Aussie HomeAway staffer Ross travels to San Francisco and falls in love with the city and all its charms. He'll inspire you to plan your own San Francisco vacation.
San Francisco can’t miss
Story by Ross Cunningham, HomeAway Australia
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 States and a lot of Europe, Asia and South America. Like anything in life, especially when it comes to travel, I tend to look back on the experiences and remember just the best and, unfortunately, the worst parts. I can happily say that the four days I spent in San Francisco, California, were full of only happy memories.
This city is the very definition of picturesque. San Fran shines with rich culture, art, fashion, and architecture clearly inspired by places and people from all over the globe. You’ll know it in Union Square or Golden Gate Park: the culture that breathes through this city—so vibrant, so varied and so authentic—and somehow it all just works.
Obviously, 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.
We had dinner at the 25-year-old New Delhi Restaurant on Ellis street our first night and were completely blown away. Try any of the kormas followed by some Mango ice cream. It does not disappoint.
Don’t miss breakfast at the Taylor Street Coffee Shop (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 explore.
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.”
Maybe I did leave my heart
I define San Francisco as many things, unique, magical and absolutely unbelievable. For me, it will always be home to the fondest memories of the greatest holiday experience I have had so far.
And for a born-and-bred Melbournian (Australia), the cable cars really did the trick of curing my occasional homesickness, 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 you’re next 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.