Over my Spring break, some of my best friends and I took a trip to Northern California! We stayed in San Francisco and we rented a car which allowed us to take a road trip down the coast to Big Sur. I had been to San Francisco with my family before when I was younger so I was really excited to see what I would remember and be able to reminisce on. I was also really excited to see the similarities and differences Northern California had in comparison to Southern California. As always, I did a lot of pre-planning to make sure my friends and I got the most out of our trip. We planned a five day trip, thinking it would be more than enough time in San Fran, but we honestly could’ve stayed for another day or two.
FRIDAY, MARCH 23
After we picked up our rental car and checked into our hotel, we headed right to the Color Factory. I had been wanting to go to the Color Factory ever since I saw it’s opening announcement on Instagram last Summer and I was so glad I was able to get tickets. It consisted of thirteen different rooms (if I remember correctly), all of which were so visually pleasing and interactive- a dream come true! After we left, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf and got In-N-Out for dinner (if you’re vegetarian like myself, be advised that In-N-Out’s “grilled cheese” is literally just a cheeseburger without without the meat). Before we picked up our friend Hailey from the airport that night, we headed up to Twin Peaks around sunset to see the whole city lit up (pictured below).
SATURDAY, MARCH 24
We spent our full first day really exploring the whole city. We started the day off at TreasureFest which is a flea market on Treasure Island (not pictured) that we spent about two hours at. For lunch, we went to Cafe Reville (pictured, top left). Our avocado toast was a whopping SIX dollars…literally New York who!? Afterwards, we park-hopped and went to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies (pictured, bottom left) and then to Mission Dolores Park (pictured, bottom right). I absolutely fell in love with Mission Dolores Park and so badly wish I could transfer it to the East Coast. We spent the rest of the night driving around and kept it simple with a dinner at our hotel.
SUNDAY, MARCH 25
On our 3rd day, we put our rental car to really good use and took a road trip down the coast to Big Sur. This was actually the main reason we got a rental car to begin with and the trek there ended up being about six hours long (stopping along the way included). This whole day felt so surreal. If you’re a real one and remember my trip to LA last Summer, I had actually planned on taking a road trip to Big Sur and San Fran but decided not to and to just spend my whole trip in LA. Our first stop was in Half Moon Bay which is where we found the flower field that we ran around in for half an hour. Then we stopped at Shark Fin Cove (not pictured), Bixby Creek Bridge (pictured, top right), and then made it to our final destination in Big Sur which was Mcway Falls (pictured, bottom left). I had dreamed of visiting Mcway Falls for so many years and to finally be there in person and take in what I was seeing felt so crazy. On our way to Big Sur, we were at a point where we had all lost phone service for about three hours and it felt so cool to drive aimlessly down the coast without an urgency to document anything. The drive back to San Fran was only about three hours since we didn’t drive back on the coast and took the quickest route.
MONDAY, MARCH 26
My friend Gracie and I started off our morning being the only ones out of our friends who were willing to wake up early to see the sunrise. We went to the Sutro Baths which are manmade water baths in San Fran and it’s funny because we actually ended up going back here for sunset that night which was amazing (pictured later, below). Together, we all started our day off at Rhea’s Cafe where Glossier was having a pop-up (not pictured) and then drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. We went to the not-so-touristy tourist spot of the bridge called Battery Spenser (pictured, top left) and then walked down to Kirby Cove Beach which had a swing!
After this, we went to a cute shop called General Store (pictured below, later) which had a tiny greenhouse in the backyard of it before going back to the Sutro Baths for sunset. We stayed at the Sutro Baths watching the sunset for about an hour and I’m so glad we stayed long enough to see the sky become a full pink.
To end the night, we went back to Fisherman’s Wharf where we went to Ghirardelli Square (not pictured). It was so nostalgic being there because I remember being there with my family from when I came to San Fran previously. Pictured below is a picture of the greenhouse from General Store.
TUESDAY, MARCH 27
We started our last full day at the cutest spot called 20th Century Cafe. I completely forget what type of cake I had for breakfast (lol) but it was delicioussssss. Afterwards, we went to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park which was really cool but tiny. We then stopped at Mission Dolores Park one more time to soak it all in and took a lil nap on the grass. That night for dinner we got fancy and went to a really good Italian restaurant called Beretta (not pictured) which had vegan options!
Our flight didn’t leave on Wednesday until 2PM but we just got breakfast and then headed to the airport and returned our rental car. This trip went by so quick but also felt so long at the same time, it was a really weird feeling. Until next time, West Coast 🙂