Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Hip + Urban Girl's Guide To San Francisco

The Palace Hotel
Nearly a decade has passed since I last visited San Francisco and fell in love with it. Needless to say, I was tingling with excitement on this return trip. This time around, instead of being a carefree university grad with no responsibilities, I had my prone-to-travel-anxiety hubby, Jason and 18-month-old daughter, Annabel, in tow. Thankfully, the city by the bay did not fail me, and wooed all of us.
First stop, the aptly named Palace Hotel. Located downtown, this historic hotel emanates luxury and grandeur. Known as "the" venue for San Francisco's socialites since 1909, the Palace continues traditions of Sunday brunch and afternoon tea alongside modern amenities to ensure a perfect stay. 
We ditched our bags, then headed to nearby Belden Lane (above) for some grub. There you'll find a bevy of restaurants, tucked away in a back lane, with the option to eat indoors or out. With our bellies full, we settled in for a cozy night in our lovely Palace suite.

Photo Credit - Tim Griffith
The next day, we went to the California Academy of the Sciences in Golden Gate Park. This amazing showcase of sustainable architecture combines a planetarium, aquarium, and a natural history museum. And it's not just a place for kids. Jason and I probably enjoyed the living four-storey rainforest more than Annabel. Contained within a 90-foot diameter glass dome, it's full of free-flying birds and butterflies. We were sorry we wouldn't still be in town to catch NightLife—a popular themed event every Thursday night complete with a live band or DJ.
Photo Credit
Back downtown, we poked around the shops on Market Street before enjoying dinner at John's Grill, a landmark steakhouse known for its reference in the 1930 detective novel, The Maltese Falcon. 
We spent the following morning in Chinatown, noshing on dim sum amidst endless hustle and bustle. Then off to Alamo Square to enjoy the weather while roaming throughout this beautiful urban park. Of course, I snapped a photo of the famous "Painted Ladies" (above), which always remind me of that old sitcom, Full House. 
We rounded out the day by hitting Fisherman's Wharf. Sure, it's touristy and crowded, but it's a must-see. We opted for a quieter pier than the famed Pier 39 where we saw the sea lions and got a good view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Ah, San Francisco. How I still adore thee!

--Story and photos (unless otherwise indicated) by Colleen Seto, colleenseto.blogspot.com, Twitter @setoc

Planning a trip to San Francisco? Read more from our San Francisco Travel Series!

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