Daily Archives: May 7, 2019

Spring Break in San Francisco

My second favorite city (Chicago is first)

I always promised my daughter a senior trip. When she was little, I would say, “If you don’t turn into a punk, get good grades, and don’t get in any major trouble, I’ll take you wherever you’d like to go your senior year.” It paid off. My daughter is a wonderful young woman who has been a dream. Her first choice was Hawaii, but, unfortunately the funds weren’t there. It was just too much for right now. I gave her some more options and she settled on San Francisco. This made me happy because I love the city. I had been three times previous but always to teach salsa dancing at a salsa congress so I hadn’t explored the city too much.

We settled on our details, our AirBnB, our car and made plans. Her number one request was the Museum of Ice Cream – a new-ish place in the financial/shopping district. Everything else got planned around that. I’ll probably write about places more specifically but here are some things we loved.

The Big Bus Hop on-Hop Off tour.
Looking back, I would have made more time for this actually. It hits all the spots you want to go and makes it easy to get around. We upgraded our package to 2 days and received entry into quite a few other places. We took full advantage. With the bus tour we visited:

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
I had no idea this place would be so much fun. Normally, this is not a place I’d visit on my own but since we got in free, we popped in and started our tour. We had the entire place to ourselves. We didn’t have to wait for anyone or take turns. It was a blast and I’m sure having it to ourselves helped the fun factor.

A famous sculpture in San Francisco at the Wax Museum
You get to have a photo with awesome famous people!

Aquarium of the Bay
This aquarium is right on the wharf near the boats to Alcatraz, the bus area, and all the other tourist stuff. Skip it. While we got in with our pass, I wouldn’t want to pay for it. It is rather small and it gets incredibly crowded. If you’ve been to an aquarium before, you’ve seen it. There’s really nothing too special.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not
I love this place. I went once to a location down in Myrtle Beach and thought it would be dumb. It was fascinating. I have no idea how much is really real or fake in there but it doesn’t matter. They had a very cool light show where we took some fun photos. They had one of those walls where a light flashes and your shadow stays on the wall. And they had a tunnel to walk through that the sides spin (you don’t). I couldn’t do it. My vertigo would have kicked in immediately but my daughter made it. Again, we had the place to ourselves which made it all the more fun.

Ripley’s had some really cool light exhibits
Ripley’s had a shadow capture wall. We did it twice to get multiple shadows. I loved this.

California Academy of Sciences
Go here! This place is a fantastic place to visit – especially with kids. They have an aquarium, a rain forest area, a planetarium, and more! The aquarium here is way better than Aquarium of the Bay. In fact, I think it is bigger and had some really neat exhibits. We really enjoyed the rain forest area. It is a circular walk way and you see birds, butterflies, and they had two macaws who were really loud. Then you can go to the top and see the living roof. We didn’t get to go to the Planetarium since they didn’t have a show that worked for our day.

What we did in the city that wasn’t related to the tour:

Lombard Street
While this is a stop on the tour bus, we walked here on our own. I had been there before and don’t remember it being so crazy. So many people. I can’t imagine trying to live there. It was fun watching people drive down the street – many had their phones out recording it. We stopped for photos here although I couldn’t get any good photo of the street itself. I would have had to been higher up and pointing down. Or been there at night for lighting.

At the bottom of the zig-zag looking down into the city. I think if you look down most any street in San Francisco you’ll have an interesting view of something. It’s exciting.


The Museum of Ice Cream
This place really has nothing to do with the history of ice cream. I mean, it does if you ask some of the workers there. They are all knowledgeable about ice cream. The place is dedicated to cute and fun. We walked in, got an ice cream sandwich, and started the tour. We visited a diner, a room full of magnet letters on the walls, a cotton candy room, and more. Everything was delicious and pink. PINK. You move at your own pace and spend as much time as you want in each room. Want seconds? No problem. Want photos? No problem. We had a ton of fun and I’d do it again. At the end of the tour, they had a “Sprinkles” pool. You could go down a slide in a bath of sprinkles. This was my daughter’s number one option when going to San Francisco and it was a great choice.

Everyone ends up looking pink due to the massive amounts of pink on the walls and everywhere else.
Sliding into the pool of sprinkles

Alcatraz Tour
I will write about this in a separate post. For those who think, “Oh that’s such a tourist thing to do.” I mean, it is, but it is way more than that. The history and stories are fascinating.

Alcatraz Island

Ghirardelli Square
A visit to San Francisco isn’t complete until you visit Ghirardelli. Plan to exercise either before or after because you’re going to want to order something tasty at the chocolate factory. I controlled myself and only got a hot chocolate. My daughter ordered a brownie and a milkshake. Everything was delicious. Just a note: There is a separate store for Ghirardelli down the square a bit. If the gift shop is crowded when you order, just leave and walk towards the rest of the shops. There is a whole other location that is much bigger. And don’t forget to grab the free chocolate they hand out.

We also visited Muir Woods National Monument, Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and other parts along the coast. I’ll write about these separately.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip. I wasn’t there for photography and it shows in my photos. My focus was spending time with my daughter and not having her wait around all the time while I tried to get photos. She was pretty good about the times I did and I appreciate that. We created memories. She’s off to college in the fall and I’ll treasure this trip.

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