Things to do

A long weekend in San Francisco

Rick and I recently had an opportunity to return to one of my favorite cities: San Francisco!

I was headed there for work and was thinking about staying an extra day anyway so we decided to make a long weekend out of the trip and have Rick fly out on his own to join me.

Though my first few days were focused on work and going to the office, we did manage to fit a lot in on this extended weekend stay in San Francisco.

See what we did with our time in our weekend in San Francisco travel itinerary!


So I got in around noon on Thursday and headed to the office for some afternoon meetings, which was fine as Rick wasn’t flying in until later that evening. After my meetings I went with my coworkers, many of whom are Bay Area locals, over to the Fairmont for some happy hour cocktails.

The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

I was actually really excited to visit the Fairmont as I’d heard some spooky stories about the haunted hotel on the ghost tour I did last time I was in San Francisco!

We got a table at the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, a bar that knows how to commit to a theme. We ordered some light bites and cocktails. I sampled both the Tiny Bubbles and the Tropical Itch for some tropical flavors.

The bar is really neat and I wish I had had a chance to walk around and explore it more and next time I’m in San Francisco, I’ll be making a return visit!

Late dinner at The Alchemist

After Rick arrived and checked into the hotel, we went over to The Alchemist as it was right around the block from our hotel. It had a fun steampunk vibe and plenty of hand-crafted cocktails to start our vacation off right!

We sampled the spinach and artichoke dip, the tater tots with truffle oil, and fried chicken sliders.


Friday morning I headed back to the office for a half-day and Rick took the opportunity to catch up on some sleep and rest.

After my day ended at the office, I met him up for some cocktails with a view and we started Friday off right with some happy hour drinks – and a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco.

Happy hour at Kaiyo

Luckily for us, the hotel we were staying at had a rooftop bar located on the 12th floor so we headed up for some drinks, snacks, and amazing views.

Kaiyo was like Peruvian-Japanese fusion so we got some pisco sour cocktails that we paired with sushi and ceviche.

The hotel was located near Oracle Park and it was an area of San Francisco I had yet to experience. The view from Kaiyo was beautiful and a different perspective of the city I hadn’t seen before.


After enjoying the views above the city, it was time to head down into it and explore – as this was Rick’s first time in San Francisco!

I absolutely adore Chinatown and just love strolling the streets and examining what the stores have to offer and smelling the scents wafting down from the Chinese restaurants.

We walked through the neighborhood, snapped some pics, and then it was time to head back to our hotel to prep for the holiday party my office was having.


On the way back to our hotel, which was close to Oracle Park, we stumbled across a bar called Rickhouse and decided to pop in for a drink – and of course take a photo of the sign with Rick posing beneath it.

Rickhouse was really neat and the bartenders were so friendly and fun and easy to talk to. For a random find, it was a good one!

After our drinks, it was time to head off to my company’s holiday party.


On Saturday, we changed hotels to be closer to some sightseeing attractions so we checked out of our hotel near Oracle Park and made our way toward Fisherman’s Wharf. It was too early to check-in but we dropped off our bags and headed back out.

Fisherman’s Wharf

We got some coffees and strolled along Fisherman’s Wharf and visited Pier 39 to see the sea lions and take in the view of Alcatraz from afar.

Lunch at Bistro Boudin

We stopped at Boudin to see and smell all the freshly baked bread and then went upstairs to Bistro Boudin for an early lunch. We started with garlic sourdough bread and then Rick opted for a crab cake sandwich and I gave into my inner child and went with crab mac and cheese. We were sufficiently carbo-loaded for the day ahead!

Visit Alcatraz

We made our way down the wharf again to Pier 33 to get on our boat to Alcatraz Island. The fog was coming in thick so Rick did not get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge during our ride to the island and infamous prison, but we did have neat views of Alcatraz.

It was Rick’s first time to Alcatraz (obviously) and I’ve been there twice before but I still learn new things each time I go back. It has such a unique history and I enjoy returning there, even if it is touristy.

We explored the prison cells and grounds for a bit before joining a guided tour with a park ranger. We spent about two hours on Alcatraz and definitely got our steps in that day!

Dinner at Union Larder

After getting back to the city, we were in the mood for some food and drink and I looked up wine bars in the area and found one called Union Larder, which also let us walk past Lombard Street so Rick could see the supposedly crookedest street in the city.

Union Larder had an excellent wine list and really great shareable plates. We both started with glasses of sparkling wine before I moved onto a delicious Syrah from France and Rick opted to go Spanish and order a Tempranillo.

We paired our wine with the wagyu beef cheesesteak and a charcuterie board that featured jamon iberico, duck rillette, a gouda from the Netherlands, and a goat cheese that I think came from Washington. Everything was delicious and it was the right amount of food to share between the two of us.

We hung out there for a few hours eating and drinking and watching the Hyde Street cable car go up and down the hill.

Get dessert at Ghirardelli

After our night of wine, we headed toward Ghirardelli Square for some dessert. We picked up a few chocolate squares to take home with us and then visited the ice cream shop for a sweet treat. We shared the Lands End which features a chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, sea salt, caramel sauce, and hot fudge, plus whipped cream and a cherry.


See the Golden Gate Bridge

We got up nice and early as we had only a half day left in the city and called an Uber to take us to the San Francisco Visitor’s Center so we could get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge as our ride to Alcatraz did not give us one.

Unfortunately for us, there was a marathon that morning so some of the roads were closed or trails blocked off. We were able to get dropped off and get great photos of the bridge, but we did have some obstacles figuring our route back to the hotel.

Walk in the Presidio 

We ended up walking in the Presidio, and still having a great view of the bridge and the city before us, and wanted to check out Dynamo Donut but they were closed due to the race. Womp womp. So, instead we headed toward the Palace of Fine arts and then on to find some coffee.

Yoda Fountain at Lucasfilm

We continued exploring the Presidio and made our way toward Lucasfilm and the statue of Yoda in the courtyard. We took our pics, sipped our Starbucks, and called an Uber back toward Fisherman’s Wharf.


We stopped once more at Boudin, this time the downstairs cafe to try the famous clam chowder in a bread bowl and another crab sandwich. It was a yummy way to end our trip before picking up our luggage at the hotel and heading to SFO.

It was a great yet quick weekend getaway and I cannot wait until we’re able to return to San Francisco again and continue our exploration of the Bay Area. Let us know what we need to add to our San Francisco travel itinerary for next time by leaving us a comment!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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