California Dreaming: San Francisco

2014-08-30 14.09.17_2
Words and Image by Lucy Willoughby

California dreaming, everyone has that moment where their thoughts wonder to what life could be like in a world where the sun is always shining and the pace is that little bit slower. So as my year in the states was drawing to a somewhat abrupt end I decided now was my time to venture from east to west to the land of endless coastline and sunshine.

My first stop was San Francisco, something you should know straight up, the sun DOESN’T always shine here but the awesomeness of this city makes you forget that’s why you headed to the west coast in the first place. With it’s rolling hills and perfectly unique houses this is a city with a charm and character, which can’t be compared.

For me Alcatraz was a must see, I have been obsessed every since I saw a Blue Peter special on the infamous prison. So avoid disappointing you 10 year old self like I did, book at least 3 weeks in advance to get a ticket to go onto the actual island. Otherwise you will be weeping silently as you sail past on a ferry cruise tour which will get you close but not quite close enough to discover what life was really life on the “Rock”.

Booklovers will love the independent bookstore and publishers, City and Lights. It’s really cool but what they will love even more is the Vesuvio café next door, which was the meeting place for Jack Kerouac and his fellow beat generation poets. It is still a running pub and has become a pilgrimage for beat wannabes from all over the world.

If you are looking for something more active to do, hire a bike and take the 2 hour cycle from the Fishermans Warf along the water’s edge and across the fantastic Golden Gate Bridge to the gorgeous town of Sausalito. This beautiful town has a European feel to it and is wonderful for an afternoon stroll. Be sure to avoid the steep cycle back and jump on the ferry with your bike taking you back to where you started, especially after a few too many proseccos at one of the stylish waterfront bars.

For food, check out El Techo in the hipster mission district. This trendy rooftop Mexican restaurant has sweet views of the city and delicious chicharrones de carne tacos. For a change of scenery head to Zeigeist, a punk rockers dream with an awesome beer garden and impressive spicy Bloody Marys that will keep you there all night.

A perfect way to round up a visit to San Fran is an afternoon picnic in the eclectic Dolores Park. Sat on a hill looking down on the city, this is the place to unwind, and if you need a little help unwinding there are plenty of flower wearing hippies on hand with interesting cookies and truffles to assist you. Believe me, when they say the west coast is the chilled side of the states, they weren’t wrong.

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