Here’s a tip: do your research beforehand to find out all of the free things you can do in the city you’re visiting. San Francisco is an expensive place to visit, so take advantage of all the free things you can do.
We were able to check out the Botanical Gardens in the Golden Gate Park because it’s free all day on the second Tuesday of every month. It’s about a 25 minute walk from the Inner Sunset area, or a 15 minute bus ride. With the amount of uphill and downhill walking we had been doing, we were grateful for anything with wheels.
The SF Botanical Gardens is a deceivingly large park with plant life sprouting left and right. It’s split up into areas of the world, so you can see all types of different flowers co-existing in the same garden. It’s a beautiful, peaceful park for joggers and elderly folks doing their morning exercise. And boy, did people start flocking to the park around 10am! Go early to avoid the crowds.
If you’re in San Francisco, apparently you HAVE to try Philz Coffee. According to our hosts, “Oh my God, it’s so bad for you, but sooo good!” What could I do with a recommendation like that? Being a coffee fiend, I made it a mission to hunt down Philz Coffee with the intention of trying every single coffee… Hannah and I found one by the Ferry Building, close to where the Exploratorium was (our next destination). They make their drip coffee one cup at a time, and create subtle blends with their coffee beans. I tried the Philtered Soul (Hazelnut, Cocoa, Syrup) and wow, was it good! Unfortunately, my body can only handle one coffee at a time, so I was unable to try all 18 blends they had on their menu. I told the barista it was my first time there when asking for recommendations, and she gave me my coffee on the house!
With my coffee craving satisfied, we moved onto the Exploratorium. This was definitely a kid’s museum – perfect for Hannah and I as everything was hands-on science exploration. What more could two science graduates ask for? We thought we’d spend 2 hours max in this place, but we probably spent 3 hours here touching everything. Bring your kids here, I guarantee they’ll enjoy it!
It was starting to get dark when we left as the sun sets around 5-6pm in November. However, Coit Tower was so close by that we decided to make one last stop. This is a tower at the top of Filbert Street/Telegraph Hill – an extremely steep grade climb. Apparently Hannah and I both need to exercise more 🙂 The views, however, are worth it and there were still a lot of people around 5:30pm when we went. We were lucky to catch the last remaining bits of sun.
For dinner, we went to Union Square and ate Mexican tacos at Matador (679 Sutter St). This was a pretty cozy space and very busy when we got there. They have an impressive display of alcohol – wine and tequila – all lit up against a bright blue light. Their tacos are full of stuff and very delicious. I’m sad we could only try two flavours (Tacos de Matador & Fish Tacos Barrachos) as there was no mixing and matching, so Hannah and I each got a set of two, and swapped one with each other.
We accomplished so much that we felt pretty content with this day!
All personal photos – KW