Welcome to my absolute favorite blogpost from this entire blogpost series. Today, I will be telling you all about my Sweet Sixteen in the Bay Area. Read on to find out what my 16th birthday was like in San Francisco!
We arrived in San Francisco on the 30th of July. We were pretty tired from the whale watching (read all about this wonderful experience here) and travelling, so we had a quick bite in the hotel bar and then went to bed.
The next morning I woke up happily: it was my birthday! After my family sang to me and hugged me tightly, I got dressed in my birthday outfit and headed downstairs. Time for breakfast! We enjoyed our breakfast and started our first full day in San Francisco. Our hotel was located near Union Square, so it would only make sense to check that out first. We were planning on just walking around town today and see as many great sights as possible.
Once we had reached Union Square, we asked a man where the hop on point for the cable car train was located. He told us that it was all the way down the hill, but that he had a way better offer for us. We were all a bit sceptical, however the man was able to convince us. For a really reasonable price, he would give us a 3 hour long tour of the whole city including some amazing viewpoints in a private van. He would drive us all around San Francisco and give us interesting information, every time there would be something nice to see, we could step out of the vehicle and explore for a bit until we would continue to the next location. A private tour in a luxurious car while seeing all the great parts of San Francisco: that sounds like a perfect way to spend the first part of my birthday.
After receiving a birthday discount we stepped into the car and drove into Chinatown. We went into a little church and lit a candle. The driver told us that the first fortune cookie factory is actually located in San Francisco’s Chinatown. We decided to go in and see the making of the well-known fortune cookies while we were tasting a couple of freshly baked ones. My brother and I bought each other a large fortune cookie and wrote a message on the little pieces of paper. We also checked out some shops in Chinatown, which was so much fun. We all felt like this was an area which we would like to explore even more during the upcoming days.
Next up on our sightseeing tour was the cable car museum. When you think of San Francisco, the thing most people immediately think of is the transportation through the city by cable cars. It was really nice to take a look inside the (free!) cable car museum and learn about the operation of these trains. After 15 minutes or so (the museum is quite small, but very interesting) we went back to the car and drove to a magnificent viewpoint. We could look all over downtown, as well as over the Bay bridge and Alcatraz. The first/main picture of this blog was actually taken here!
It was then time to visit the ‘most crooked street of the world’ also known as Lombard Street. We got dropped at the top of the hill and walked down, which is actually much faster and more fun than driving down the street.
After seeing the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, we went to the sight we had all been waiting to see: The Golden Gate bridge. Did you know that this bridge is orange instead of red? And it is called this way because the bridge served as a gate to amazing (golden) opportunities and possibilities. We first saw the bridge from the pedestrian sidewalk, which was really impressive. We then went to another viewpoint, the perspective was so unique! The Twin Peaks were up next; the view was, yet again, amazing. The only thing is that you are on such a high point that everything you see is rather small and therefore you can’t really see that many beautiful details. It was really pretty, though, and I did get a great overlook of San Francisco. It was sunny on my birthday, due to which you could look into the distance so far at this place. Plus, I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge without it being in the middle of clouds, which is quite rare as well.
It was then time to visit the 5 five most stunning houses in my opinion: the Painted Ladies. These houses were real stars on the TV show ‘Full House’, I have to admit that I haven’t seen the series but I can say that I definitely get why a big part of it was shot here! This was the final destination of our sightseeing tour, it was fantastic and very relaxed! Weirdly enough, we felt more calm after seeing everything we wanted to see.
We were dropped off at the Fisherman’s Wharf and had lunch in an amazing buffet restaurant which was recommended by our driver. Over here, me and my brother opened up our fortune cookies: so sweet (literally)! After fully enjoying our meal, we bought a souvenir and discovered the area. We visited Pier 39: an extremely lively and touristy place, but quite fun! It was great to see Alcatraz from up close, unfortunately we weren’t able to get tickets. Just being able to see the island in real life was already fascinating!
Since we liked Chinatown so much, we decided to walk back to that area. It was quite a long walk but it was really nice to explore by foot for a bit after all of the driving. We did some shopping and wandered around. Me and my mom eventually ended up at Macy’s (the warehouse). A lovely MAC Cosmetics employee did my birthday evening make up; it was so nice to be glammed by a professional.
After some resting and relaxing (and catching up on some social media/responding to my birthday messages which was possible now since we had WiFi again;) ) We crossed the street and had dinner at an Italian place. I ended the night with a chocolate birthday dessert, sorry no pictures available…
It was a birthday to never forget!
See you soon with my next San Francisco blog. I hope you enjoyed reading this one!
Lots of love,