San Francisco turned out to be the perfect city to enjoy a long layover in. With a train connecting the airport to downtown, this meant we could quickly (and easily) get into the city to start exploring. Once downtown, we had a variety of transportation options to get us around, including the subway, cable cars, streetcars, hop on-hop off sightseeing buses and the rideshare service Lyft. If you're anything like us, you'll have a hard time narrowing down what to see in San Francisco. There are so many great options! Since we had limited time to work with, we opted to visit some of the most well known places of San Francisco, saving the other areas for hopefully a longer visit one day!
Visit the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge was number one on our list of places to see in San Francisco. How could it not be? An icon of the city, this suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate strait, linking San Francisco to Marin County. It's graceful design, soaring towers, Art Deco elements and International Orange colour have helped make the Golden Gate bridge one of (if not the most) photographed bridges in the world.
Tour Around on a Hop on-Hop off Sightseeing Bus. After walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, we boarded a hop on-hop off bus. On the way, we passed through the small, but scenic waterfront city of Sausalito. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to get off at any stops until Fisherman's Wharf, but it was a great way to see a bit more of the city while learning about it from the driver's live commentary.
Fisherman's Wharf. Fisherman's Wharf is a bustling part of town with many restaurants, shops and tourist attractions. It's not my favourite area of the city, but was a great place for us to have a meal because Mike could enjoy some fresh seafood, while I savoured some of San Francisco's famous sourdough bread.
Pier 39. After eating at Fisherman’s Wharf, we walked to Pier 39. This area also has a lot of restaurants and shops. What makes it unique though, is the sea lions that hang out on the pier. It was quite the sight to see a big group of sea lions all huddled together enjoying the last bit of afternoon sun. Most just laid there, but a few were quite active, playing and swimming about.
Walk Along the Embarcadero. Nearing the end of our layover in San Francisco, we continued to walk along the Embarcadero towards the Ferry Building. From the walkway we got some views of Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco. Once at the Ferry Building, we headed away from the water and into the Financial District where we boarded the BART train at Embarcadero station, and sadly headed back to the airport.