The last stop on our road trip! Having never been to San Francisco before I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely felt like exploring a brand new city would be a great way to end this epic trip we had been on for the past month. If you missed the last couple blog posts about this, you can find Montana HERE, Seattle HERE, and Portland HERE. We only spent two days in San Francisco so I would hardly call this a guide but I can definitely share the couple of things we did while visiting this city!
This time we didn't stay at an Airbnb, primarily because we did not know anything about San Francisco and wanted to stay within walking distance of the few things we knew we were going to do. We stayed at Hotel Zelos and it was incredibly lovely, they even upgraded our room upon arrival! The location was within a mile of Pier 39, which we knew we wanted to visit and so for us it worked out. One thing we didn't intentionally plan for, but having a good location really helped with was parking... the hotel and the surrounding parking garages were incredibly expensive, which coming from smaller cities we were not expecting. We actually ended up parking the car and not moving it until we left the city. This did lead to a lot of walking, but we had our Bugaboo stroller and we stopped at a lot of coffee shops and made the best of the parking situation.
Another thing we didn't realize was how hard it is to get in to really any restaurant in San Francisco! That first night we walked for three hours trying to find a baby-friendly place to eat that we could actually get on the wait list for. Looking back, my recommendation would be to plan ahead and have a reservation before you show up on a Saturday night! We were more or less miserable searching for food and I am really grateful for the street food stands we did find that kept Jessamyn happy on our search!
The one nice thing about that time waiting for a table at a restaurant was it really allowed us to explore. Jessamyn loved the sea lions on Pier 39. We could have stood there all night while she yelled at them and listened to them talk to each other... that alone made it totally worth it.
We were not in San Francisco very long but a few things I would recommend if you are planning on traveling with a toddler is:
- Have a lot of snacks:I've said it before but more than any other city we visited having snacks was a serious lifesaver in San Francisco.
- Pack a lightweight stroller: Getting into shops and restaurants was a little bit trickier here than say Portland, and I would recommend having a good stroller that folds compactly and can be carried..
We have the Bugaboo Bee5 with the Botanic print that you can see in the photo above. It is super lightweight and does fold compactlywhich made it one less thing we had to worry about.. It was gifted to us for this trip, and worked really well in helping us get around the city. It was also nice for the snack factor because there were countless times I literally turned the whole stroller upside-down to de-crumb it from Jessamyn's snacks. The butterfly print is also super nice for the summer as it has a dreamy and light feel to it.
- Don't forget diapers: This one was a big deal because we had parked the car and walked everywhere we were basically stuck with what we had on us. There were a lot of times where not having a diaper would have literally been an emergency because it wasn't like there was a grocery store on every corner. I would definitely say if you are going to walk San Francisco in any capacity make sure you have all the diapering supplies you could possibly need.
- Bring a hat: It was surprisingly hot during the day; coming from the Pacific North West we were not expecting it to be quite as hot as it was in early May. Having a good sun hat for Jessamyn really made all the difference in how comfortable I was letting her run around and explore without worrying about getting a sunburn.
Overall, I think that if we did San Francisco again I would do a few things differently. I would definitely make reservations for restaurants because having to sort that out turned into a huge nightmare, I would also plan out parking a bit better so that we were not forced to walk miles and miles in order to explore. SO on that note if you have any tips for places to go or things to do in San Francisco I would love to hear them. We definitely would like to try this trip again and do it a bit better!