I have lived in the United States for over twelve years now and in those twelve years I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area calling it home. This past thanksgiving break I decided to research on places to visit nearby. I had already seen most of the popular spots, so I decided to commit the cardinal sin most avid travelers frown upon: Be a tourist in San Francisco for a day. We decided to visit Coit Tower through the filbert stairs and then visit pier 39. If you know SF, you know pier 39 is the tourist mecca.
On a pleasant Friday afternoon we drove to San Francisco. I realized the 21st century has not made GPS much smarter than they were few years back. I typed in Filmore steps and posh said no results found. That’s right, we call our car Posh! I entered coit tower and posh spat out the directions.
If you have ever been to San Francisco, parking is an absolute nightmare. My research showed Coit tower had limited parking and it was almost impossible to find parking. We cruised our way into San Francisco and as we neared the tower entrance, the parking gods had a spot waiting for us. Black Friday is indeed the day to visit SF. The view from the parking lot was spectacular and I could not wait to get to the top of the tower.
We walked up few stairs and could see tourists lined up waiting for the elevator to the top. We bought our tickets as the ticket dude asked us where we were from. I wanted to unleash my British accent on him but decided against it. We lined up for the elevators. On either side of the hallways were murals of California, right from the oranges to apricots. There were murals of California cows too paying tribute to the advertisement ” happy cows come from California”. Of course not all cows in California are that happy and chunky either.
Our turn arrived as we got on the old school elevator. We were dropped off a floor before the vantage point after which we climbed few steep stairs to the top. The view was spectacular. On a clear day like the one we had, we could see bay bridge against the water, the city and Alcatraz. We spent few minutes here and took the elevator back.
We had by now realized Fillmore steps don’t exist but it is actually Filbert steps. We could hear parrots squeaking and decided to check it out. The steps are steep but they have handrails for support. The steps are sandwiched on either sides of beautiful flowers and the parrots add the perfect harmony. The steps are steep but nature provides the best companion to make the trip to Coit tower.
We made our way to little Italy for all things Italian with a mix of some Chinese and Mexican. We were so hungry we decide to not follow yelp and eat at the next Italian place we could see. Our next agenda was cannolis. We visited Victoria’s pastry shop and went overboard shopping for cookies and cannoli’s. I have to admit I am not a cannoli lover.
We drove down to Pier 39, the mecca of all things touristy. We parked our car and walked the pier. The giant Christmas tree added to the holiday festivity as we walked through tons of shops selling all things San Francisco. The air smelled of fish and chips as we made our way through the Pier. I visited the Houdini store for the first time ever and absolutely loved it. They had gag gifts for everyone, and I did contemplate splurging on it. After walking through several chocolate and ice cream stores, we were ready to embark on our very long 30 min ride back home. We parked near pier 45, and we were encrusted by the Coit tower on one side and the lit bay bridge on the other side. It was serenity at its best.
San Francisco has an infectious energy about it. Irrespective of the season, the city can make you feel festive. The hustle and bustle, the spine numbing chillness and the tourists make SF one of my favorite places on earth. As much as I love being a SF resident, I enjoyed my day as a SF tourist just as much. I even got a “I love SF” stamp to add to the touristy feel.