and we heard a presentation on them. (Can you tell Mom and I are uber-nerds?) There was also a pool where you could touch young sting-rays. One was very friendly and liked to swim right along the edge and flap one wing out of the water, like he was waving. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of him but I did get a picture of the very cute river otter.
My younger brother is interning at NASA Ames this summer so he joined us for lunch, which we had at the Wipeout Bar and Grill. It was very touristy but my sandwich was good. After lunch, we took a cruise on a ferry. It took us under the Golden Gate Bridge, which was pretty foggy, but still cool.
Then it took us to Alcatraz, which was both cool and a little creepy. Best of all, on our way back to the city, we saw a whale! No picture but here’s the view of the city coming back:
We snacked on pretzels and the best frozen lemonade I’ve ever had. Then William headed back to Mountainview and Mom and I went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. My brother’s sage advice for running the marathon was “Don’t shit yourself.” And my dad’s was “But even if you do, keep running.” My family is hilarious and yes, we like profanity.
View from Trattoria Pinocchio
We had dinner at a place in Little Italy called Trattoria Pinocchio. All the carbs. Sadly, none of the wine. It ended up being a very nice day.
Sunday, July 23
Well, first I woke up and ran a marathon. See my race recap for all the details.
After we got back, and showered and ate, I took a nap. Then my mom’s old teaching friend Paula took us to Fog City Bar. I ate a whole 12 inch mushroom pizza by myself. It was delicious. I also had a glass of red sangria. The three of us split coconut sorbet and beignets for dessert, which were also delicious. We finished off the night with cappuccinos and wine at the hotel restaurant.
Monday, July 24
How could we go to San Francisco and not go to Ghirardelli Square? The answer is we couldn’t, because we love chocolate.
I was pretty sore so we didn’t walk around too much but it was nice to see the Golden Gate Bridge in the sunshine instead of through the fog.
After we bought our chocolate, we toured this maritime museum that consists of actual boats/ships that were once used. We walked on a three-masted schooner, a ferryboat, and a tug boat. It was very cool.
We then ate lunch on Fisherman’s Wharf (I can’t remember the name of the place.) I had a grilled salmon BLT and some surprisingly good fries. Oh, and a Diet Coke.
We then headed to the airport, where we got bumped to an earlier flight because our original flight would have been delayed so much we would have missed our connection in Seattle. There was some sort of traffic jam on the runway but eventually we took off.
After a layover in Seattle, we landed back in Boise and I was reunited with my cats. Obi was excited enough to see me that he let me hold him and licked my nose. Minnie’s excitement was delayed until Tuesday morning, when she laid on my lap and insisted on lots of attention.
San Francisco is a beautiful city. With the invention of Uber and Lyft, I think it’s also very manageable as a tourist because that takes driving out of the equation. It’s not at all easy to drive- my dad drove a delivery truck there when he was in college and bemoans the driving to this day. But because the city is pretty compact, you can walk pretty much anywhere, especially if you aren’t running a marathon.
But if you want to run a marathon, San Francisco is a great city to do it.
The Bay Bridge