San-Fran-"Can't-Miss"-Co, Ross Cunningham's journey to America's Golden City
I’ve done a bit of travelling in my time. I’ve gone from east to west and north to south, visited many of the United States and a lot of Europe, Asia and South America. Like anything in life (especially when it comes to travelling) you tend to look back on your experiences and remember the best and, unfortunately the worst parts. These are the things that stick out the most in your mind and form the memories of your trip. I can happily say that the 4 days I spent in San Francisco, California are full of nothing but happy memories.
San Fran is the very definition of “picturesque”. With its cleanliness and rich culture, the combination of different arts, fashions and architecture clearly inspired by places and people from all over the globe make San Francisco incredibly unique. Take a look at Union Square or venture just a little bit outside of the CBD to Golden Gate Park and admire the effort it must have taken to create the culture that breathes through this city. So vibrant, so mixed and so authentic, somehow it all just works.
Obviously having such a rich and vibrant culture in a city doesn’t just equate to some beautiful things to see. It also equates to a city full of places that have the potential to make your taste buds explode with delight. San Francisco is home to the best food I have ever tasted. Seriously, move over Paris and forget about Italy, anywhere in Europe, New York, Japan or Melbourne. Trust me, I’ve tasted it all and it doesn’t taste better than San Fran.
We had dinner at the New Delhi Indian Restaurant on Ellis street our first night and were completely blown away. Try any of the kormas they have available followed by some Mango ice cream, does not disappoint.
Breakfast at the Taylor Street Coffee Shop cannot be missed (hint – French toast!) and try a bit of a fancy lunch at the incredibly beautiful Garden Court Restaurant inside The Palace Hotel on New Montgomery Street. I went for the burger that was soooo much more than just a burger. Kobe beef, artisan cheese, perfectly cooked bacon in the nicest, sweetest bun I have ever experienced. That single meal alone was worth the whole trip (I’m not even mentioning the garlic herb fries on the side).
Can’t sit around eating all day, gotta walk off that burger! Luckily there is no shortage of things to do and places to see in San Francisco. Number one with a bullet for me was Alcatraz. One of America’s most famous prisons that was once home to some of the most crooked thugs the world has ever seen (Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly & Birdman to name a few). First constructed as a military prison in 1868 before being put to its most prominent use as a federal prison in 1933, Alcatraz is full of rich, exciting history and is definitely worth dedicating a day to.
I particularly enjoyed the tour of the solitary confinement block as well as hearing the story of the Anglin brothers and their supposedly successful escape from the “inescapable” prison in June of 1962. If you can, do what I didn’t do and book early enough to go on a night tour. Complete with actual tour guides, The Alcatraz Night Tour experience has been touted as “the best tour of the bay area”.
All in all San Francisco can be defined as many things, ranging from magical to absolutely unbelievable. For me, it will always be home to the fondest memories of the greatest holiday experience I have had so far.
PS. For a born and bred Melbournian (Australia) the cable cars really did the trick of curing my occasional home sickness, looking so much like our trams and all:
If you don’t live in a city that has cable cars or trams then I definitely recommend jumping on one to ride down to Union Square when in San Francisco. It’s a great way to experience the friendly, down to earth people of the city and to see everything as they see it.
Story and photos by Ross Cunningham