Our first day in San Francisco was a hoot. We packed so much in, but day 2 was set to be even better.
We woke at the crack of dawn (thanks jet lag) and decided we may as well make the most of it. We walked through gorgeous Orinda, in search of coffee, then hopped on the BART back into the city. First on our hit list was the Ferry Building Farmers Market.
The permanent vendors inside sell all kinds of temptations including beautiful handmade trinkets,
…and the biggest temptress of all, Cowgirl Creamery cheese.
You’ll find the Farmers Market around the back of the Ferry Building. It’s on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and is not to be missed.
Rummage through piles of locally grown vegetables.
Stop and sniff every herb you can imagine.
Pick up a bunch of the prettiest wild flowers.
…and sweet stone fruits.
For those in need of a more substantial breakfast, there are steaming Bao buns.
Ginger, watermelon and orange Kombucha.
And if you ever see this little sign…
You must go inside. Blue Bottle is the best coffee you’ll ever taste.
We bought roasted almonds, cherries, a sourdough baguette and enough flaky pastries to feed an army, and headed out to the pier to watch the last of the morning mist clear from the bay.
These guys kept us entertained.
Whilst we tucked into our “Bear claw”.
Sweet flaky pastry, filled with almond paste, slithered almonds and chocolate cake crumbs.
Caffeinated and suitably refuelled, we ventured on to catch the next Alcatraz Cruise.
Admiring the view of the city as we sped off to the tiny island.
The audio tour is one of the best I’ve ever done, and really brings the stories of the inmates to life.
If only those walls could talk…
I was surprised to learn it was only a state prison for 29 years, and that there’s so much more history to this little island. But nothing quite as thrilling as an escape attempt gone wrong and a subsequent three day seige.
I won’t spoil it for anyone who is planning a visit, but I will say book your Alcatraz Cruise tickets in advance, take plenty of water and eat before you go.
By the time we got back to the city, we were suitably exhausted. Instead of giving in, we grabbed some supplies and hopped on a Big Bus tour. I’m so glad we did this, and sort of wish we had done this first on day 1 to get our bearings. It was nice to relax and listen to the guide (who was lovely) give her perspective of the city.
My favourite building has to be The Sentinel Building/Columbus Tower which is owned by the Coppola family and home to the Zoetrope Studios. Completed in 1907, it’s decorative, oxidised copper exterior means it stands out amongst the glass and steel modern sky scrapers. We were told how Sofia Coppola spends a lot of time in the incredibly beautiful penthouse there.
We hopped off the bus in Chinatown and wandered through in search of somewhere for dinner.
We tried to get in at China Live which looked awesome (and worth checking out if you’re planning a visit) but it was too busy, so we wandered around and found ourselves at Chubby Noodle. Some Fried Chicken and Salt and Pepper Shrimp later, we headed back to Orinda for a much needed early night.
I vlogged our time in San Francisco, so you can watch that video below:
Huge thanks to Alcatraz Cruises, San Francisco Travel and Big Bus Tours for working with me on this post.