Though I may have been raised in Seattle, I was born in the Bay Area and still consider myself a California girl at heart. (Sorry I'm not sorry, Seahawks. Go Niners!) Half of my family still lives in California, so I jump at the opportunity to visit any chance I get.
Between visiting my parents in Phoenix and Seattle over Christmas break, I hopped over to the Bay Area to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. Despite the countless times I've been to San Francisco to visit my family, I had never really seen any of the famous sights or truly gotten to know the city. So on this trip, I set out to change that.
San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace, also known as foodie mecca.
Maybe I got extra special treatment because I came all the way from Spain, but my family and friends bent over backwards to give me phenomenal tours of San Francisco. My aunt and uncle organized an SF Tour Extraordinaire for the entire family, and my best friend Meghan drove all the way up from Newport Beach to see me!
Cocktail hour at Waterbar on the Embarcadero
After celebrating Christmas in San Francisco with my family, I got to spend a couple of days exploring the city with my friends. They put up with me dragging them to the Golden Gate Bridge, showed me the coolest bars, and just about changed my life by taking me to get late night tacos in the Mission.
After the whiskey bars, brunches and Muni rides, I met back up with my family for the second part of my San Francisco 101 tour. We hopped on the Bart and started our day off at the Ferry Building Marketplace, where I was elated to find a gluten free bakery and the best coffee I'd had all month. After fueling up with cappuccinos and pastries, we trekked up to the Coit Tower. We climbed an endless amount of stairs until I'm pretty sure I burned off every Christmas calorie consumed ( ...or maybe just the tacos from El Farolito the night before).
Blue Bottle Coffee, I think I love you.
We admired the views from Coit Tower, taking in the stunning panoramas of the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate bridge and city skyline. Then, like every good part Italian family, we wandered back down into North Beach for some much-needed Italian food. We feasted at Original Joe's, an old favorite of my mom's, and watched the Niners beat the Cardinals. It was the perfect introduction to San Francisco, and I ended the day wishing I had more time to explore.
The Ferry Building at dusk
Not every friend drives 7 hours to see you when you're finally in the same country again!
The verdict: I could definitely see myself living in San Francisco someday. Though ideally I'd prefer to live somewhere with more sunshine, San Francisco feels like home to me. Maybe it's because I grew up listening to my mom's stories of working in SF, I've spent countless holidays visiting my family in the area, and the city somewhat reminds me of Seattle in many ways. (And of course, despite the fervent hatred I get from my fellow Seattleites, the 49ers will always be my favorite football team.)
Nevertheless, when the time comes for me to eventually move back to the States, you can bet that I'll be applying to grad schools in San Francisco!
My San Francisco Picks:
Best Whiskey Bar: Rye
Favorite Restaurant: Waterbar
Favorite Views of the Golden Gate Bridge: Crissy Field
Best Late Night Tacos: El Farolito
Can't-Miss Coffee: Blue Bottle