To be fair, we had just over 48 hours in San Francisco which isn’t nearly enough time to do everything, but alas we tried our best and I think we hit some pretty amazing places on our way.
Where to Stay:
When heading to San Francisco, the first thing you must think of is where to stay. Location and proximity are always key in our selection. Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel is located here and a cable car is 1 block away. Anytime you left the hotel in any direction, you would walk down hill which is amazing… I may suggest an Uber or Lyft when you return, unless you are working on your leg muscles! We fell in love with the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel even before exiting our Uber! The Mark Hopkins is located at the Top of Nob Hill (hill= mountain) …. I am sore just thinking about walking around San Francisco!! I was truly unprepared for the hills (mountains) in this town!
Mark Hopkins is the picture of history and luxury all wrapped up with the best view in town! We pulled up to the hotel in the evening from our 5 hour flight West, and the hotel was picture perfect with staff opening your doors and welcoming you with a smile. We met the night manager, Thomas Case, he provided us with some suggestions and recommended his concierge services for any of our needs. It ran seamlessly, which is always a plus after a long flight cross country.
Top of the Mark:
Lucky for us the Hotel also has a bar and restaurant called the Top of the Mark with a fun history. The Top of the Mark, had a live band playing, a loaded bar and a killer view!
The club level for the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel is a must! In the morning, there is an amazing buffet with any and all selections including asian fare. We enjoyed our breakfast before heading out with our coffees for the day. They have an all day service where you can pop in and get soft drinks, water and snacks, which we utilized often. Lastly, but most importantly, Mark Hopkins has a cocktail hour with self serve complimentary wine, beer and liquor. It’s perfect for a quick stop and drink before heading out for dinner!
I highly recommend staying at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, it has everything you could ask for wrapped up in the perfect location.
So now that you know where to stay! Let me lead you threw our 48 Hours.
We arrived later in the evening on Friday, flying from the East Coast puts you back a little considering the time change! We quickly dropped our bags and headed out to find some Sushi! Yes, I love everything Sushi! We had a quick few rolls at Maru Sushi and then walked across the street and up a hill… (yep that happened often) to the Last Drop Tavern. It was down stairs and mostly locals stopping in at the bar. We then headed back to the hotel since it was already late for us and went to the Top of the Mark. There was a live band playing with people of all attires present including cocktail dresses intermixing with jeans. It was fun and the view was perfect! I imagine it being even better at Sunset. As we were on East Coast time, we headed back to our room and went to sleep at midnight! I should really have won an award for staying up until 3 in the morning.
Up, dressed and ready by 7am! First stop coffee and breakfast buffet at the hotel. Have I mentioned how much I love breakfast and bacon inparticularly? Well, it was there and I ate all of it. Or at least I tried. We grabbed our coffee and ran out the door to get to the Pier 33 for our Alcatraz tickets!
Couple things you need to know about this: First book your tickets ahead of time or else you may not get tickets at all! It is wildly popular (for a reason)! Book them here. Second: I suggest the earliest time possible! We went out on the early bird 8:45 time slot. This allowed us to do more than just Alcatraz in one day and also less people are there so you really feel the eerie prison atmosphere. It’s worth every penny and in case you were wondering, yes I said “Welcome to the Rock” when I stepped on the island! This tour was worth it to see the city from the boat and the audio tour was really well done with voices of some of the convicts and the prison guards narrating. Plus the views! The former prison houses 360 views of the Bay area!
We luckily had no fog to speak of which also could be a problem for timing your Alacatraz tour. Karl the Fog decided he didn’t want to meet us this weekend! We appreciated his lack of hospitality!
After Alcatraz, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and grabbed some sourdough bread and coffee. It was not my favorite area as it was loaded with people and lots of bright neon lights and trinket shops all around. I would say go for a quick stop if you are close by, but I wouldn’t stay long.
Looking at the map we decided to walk from Fisherman’s Wharf to Lombard St. This is about the time we realized what kind of topography San Francisco possessed! HOLY HILLS! It is basically straight up to Lombard St. and my husband was not impressed with the decision to walk. Maybe an Uber or Lyft is in your best interest, but if not I would say just go slow with lots of stops! It appeared that we were the only ones walking up the hill. I’m sure people were laughing at us as they passed going the opposite (also clearly correct) direction. Lombard St. is pretty and of course well known but a very short street. After many pictures, we grabbed an Uber (no convincing needed) back to the hotel to recharge (literally I recharged my phone)! We then walked to China Town and ate at the Spicy King which was Spicy! We loved it and it was packed but very fast moving. We only waited a few minutes to be seated and our food came quickly.
After eating all the Chinese food we could consume we walked back UP to our hotel before taking off to the Painted Ladies, also forever to be known as the Full House Houses! Our concierge told us it was about a 2 mile walk to the Painted Ladies mostly down hill and gave us the directions to use. There are some areas he directed us not to walk through so make sure you know where you are going if you end up walking. While walking, we were able to go through Japan Town and down Fillmore St. (cute shopping district) and over to Alamo Square. I was a huge Full House fan so I was so excited to see the Painted Ladies! My husband… not so much. It was a gorgeous day and we sat in the grass (singing the Full House song) over looking the city and the houses for a little while before (you could probably guess) we Ubered back to the hotel.
We had a quick cocktail at our hotel lounge before meeting some old friends at The View Rooftop for sunset! You might want to get to The View a few hours prior to Sunset if you want to get a table or a seat. Luckily, our friends already knew that and had one waiting for us! The View was pretty busy but you were still able to move about and grab pictures of the beautiful San Francisco Sunset overlooking the city! From there, we headed to Lao. Lao is a Thai styled restaurant with outstanding noodle and rice dishes. We did not have a reservation but we were able to get in early. It started to fill up by the time we left at 7:00 so you may need reservations if you like to dine later. We decided to head back to our hotel for a night cap at the Top of the Mark and then headed to bed. Big plans for Sunday!
We were up again early and down to brunch at the hotel as part of our Club level package. I tell you their Brunch was unbelievable. Any type of food you can imagine was available. I of course went for the bacon, the pastries, the eggs and… well you get the picture. After brunch, our goal was to bike over the Golden Gate Bridge! We walked down towards the Wharf passing some cable cars on our way. We stopped at Buena Vista which is known for it’s Irish Coffee. We will have 2 of those please! They were Amazing! Highly recommend a stop if only for one drink.
Now that we had our liquid courage we headed over to grab our bikes. We rented bikes for the day from Blazing Saddles. Blazing Saddles was completely wonderful and very encouraging as my husband was not a big fan of my choice to bike the bridge! Let me start off by saying it is not an easy leisurely bike ride!!! There are some serious up hill battles on that bike. We rode towards the bridge and stopped for pictures (and a glass of wine) at the Warming House. Great views and we even saw some Seals! We then headed up and across. There are some serious bikers riding on the bridge as well as tourists like us (not moving as quickly). I would suggest to be mindful of the corners and let people pass if they need too. After coming off the bridge we were excited… Finally, down hill we go! Well hold on, Sausalito is back up after you head to the base of the bridge… so one last uphill stretch (are we there yet)!
We were able to head into Sausalito and park the bikes at a public bike parking rack; happy to be off our bikes (especially my husband). We headed into the bar and had a beer and then ate at the Salsalito Taco Shop which is normally packed , but since it was Super Bowl Sunday the crowds were minimal and we were able to sit outside over looking the water! It was perfect. Sausalito is a cute town with shops and restaurants. My husband would not recommend biking! I would still say… Go for it! We then took the Ferry back to the city and dropped off our bikes to head up to the hotel! We had an early flight out so we stayed pretty mild and enjoyed our cocktail hour back at the hotel while watching the end of the Super Bowl.
We enjoyed everything about San Francisco (well my husband didn’t like the biking), we unfortunately didn’t have time to do everything and will have to make a trip back for wine country and the Redwoods, but if you only have 48 hours I think we hit some of the major highlights.
Thank you Inter continental Mark Hopkins Hotel for your hospitality and thank you Karl the Fog for your rude behavior!
Until next time!
Thanks again Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
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