Over winter break, I had the chance to go back to one of my FAVE cities in the world: San Francisco! SF is chock-full of amazing restaurants, prime thrift store shopping, and a variety of interesting subcultures and neighborhoods. I also made my way over to Monterey while I was up north and experienced the little coastal town for the first time. I’ve compiled some of the highlights of my vacation here, so if you’re ever in the area you’ll know where to go!
My first stop in the Bay was the small town of Monterey, most famous for its aquarium. I can definitely tell you that there isn’t a whole lot to do here, but damn the view is nice. Rocky beaches line the downtown area and the seawater is crystal clear – we’re definitely not in LA anymore!
Monterey not be the most exciting city, but it’s great for spotting tons of wildlife. As we walked along the wharf with tourist shops and little snack stops, we caught glimpses of these blubbery sea lions just floating around. They remind me of my fat dog, who pretty much just lies on the couch all day, occasionally barking – same diff.
Obviously, getting food is number one on my priority list while exploring a new city, so we did a little bit of Yelp research and found Crepes of Brittany, a tiny creperie and coffee shop right on the wharf. They make the crepes right in front of you, plus they offer homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce. OMG. It seriously makes all the difference.
Of course a trip to Monterey wouldn’t be complete with stopping by the famous aquarium, so we spent an afternoon learning about ocean life, touching sea cukes, and watching the penguins collect pebbles just like in Happy Feet. It’s not the biggest aquarium, but it wasn’t super crowded and it did a great job of offering info about the animals and even how to help conservation efforts.
Now on to my exploration of my second favorite city in California. Last time I was in SF, I unfortunately didn’t have a lot of time to really explore it. So this time around I made the most of my visit! We wandered the city for a while, just seeing what we could find on our own. We also had an AMAZING breakfast… but you’ll have to wait for my next post to read all about it 😉
Located at Fisherman’s Wharf (by the Embarcadero) is one of my new favorite spots in the city. Inside an old warehouse is the Musée Mécanique, a collection of old and new arcade games – most of them working! It was so cool to see the history of arcade games from as far back as the turn of the century. You can also get your fortune read; apparently I’m getting married soon! So get ready to celebrate.
Just before Christmas, the Embarcadero was decorated with festive lights and garland and smelling like fragrant hot chocolate. It was understandably very crowded, but the cute little shops and the view of the bay and Alcatraz at the end of the wharf make it all worth it.
After spending most of the day traveling parts unknown (to me), at sunset we headed to an old favorite neighborhood: the Haight. The famous corner of Haight and Ashbury lies right in the middle of a funky, hipster area full of thrift stores, old school pizza joints, and cool street art. I love stopping by the Loved to Death shop, where you can find freaky statues, exorcism memorabilia, and even weirder objects. Just walking down Haight and checking out the street art and people watching can be a fun experience, especially since its vibe really captures the soul of San Francisco!
Thanks for reading my obnoxiously long post! If you have suggestions for my next trip up north, leave them in the comments!