PHOTOS: The Weekender | Soaking up San Fran Pt II

Golden Gate Bridge 

San Francisco’s Sunday afternoon sun luckily decided to shoo away the morning’s gray dreariness and make its late appearance. Alas, cooperative weather meant it was finally time to get down with the GGB!

As we drew near the Golden Gate Bridge (in case you didn’t catch on to her nickname), I could finally see it in full, and all I could do was stare at how cool it looked. There are lots of viewpoints you can choose from to see the Bridge; we went with a site called Fort Point because of its proximity to it -- right underneath -- and for the ability to capture all sorts of really nice angles.

I can see how some people would be content with seeing the Golden Gate, posing for the “proof I was there” photo, and moving on to whatever’s next. I mean, it is...just...a bridge...and there’s not too much else you can do if you’re not walking, biking, or driving across it. Sort of like that one time I casually (but nearly starstruck) stood only an arm's length away from Rihanna. I mean yeah, no big deal, she’s a human like me. But then it’s like, this is a world icon we’re talking about here.

Random. I probably just wanted to bring up that day with Rihanna. But yeah. That’s how I felt being right at the location of a world renowned landmark. I used to see it just about every single day of my childhood on TV -- I loved me some Full House -- so to actually be there viewing it for myself so close, was so awesome! Te and I spent at least an hour simply admiring the rustic orange supports and remarkable architecture of it, from both outside and inside the grounds of Fort Point.

From here on out is where we dialed up our “we-think-we-are-real-photographers” steez and started going in with the shots, boy.

We were surprised to see a bunch of surfers catching waves right there so close to the rocks -- it wasn’t even a beach location. However, the waves were decent, and I know it must be a little more exhilarating to surf with wow-factor scenes like the GGB, Alcatraz island, mountains on both sides of the bridge, and the metropolitan landscape of the city at your viewing pleasure.

Surfing under Golden Gate

Downtown San Francisco view from Fort Point

Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification that was built before the Civil War to protect San Francisco from hostile enemies. We ventured inside and up its 3 flights to the roof to get even more shots of SF's gems. The views inside the Fort and from on top of it were incredible. Especially thanks to natural lighting, it made for a very dope photographic muse. (Shoutout to my co-shooter!)

Ft. Point underneath the Golden Gate Bridge

Inside Fort Point

On Ft. Point's rooftop w/ San Fran behind me

Hey Goldie

We said goodbye to the beautiful Golden Gate so we could make our way to the next nearby must-see while we still had some daylight.

Up next was The Palace of Fine Arts.

This Palace, originally built in 1915, holds fine art exhibits and is now a popular wedding and photo shoot venue. I would totally get married here if I were an SF resident. It's absolutely gorgeous! There were actually three photoshoots going on during our visit -- one maternity shoot, one newly engaged couple, and another young lady who looked absolutely fabulous in head to toe 'roaring 20's' makeup and dress. I wish I could see how her pictures turned out, because she was serving her photographer life!

In fact, we saw plenty of photoshoots occurring throughout the weekend as we made our way to various tourist attractions. San Francisco really does have many dazzling gems & backdrops.

I didn't do much research about this Fine Arts Theater's history, but again, I was amazed by it. The building's details, the lighting, the way it reflected in the pond -- it's beyond regal. I would have thought I was in Italy or somewhere far off if I hadn't known any better.

Being a rebel at the Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts at dusk, with its magnificent reflection

Later that night, we stumbled upon a bar in the Mission District called Casanova. Its quirky but seductive decor/art set the stage for a very enjoyable atmosphere. It was a nice bar with sultry vibes, good drinks, and inviting music -- Casanova gets a thumbs up from me.

Casanova Bar

Not a fan of vodka, but I think Absolut's special edition city bottles are so cute

We had one more morning and afternoon to soak up whatever last droplets we could before heading on a long ride back to LA.

I knew I wanted to see "The World's Most Crooked Street," and I also knew I wanted to feel a little authentic and true to San Francisco by riding a trolley. Luckily, the cable car's Powell-Hyde line started a few blocks from our hotel, and it would take us just where we wanted to go.

The trolley ride lasted about 20 perfect minutes. We breezily rolled up and down SF's hills feeling like kids on a baby roller coaster, enjoying the sights as we passed by streets that looked out into the Bay, and countless beautiful townhouses and shops. I noticed the prominence of mom and pop stores of every type throughout the entire city. It was refreshing to see small local businesses a lot more often than typical chain establishments.

Right before catching a trolley ride from downtown

End of the trolley line

Crooked Street / Lombard Street - the world's most winding street. This view was sick!

The Sutro Bath Ruins was the final attraction on our self-guided San Fran tour. This breathtaking oasis was a superb finale...

I may have never known about this site had I not did a quick search on -- one of my travel planning favs -- for the best things to see in SF. In order to preserve the element of surprise, I trusted all the “must visit” reviews it garnered without looking too much into what exactly awaited us in the Sutro District.

As we rode to the western side of the city, we passed more jaw dropping views of the Golden Gate and Sea Cliff neighborhood that had my heart yearning already for another trip North for more time to explore.

We reached Sutro and were absolutely blown away before we even hopped out of our Uber. The view of the vast ocean beyond the palisades and incredible cliff. The never ending beach to our left below with its shallow waves rolling ashore. The ruins of what seemed to be an epic pool house many moons ago... They all seized me.

View of Seaside Cliff while riding to the Sutro Disctrict

Sutro Bath Ruins

Helloooooo down there

Got buns?

I live for this kind of awesomeness.

Surreal + Serene

Ahhh… the weekend in San Frizzy was good to me (blame my dad for the occasional corny lingo I inherited). The city of all things eccentric has many layers; I shall take on the Bay again sometime to peel back another. Next time, I want to get into some of the art galleries that seem to live on every downtown block, visit its famous hippie neighborhoods, and uncover some more of its hidden gems!

ICYMI:      Soaking up San Fran Pt. 1     -     Celebrating 24 | From San Francisco to Santa Monica

Which San Francisco sites (pictured here or in general) seem most appealing to you? If you've been...let me know any places I must check out next time I visit!

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Kristen Noelle

I consider myself a softly eccentric urbanista. I’m quiet by nature, and I’ve generally always had a mellow laid-back vibe. However, when it comes to my preferences for fun, my style, and my overall thought process, I get a bit more eccentric. I like stepping out of the box of normalcy -- but without forcing anything. I’m a thrill junkie and I live for things that get my adrenaline pumping, such as riding on top of party buses in New York City and hanging off of skyscrapers in Vegas. I spring for bold hues, colorful prints and patterns, and a relaxed look that gives effortless-chic. I like exploring new places and capturing exciting sites. I’m a creative, with a million different ideas running through my mind each day. Whether I’m designing waistbeads, imagining up new clothing concepts, envisioning my next business venture, or planning my next adventure abroad, I’m always thinking of how I can create something great. Being raised in the suburbs but not far from the city and constantly traveling, I developed a love for the best of worlds. The calm and the crazy. The easy-going and the always-buzzing. The soft and the eccentric.