Thursday, June 14, 2012

San Francisco - Day 7: Lands End

Lands End Lookout
On the last day, things were winding down and we had no specific plans other than to go see anything we had missed and still wanted to see.  That boiled down to Lands End trail.  That is an area called Ocean Beach, on the water close to Golden Gate Park.

It was a very picturesque area that was once home to the Sutro Baths, which was the largest indoor pool establishment in 1896.  They had 1 fresh water pool and 6 salt water pools of varying temperatures and could hold up to 10,000 people at a time.  Unfortunately the building burned in 1966 and was abandoned, but you can still visit the former site and that's just what we did.

Sutro Baths
Remnants of Sutro Baths
Cliff House restaurant
Cliff House Restaurant, the original one was built in 1863
Check out a great animated pictorial timeline of the Cliff House and Sutro Baths.  

Cliff House Restaurant totem pole
Golden Gate Park Windmills, no longer functional but cool looking!
Lands End Trail, me on the hillside
We gotta go back up?  Blech...
Lands End Trail
Lands End Trail
Lands End Trail
Ocean Beach by the Cliff House restaurant
Ocean Beach, no one in the water cause it's cold!
Flower in bloom above Ocean Beach
That pretty much wrapped up our exploring around San Francisco.  When we finished checking out Lands End, we were pretty much ready to head back home.  We had such a great time and saw/did so much over the course of the week, but we had enough of the hills, having to take public transportation everywhere and we were ready to escape the constant activity/noise that a big city brings. 

We're definitely not the big city type, but San Francisco is really an amazing city to visit.  You really do need a full week to see everything that we saw.  This was our first real activity based vacation and we had a great time.  Typically we like to do all inclusive vacations and just lounge pool/beach side all week and read a book or two and unwind.

If we had to do it over, I don't think we would really have changed anything.  The only thing we didn't do prior was research any specific restaurants to go to.  We just figured with planning most of the excursions, that we could just wander and play it by ear.  However, as big of a foodie capital that San Francisco is, the food was not a memorable part of the trip surprisingly.

We had good food, but we also had not so good food.  The highlights food wise were the expensive fish tacos at Copita in Sausalito and the wifey really liked dinner at Forbes Island restaurant, but overall our second favorite meal was at....The Cheesecake Factory of all places.

The weird thing is at home, it's one of my least favorite places to eat.  Apparently they have a new Skinnylicious menu and first off there is a ton of good stuff on that menu and the Skinnylicious Pasta was sooo good.  The description says Gemelli Pasta with Sauteed Chicken, Fresh Tomato, Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil, yummy.  If you haven't been in a while, definitely check it out.  Kinda sad that a huge chain like that was one of our favorite meals, but I just think that was because we didn't do any research on restaurants prior.  So if you do visit, you might want to do that ahead of time.  

The busiest Cheesecake Factory is on the top level behind the Macy's sign
Mmmm...Warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, once of my favorites!
Union Square view from the Cheesecake Factory
Chancellor Hotel, the beginning and end of our trip
To wrap things up, I'll offer some suggestions.  We did not rent a car and that was a wise choice in our opinion.  It would have been crazy having to navigate the city with all the busses and trolley cars and crazy drivers.  On top of that, parking in the city even at the hotels is anywhere between $25-45 per day!  Just pick up a Muni-Pass anywhere around town, we got ours at the Concierge desk at the hotel.  We got the 7 day pass which gives you unlimited rides on all the buses and trolleys for a flat $27 and it is well worth it.

If you will be taking public transportation, get the 511 Transit app for your phone.  It is really great and has up to the minute information on buses and you can search based on where you are and where you want to go or you can look for information on specific bus lines.

We stayed at the Chancellor Hotel in the heart of Union Square and it was very centrally located and inexpensive relative to other hotels and we had a good experience.  It is close to shopping/restaurants and many of the tours and main transportation routes go right through that area.

I hope you enjoyed my day by day breakdown of our trip and if you have any questions whatsoever about San Francisco or any of the places we visited, please drop me a comment or an email to chris at and I'd be glad to answer them!

Thanks and happy travels!!


Jen said...

I liked the tips at the end, will have to reference back one day! The whole trip looked like a lot of fun. Adding it to my travel list.

Chris said...

Yep, would definitely recommend doing it at least once. There is so much to see and do and it is a unique place. Fun times!

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