Day 2: Quite a walk in San Francisco
After an early rise and delicious breakfast at Le Boulangerie de San Francisco (222 Sutter Street), we walked towards the piers. We encountered the Mechanics Monument on Market Street, which prompted the kids to ask us whether or not metalworking is dangerous while being buck naked… 😀
After a short stop at The Embarcadero and the San Francisco Ferry Building, we went on to the Exploratorium. The last time we visited in 2001, at its previous location in the Palace of Fine Arts at Piers 15 and 17, it was already great, but its new site at Pier 39 is even bigger and chockfull of great hands-on exhibits that will entertain young and old alike.
You can easily keep yourself occupied for several hours with the abundance of physics, biology, or sensory exhibits and experiments, which we did… Consequently, we had a late lunch at Hillstone. An excellent restaurant just across Pier 33 (1800 Montgomery Street). Definitely one of the pricier ones we have been too, but high quality and tasty food and friendly service!
- Hillstone Cheeseburger: freshly ground beef, with tomato, onion, lettuce and melted cheddar
- Texas Burger: freshly ground beef, topped with chili, red onion, and shredded cheddar served with a tangy BBQ sauce and quinoa salad
- Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna salad with mango, avocado, mixed greens, and a cilantro ginger vinaigrette
What a difference a couple of hours makes!
As we bought City Passes at the Exploratorium, we needed to get bang for our buck (we are Dutch, right… 🤑), so we took the historic tram to Fisherman’s Wharf (touristy to the second degree) and also visited the Aquarium of the Bay on Pier 39. The animals had plenty of room, but some reason they still stayed really close together…
Much to the dismay of the kids, we afterward set out on foot to Lombard Street, one of the steepest streets open for traffic in San Francisco, which obviously turned to quite a hike. As expected, there were hordes of tourists, selfie-sticks, and cars that just had to go down the street with a genuinely spectacular decline. All I can say: don’t mess with SF traffic wardens if they instruct you to drive on…
We took one of the historic cable cars down Hyde Street to Ghiradelli Square – with a great view over the San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz – and then took a historic tramcar to Embarcadero before heading back to the hotel.
After a trial of “the best donuts in town” at Happy Donuts (145 Columbus Avenue) – okay, but otherwise not very special – the kids insisted that we had dinner at Chipotle. We still don’t have a clue how they knew this chain as we don’t have any in The Netherlands, but they found an outlet on the block next to the hotel (211 Sutter Street) where we squeezed in just before their 8pm closing time.
I didn’t think of ever having to quote Ozzy Osborne from the MTV reality soap The Osbornes, but his “Ohhh, this burrito is fucking killing me…” describes pretty accurately how I felt after eating just one third of the delicious calorie-bomb that was a chorizo, pinto beans and cilantro-lime brown rice filled and fresh tomato salsa and guacamole topped burrito. The upside was that I also had a breakfast burrito 😉