36 Hours in San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Bay Area, consisting nine county regions in the northern region of California, provides a mix culture of nature and technology.  On one hand, the California’s Pacific Coast Highway offers one of the most nature-oriented scenic drives in the world. On the other, headquarters of multiple renowned tech companies such as Yahoo, Uber, and Twitter provides a technological advancement culture. Today, San Francisco Bay Area still remains one of the top traveling options for a quick weekend trip.



10 AM – Arriving San Francisco Checking in Pier 2620 Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf

 As one of the most popular hotels in San Francisco, Pier 2620 located in historic Fisherman’s Wharf, is the sweet spot for city exploration. The hotel design is minimalist with local and historical taste. Coherent to its design, the hotel offers what they call “simplicity by the sea”, in which they deliver the ultimate efficiency in helping you to make the most of your city exploration with their Coastal Concierge Team. When booked early, Pier 2620 offers irresistible city exploration package as low as $300 per night.


Photography by Collin S. http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/pier-2620-hotel-fishermans-wharf-san-francisco?select=H10LuggrCRpJk8LS8LaqFQ


12 PM – Lunch – A Bowl of Milky New England Style Clam Chowder

Drive south roughly 45 minutes from San Francisco, arriving Half Moon Bay. There’s an awesome and popular local restaurant called “Sam’s Chowder House”. It has won numerous awards such as “Top Three Outdoor Dining in Bay Area” by San Francisco Magazine. As far as the food goes, it’s known for its daily fresh seafood catch, lobster rolls, and New England Style clam chowder. While tasting the flavorful clam chowder made by fresh clams and buttery roll with fresh lobster meat, one can also enjoy the beauty of Half Moon Bay by dining outdoor. The meal normally averages down to $40 per person including tips.  As a highlight, the outdoor heating system is surprisingly efficient enough to allow you to enjoy the smooth ocean breeze without feeling cold.


3 PM – Japantown

Discovering San Francisco Japantown, a place full of Japanese culture. After 1906 Earthquake, many Japanese and Japanese Americans relocated to the area where we know as SF Japantown today. Historically, SF Japantown was commonly referred as “Nihonjin Machi” or Japanese People’s Town, which spanned 30 blocks. Interestingly today, the road signs in Japantown still provide Japanese translations beneath the English, which ultimately deliver additional sense of culture into the overall atmosphere. Moreover, interesting Japanese merchants such as Anime shops, incense shops, and photo booths all make Japantown super mysterious to explore.


5PM – Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is the must-go landmark in San Francisco. Each year, the park obtains more than 13 million visitors and proudly praised as one of San Francisco’s greatest treasures. While exploring the 1,017 park, it’s easy to discover gardens, playgrounds, lakes, picnic groves, trails, and monuments. If you’re lucky, you might also be just in time for cultural venues, events and activities. The park is a beautiful place to hangout and watch the sunsets while enjoying nature.


Photography by Superchilum on Wikipedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golden_Gate_Park_07.JPG

7 PM – Dinner – A taste of Fast Food in the West

Although a bit unhealthy it may seem, the recognition and one of kind fast food that originated in California makes it a bit difficult to pass. Although In-N-Out offers a convenient drive-through, having the opportunity to dine-in and truly feel the popularity of this western style fast food chain is remarkable. Unlike majority of the fast food restaurants I’ve been through nation wide, In-N-Out Burger operates with more than 20 staffs at all times. Although the variety of the menu is limited (Hamburgers, Cheese burgers, Fries, Milkshakes, and Soft Drinks), the restaurant is yet constantly packed with more than 10 customers waiting for their orders during dinner time. Meanwhile, the chain offers a secret menu known as “animal style” and “protein style” to locals.  While “animal style” translates to Thousand Island dressing in their burgers or on top of their fries, “protein style” replaces the buns of the burgers with lettuce. As for pricing, regular combo meal with fries and drink comes down to less than $7.


10 PM – Nightlife – Hemlock Tavern

After a heavy fast food meal, a drink and some hipster live music is the best way to end the night. Hemlock Tavern, a hipster bar in a neighborhood where few hipsters live has proven to be gold. The spacious Bar has offered everything from the symphonic pop to raucous garage tunes to heavy metal madness; you’ll be able to find something of a quality that you can enjoy. On top of $5 beers and $8 cocktails, $1 bags of hot nuts can’t be missed. Keep in mind, there’s a $10 minimum to enjoy the live music.

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photo from Yelp.com


9 AM – Breakfast – Nothing beats the fresh Croissant Sandwich at Farm : Table

A little breakfast eatery located between downtown San Francisco and Tenderloin District. Despite the inconvenience of finding yourself eating your breakfast on a tiny bench outside of the shop, customers still fanatically line up in front of this window shop for their “milk and honey”. Some people actually enjoy eating at the sidewalk and enjoy the morning fresh air with sunshine. As for me, I didn’t mind lining up my breakfast on a narrow bench as long as I got my “croissant egg sammie” and “chai tea latte”, a $15 investment for a fulfilling breakfast.

Picture 10 Photos9

11 AM – An Exhilarating driving experience on California’s Pacific Coast Highway

National Geographic have ranked California’s Pacific Coast Highway as one of the 500 world’s most spectacular trips and drives of a lifetime. From San Francisco heading north towards Tomales Bay, a roughly 50 miles drive on the Pacific Coast Highway is the opportunity to experience the nature through continuous scenes of mountain terrains and sea waves is truly extraordinary. By the way, theyMoreover, there are several turnout roads along the way that not only act as a break area for the drivers after a long distance drive but also an awesome sightseeing opportunity to take some pictures. Meanwhile, I highly recommend driving with a smaller compact car on a beautiful sunny day since the roads are somewhat narrow and full of turns.






1 PM – Lunch – Live Shucking Action

Although a 50 miles drive shouldn’t sound too time consuming, Pacific Coast Highway has also been known as one of the difficult drives. By the time you reach Tomales from San Francisco, it’s likely 2 hours have gone by.  On top of the beach and sunshine it offers, Tomales Bay is also known for its Tomales Bay Oyster Company that was established since 1909. Unlike most restaurants that offer fresh oysters on a platter, Tomales Bay Oyster Company actually let customers shuck their own oysters while providing a picnic bar area offering drinks. If you think the long drive already made you hungry, shucking your own oysters will definitely kick up your appetite.  $15 for a dozen of extra small Preston Point Oysters was my cup of tea.  They are small, easy to shuck, and most tender among other sizes. As somewhat expensive as it sounds, you can also purchase a bag of 50 with $50.


3 PM – Sunshine at the Beach

As you find your way back to the city, Stinson Beach happens to be along the way. In addition to it’s typical sunny seaside beach environment and atmosphere, Stinson Beach is also rich in history.  Along with the sand and sea waves a typical beach can offer, Stinson Beach town is also an amazing tourist attraction. Whether you visit a local Chinese Herbal shop or a beachside fashion store in town, you can always find something unique to boost your happiness at the beach. If you like playing basketball, the town also has a basketball court for you to shoot some hoops with the locals.


6 PM – Market

Once you get back to the city, it’s the perfect time to stop by the Ferry building, a grand marketplace and European-style food hall. On one hand, the Ferry Building demonstrates all the modern trends in the Bay Area food world; it also has the tradition to host outdoor farmers’ markets.  It’s likely that one may assume that products from farmers markets are likely to be more expensive for its organic aspect. However, it’s not the case with the indoor food stalls at Ferry Building. After a brief comparison with local grocery stores such as Safeway, the prices on majority of the organic products that were offered at Ferry Building were relatively the same.  Therefore, not only do you get the pleasure of browsing various organic products, it certainly doesn’t hurt you financially to purchase healthy alternatives.


Photography by Emily on http://www.fleuropean.com/tourist-trap-san-francisco-ferry-building/


8 PM – Dinner – Enjoy the West Coast fish in Sushi

When visiting the West Coast, one must take any opportunity can get to taste some of the fresh sea-foods that the Coast has to offer. A fantastic way to do so is to put yourself in the hands of a sushi experts at Ichi Sushi & Ni Bar. Walking into the restaurant, I would request a seat at the bar for chef’s choice to avoid any additional mental labor on the menus after being totally exhausted with a full day of activities. Then slowly get blown away by a series of aesthetically looking seafood line up across a long white plate. Although it’s slightly expensive to pay $65 for 12 pieces of sushi, it’s absolutely worth it when consider the combination of the elegant atmosphere, fresh ingredients, and aesthetic food arts.



 Online Articles

Discover San Francisco Japantown! (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from http://sfjapantown.org/history/

Press. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from http://www.tomalesbayoystercompany.com/app/story?keyword=press

Road Trip: California’s Pacific Coast Highway — National Geographic. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/california-pacific-coast-road-trip/#/motorcycle-pacific-coast-highway_89956_600x450.jpg

San Francisco Bars and Clubs. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from http://www.sanfrancisco.com/nightlife/

San Francisco Recreation and Park. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from http://sfrecpark.org/parks-open-spaces/golden-gate-park-guide/

Tsui, B. (2015). 36 Hours in San Francisco. Retrieved May 04, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/travel/what-to-do-in-36-hours-in-san-francisco.html

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