From New York, we flew to San Francisco, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. San Francisco is known for its colorful (mainly Victorian and Modern) architecture, diverse culture, steep rolling hills, cable cars, mild climate, and its many major landmarks. It is the birthplace of the United Nations, the headquarters of many successful companies and the center of liberal activism in the United States (it got its nickname because of the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement opposing the United States involvement in the Vietnam War, the gay rights movement, and most of all the Hippie movement that reached a peak in 1967 with the Summer of Love).
Our four-day San Francisco honeymoon itinerary (things to see and things to do)
Since paying for a six-month honeymoon isn’t exactly a piece of cake (unless you’re rich, which we weren’t), we appreciated any help we could get. In San Francisco we got lucky. Our friend’s cousin and his wife live in Berkeley, a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay and they offered us to stay in their guest room for the four nights. We gladly and gratefully accepted their generous offer. We arrived in Berkeley pretty late that evening. We got to spend the rest of the day with our kind hosts. Afterwards, we went to our room, which had a huge window, and realized that the house was actually located on a hill overlooking the entire San Francisco bay. The view was breathtaking. It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful day.
First, we wandered the streets of Berkeley for a while. The city is known for the oldest campus in the University of California system and its lively student life. After a while, we took a BART train to San Francisco and there we took a taxi to the Golden Gate Bridge, the internationally recognized symbol of the city and probably the most famous bridge in the world. It’s known for its special color and design. Walking its full length (both ways) requires quite some effort, especially because of the frequent strong winds, but we did it. On our way back to the city center we took a panoramic bus tour. We got off at Pier 39 and we instantly fell in love. At the picturesque pier, there are many shops, restaurants, amusement features, live music, street artists and a large number of sea lions hauled out on the docks of the marina.
The unexpected sight of these wild marine mammals was definitely the highlight of the day. After a few hours in the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf district, we went to explore Chinatown and the historic center of San Francisco.
We started off at the famous Union Square, the lively public plaza in the heart of the city, surrounded by many shops, hotels, restaurants, art galleries and theaters. It’s the central cultural and shopping district of the city.
From there we took a walk to the Civic center plaza and saw all of its major attractions, like the San Francisco city hall, the Pioneer Monument, and the Statue of Ashurbanipal. We got tired of city sightseeing and went to the idyllic Golden Gate Park. The huge biodiverse park is known for its vast lawns and forests, lakes, sports fields, the Conservatory of Flowers, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Music Concourse plaza, the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and the Japanese Tea Garden. The Conservatory of Flowers is a great spot to have a picnic or simply relax surrounded by nature and it’s probably one of the most romantic places in the city. We walked all the way to the beach, where we stopped to enjoy the sunset over the Pacific ocean.
The previous evening, after returning to Berkeley, we realized that we had left our passports in the taxi that brought us home. Oops! Consequently, we had an interesting morning running to our Embassy in SF, calling all the taxi companies and trying to find the taxi ourselves. Thanks to my husband’s photographic memory and super face recognition abilities, we actually spotted the right driver, searched his cab and luckily found our lost passports. Thank god! Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to continue our awesome six-month honeymoon. :O 😉 Celebrations were in order, so we bought a mini champagne and took a ferry to visit the last major attraction – the Alcatraz island and Federal Penitentiary. The notorious maximum security prison is now a museum with audio tour, where you get to see the prison cells of some of America’s most dangerous criminals, like Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis, Arthur “Doc” Barker, and other prisoners, who kept causing trouble at other federal institutions. Maybe it wasn’t a very romantic experience, but it sure was an interesting adventure. 🙂 We finished our SF honeymoon with a cool ride on the iconic cable car. 😉
♥ Top romantic experience
Finding romance in this magical city is easy. You can take a walk along the lively Embacadero street and stop at the small waterfront park with the Cupid’s Span sculpture or drive the iconic Lombard street, known as ‘the world’s most crooked street’. Maybe you would enjoy walking the Golden gate bridge or a picnic on the Baker beach (preferably at sunset), which offers you the best view of the legendary bridge, visiting the picturesque Golden gate park, the Conservatory of Flowers or boating on Stow Lake. If you wish to combine romance with adventure, we suggest hiking to the top of Twin Peaks or Hawk Hill, both of which offer you a breathtaking view of the city.
♥ Top adventure
San Francisco is bursting with adventure. There are countless hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking options. Surfing, swimming, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving and other water sports are very popular in spite of the cold water. You can go zip lining, bungee jumping, skydiving or paragliding, race down the Seward Street Slides, visit the Yosemite national park, take a hiking or bike wine tasting tour in Napa Valley, go hang gliding at Fort Funston, take a thrilling aerial scenic tour or simply enjoy the view from the rope swing on Billy Goat Hill.
Are you wondering about the daily budget, the best time to go, visa and immunization requirements, local customs, currency, electricity standards, safety tips and where to stay? Here you can find out all you need to know before visiting San Francisco.
Have you already been to San Francisco? We invite you to share your top romantic experience and top adventure in the comment section below. 😉
Next stop: glamorous Los Angeles! 😉