San Francisco, California

When I Went: Dec. 28-Jan. 3

Was That the Best Time of Year to Go? I’ve been to San Francisco in the summer, and the temperature was about the same–well, a little colder–but it was a great time to visit because it was temperate enough to walk around during the day, beautiful at night, and New Year’s Eve was really fun!

Why I Went There: My boyfriend and I wanted to get out of town after the holidays, and both of us loved the idea of going to California. It was our first trip together, and now we are getting married!

Who Went With Me? My boyfriend, Jay.

We Stayed Here: We stayed at the San Francisco Omni. It was a great location, close to lots of attractions, and easy to walk to public transport. The rooms were huge and the staff was really nice.

You Won’t Want to Miss: Take enough time for your vacation to get out of the city. There are AMAZING sights 20 minutes from San Francisco that we just don’t have in Dallas. We visited the Redwood Forest, hiked a trail in a beautiful natural park, went across the bay to Saucelito, visited Half Moon Bay tide pools, and drove up to Palo Alto for a day. It’s amazing how much natural beauty there is and how diverse the landscape is in just a few miles.

Eat Here: Mama’s on Washington Square! This is a tiny little diner that opens at 8 a.m., but get there at 7  a.m. to wait outside. Seriously. The lines on the weekends back up onto the next block! We didn’t want to go, but everyone kept telling us to try it and man are we glad we did! It was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. The staff was super kind and welcoming, which was a welcome departure from other places where you might have to wait to get it!

Play Here: Bourbon & Branch.We found this place online and had to try it. It’s a speakeasy that you need reservations for and a password. I wanted to see it just to make fun of it, but once we were there, I was totally swept up in the period decor, the talented bartenders and the chill vibe of the patrons. It was sort of fun to have a password, try to find the building with an unmarked door, and be led to reserved seats in a bar. But the drinks were great, and there’s nothing like that here in Dallas.  Also, The Tonga Room! This is a San Francisco institution. It’s got kitschy fifties Polynesian decor with bamboo tables, drinks with umbrellas in them, and a fake lagoon. The best part is the “rain” show that happens every 30 minutes over the lagoon. There’s even a bandstand in the middle, but alas, no band while we were there.

If I Went Again: Nothing! It was a perfect trip.

How Did You Get There From Dallas? We flew on American Airlines.

Other Tips For Fellow Travelers: Don’t be afraid to be a tourist! My parents bought us a Segway tour for Christmas, and we chose the one through Golden Gate park. honestly, it was the best way to see the park and learn about it. Our tour guide was silly and fun, and the park is HUGE. We would never have been able to see all of it just walking. We also took a cruise on the bay for New Year’s Eve, which was a great way to see the skyline and the fireworks that they set off!

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