For New Years Eve we got up early and drove dad’s new Hybrid car to go to San Francisco to meet some friends for the night who met us there.
Since we we were only in San Fransisco for New Years Eve and the morning after, we tried to make the most of our trip by hitting up some of the most touristy, must-see places and take advantage of the AMAZING weather we had while we were there!
So here is what you can do with 24 hours in San Fransisco when you’re short on time and looking to go out with a big bang for the a New Year’s Eve!
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Hit Up Fisherman’s Wharf and Enjoy a Bread Bowl with Clam Chowder!
We arrived shortly before the sun was beginning to set. We had fantastic blue sky weather that made for an awesome sunset. We got lucky that we had perfect weather the entire time we were in SF because normally is cloudy and overcast and a bit cold.
Fisherman’s Wharf is very popular with lots of shops and restaurants. You should definitely check out Boudin for some great Clam Chowder in a bread bowl made from sourdough. We didn’t have enough time to do this and I was sad, but believe me when I say you can’t go to San Fran without grabbing a bowl!
Stop and Watch the Sea Lions at Pier 39
Pier 39 is the most popular tourist destination after the bridge for more shops and restaurants and of course the Sea Lions who lounge out in the water.
Since 1989 Sea Lions have perched themselves on the docks at Pier 39. Prior to that, Sea Lions lounged around on Seal Rock, but since 1989, the numbers have decreased and more have migrated to the docks. There is speculation this might have been a result of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, but the Sea Lions were already beginning to migrate prior to that.
This was the first time I had seen so many people crowded around the docks. There weren’t as many Sea Lions as normal there. Normally the whole dock is filled with Sea Lions all clambering over one another and howling and talking to each other. We didn’t really have much time to do much on Pier 39 other than take a few pictures and hurry off to dinner.
Enjoy a California Sunset (if the weather is nice)
It was hard to rush off to dinner with the weather being so absolutely perfect! The weather was so perfect we were able to see Alcatraz Prison clearly. That was definitely a first I have ever been to San Francisco and had perfect weather because every time I’ve gone it has always been foggy. The same with the Golden Gate Bridge, we could see it in the distance!
Devour Some BOMB Chinese Food From China Town
(Yes, I totally said BOMB!) Then we headed towards Chinatown for our dinner reservation at a restaurant that received great ratings on Yelp! So if you’re looking for a good Chinese restaurant in San Francisco Chinatown go to Hunan Home’s Restaurant but definitely make a reservation first! We literally had some of the best Chinese food I have had in years! And we each ordered a plate and shared! Although to be honest, I didn’t really want to share. haha It was so damn good!
Go Find the Cathedral Where Marilyn Monroe Married Joe DiMaggio
After dinner, we definitely needed to walk off our food so we headed back towards the hotel to get dressed for New Years Eve, but first stopping to grab some alcohol and Champagne to drink on the docks as we watched the fireworks. This is forbidden in the states so don’t do it! But we did anyways! 🙂 As we walked back to the hotel we saw a cathedral and a large church. The church is called Saints Peter & Paul Church which has the tall pointy steeples while the cathedral is called Grace Cathedral and looks like Notre Dame in Paris. I only bothered to grab the picture of the church. I know I’m a bad tourist!! Ugh!
An interesting fact about this church – Marylin Monroe and Joe DiMaggio photographed their wedding here in 1957 but were not actually married here.
Stock Up On Booze Before Heading Back Down to the Docks for the Firework Show!
After we stocked up on our booze (which is totally illegal to drink open bottles of alcohol in public), we first headed to a nearby bar where tourists and locals can meet and had a few beers before we headed down to the docks at Pier 39 so that we would be ready for the fireworks. We thought they would be out in the bay, off in the distance from the Golden Gate Bridge or something. Nope. We had to face behind us (so not facing the bay) and back behind Pier 39 way off in the distance was the fireworks. I still got some good pictures and when midnight came, the fireworks went off and we kissed our lovers for that special New Year kiss!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! HAPPY 2015!!!!!!
Get Up Early, Have a Big Hearty Jan. 1st Breakfast and then Hike it Off By Walking to Lombard Street
January 1, 2015 we got up super early to take advantage our limited time in San Francisco. We decided to go get a coffee first at Starbucks before hiking up some of the most massive hills in San Francisco to get to Lombard Street aka the Crooked Street. Why we walked, I have no idea.
Although the hike up was a bitch, we were blessed with some fantastic views of Alcatraz, which actually looked bigger from higher up than when we were down on Pier 39. I was told Lombard Street was closed to drivers, yet we still saw cars driving down. Not many but some, so maybe it was just early morning people before it got bust and the street was closed. But for the record, I’ve gone before and Lombard Street is definitely more beautiful in the spring when its covered in flowers.
Take a Ride on a Cable Car!!
I have been to San Francisco many times considering that my family only lives about an hour and a half away, but of all the times I have ever been to San Fran, I have NEVER gotten to ride on a cable car.
There are 3 original cable cars left in San Francisco which are the last working cable cars in the world!! The cable cars were established between 1873 and 1890. The driver of the cable car is called a gripman which is a highly skilled job, requiring the gripman to smoothly operate the lever to grip and release the cable. It looked like tough work for the gripman and a ride on the cable car is loud as the wheels roll on the tracks.
Check Out Union Square and All the Shops
So we took the cable car from below Lombard Street and ended at Union Square. Note: Its easier to catch the cable car from any other stop other than the beginning and ending of a cable car line! Otherwise you could be stuck standing for a long time in a very long line listening to some man drumming away on plastic buckets hoping to make a buck!
So we walked around Union Square for a bit, checked out the ice skating rink set up for the holidays. Union square is just a business shopping center area for San Francisco. It’s name comes from the rallies that used to be held here for the Union Army during the Civil War.
The monument in the center of Union Square is called the Dewey Monument which is in honor of Admiral George Dewey’s victory during the Spanish-American War against the Spanish in 1898 in the Philippines.
Take a Quick Drive to the Golden Gate Bridge
We quickly (or tried to) to get back to the hotel and check out and hop in the car so we would have enough time to go to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Painted Ladies (the Full House houses), but we didn’t have enough time for both. We only got to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I was really thankful for the beautiful weather we had because for the first time, I also got clear pictures of the bridge in all its splendor.
Lonely Planet’s ranked the Golden Gate Bridge as the 101st Ultimate Travel Destination in the world, therefore making it one of the world’s best destinations not to be missed!
Unfortunately, that was all we had time for. We quickly had to drop Stephanie and Daniel off so that Hans and I could get back on the road at get home in time for an amazing dinner that my dad was making and some games!
Check off your Travel Bucket List with Lonely Planet’s ULTIMATE Travelist book which ranks all of the BEST locations on the planet! It makes for great home decor or a conversation starter!
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