Last month, my husband and I celebrated two years of marriage with a trip (our first in over a year) to San Francisco. It was a lovely weekend full of adventure, good food, lots of walking, and excellent views. My favorite new discovery on the trip was the stunning Ina Coolbrith Park in Russian Hill. The park is small, but the views are grand! Near North Beach, you can grab a gelato on your way up to the park and have something delicious to snack on as you take in the view.
Our trip began with an urban hike up the Filbert Steps from Levi’s Plaza to Coit Tower. This has always been one of my favorite spots in the city. The stairs are surrounded by cute homes and an abundance of flowers, and there is always something to look at, no matter which direction you’re looking in. Once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with views of Coit Tower and a panoramic view of San Francisco.
Above: The view from the Filbert Steps over Levi’s Plaza, with the Bay Bridge in the background.
Below: Views on the Filbert Steps. Fun fact: The Filbert Steps are known to be home to a pandemonium of parrots (fun fact within a fun fact: did you know a group of parrots is called a pandemonium?) that I have been visiting since I was a young girl. There’s even a documentary on them called The Parrots of Telegraph Hill.
After a full afternoon of exploration, we headed to the delicious 54 Mint Ristoranre Italiano before the pièce de résistance of our trip: the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit.
54 Mint was absolutely delicious. We started with some supplì, which is a Roman street food; they’re deep-fried rice balls and oh. my. gosh. SO GOOD! I had the Cacio e Pepe, and Hubs chose the Carbonara. We went for a true Roman-food experience, and we were not disappointed. Squisito!
Afterward, we ventured further downtown to find the exhibit, and once we were there… what an experience!
The exhibit was truly spectacular. We were able to sit through the show twice and really absorb it; both of us left feeling so inspired. I am hoping to start painting again! Hubs is now especially looking forward to seeing his first Van Gogh painting in person, and I can’t wait to be the first to show it to him. Art was such a large part of my childhood, and sharing my love of art with my husband has been such a joy. This exhibit truly inspired us both.
We stayed at a lovely hotel near the TransAmerica Pyramid, which was helpful in finding our way home through the city. The flatiron building (on the right) is my favorite building in all of San Francisco.
Our walk through North Beach and Chinatown felt almost normal. The streets were busy and crowded, and the shops had all flung open their doors. The smell of delicious food wafted through the air, and we stopped in for a gelato at Lush Gelateria on Christopher Columbus Street.
On the second day in the city, we walked a whopping 18.6 miles from our hotel in the Financial District, all the way on the water to Crissy Field to look at the Golden Gate Bridge. We made several pit stops along the way, such as to marvel at the Palace of Fine Arts (above) and to have lunch at The Palm House, a tropical-theme restaurant with the most delicious cocktails and dishes.
After lunch, the long trek to Crissy Field was rewarded with a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Despite living in the Bay Area for my whole life, the views of this bridge never cease to amaze me.
Nearing the end of the day, we began the long trek back to our hotel, through neighborhoods this time, to see what we would discover. I had just one more “must see” stop on my list, though…
There was a certain place, Ina Coolbrith Park, that I had heard held amazing panoramic views of the city. As we got closer, the directions told us to walk up an almost 45-degree hill for two blocks. Hubs looked at me; I shrugged, smiled, and said: “It will be worth it. I promise!” As we neared the end of the second block, I called out to turn left and it would be right there. A reached the top of the street first, and turned to me, saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” The hill seemed twice as steep as the two blocks we just ascended…
… But in the end, it was worth it.
San Francisco is one of the best cities in the whole world, and I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. Luckily, I live close enough to visit often. Tell me, what is your favorite city in the world?