California Dreaming

San Francisco

San Francisco had a little something for everyone.  Whether it was riding bikes around the city, wandering the Pier, visiting Alcatraz or heading over to Muir Woods, the city did not disappoint.


We decided to boycott Christmas in 2013 and travel to San Fran/ LA and Vegas instead.  Hands down, this was one of our most memorable trips to date.  Our first night we checked out the local nightlife and celebrated at a few Karaoke bars.  We felt right at home, everyone was so friendly and welcoming.  The one bar even let us bring in our own pizza since we all had missed dinner earlier in the evening.

Pier 39 is a non stop action packed place that anyone of any age can enjoy.  It looked especially beautiful during the holiday season as it had gorgeous Christmas decorations.  Despite the vast crowds, it was still easy to navigate the Pier without feeling overwhelmed.

The perfect weather definitely helped keep our energy going.  We wandered the Pier for the entire day, taking in the breathtaking views and shops along the way.  We were very eager to visit Alcatraz however, we didn’t purchase our tickets ahead of time.  My advice to anyone travelling to San Fran would be to purchase your tickets for Alcatraz well in advance.  It would be such a shame to miss out on seeing it.

Luckily, we decided we wanted to be true tourists and take a bus tour around the city.  Since we had limited time in the city we wanted to be sure we were maximizing our time to check everything out.  This tour did not disappoint.  We purchased our pass for the City Sightseeing Hop on Hop Off tour with the Alcatraz pass.

Our pass allowed us to visit Alcatraz during one of the morning tours.  We got to the Pier well in advance and took turns wandering around the Pier while waiting in the line.  We got to Alcatraz around 10:30am.  The sun was shining, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.


We also decided to take part in the audio tour while on the island.  This was certainly worth it.  We wandered the island for about 2.5-3 hours.  We were all ready to head back to land by then.


We got on the Hop on Hop Off bus and took it for a cruise around the city.  We sat at the top of the bus which was all open.  It ended up getting a little bit chilly along the drive but the sights were too great to pass up.

Riding over the Golden Gate bridge was so much fun.  The length of the bridge is incredible and the views from up top where amazing.


After going over the bridge we ventured over to Haight Street.  This was a lot of fun.  It looked like there were nice boutiques along this road as well.


We went back to the Pier and stumbled across a vintage arcade called Playland.  We spent a few hours in here taking pictures of the old games and testing a few out.  For the price of the games, this was well worth the stop!


We crammed a lot in during our short stay in San Francisco, we picked up our rental car and started our road trip to LA.  Before leaving SF, we took a quick tour past AT & T stadium and then took an impromptu trip back over the bridge to Sausalito.  After touring around we decided to go check out the Muir Woods.  The winding roads left me feeling a little bit car sick (which is very unlikely for me), but the journey was well worth it.  The woods were spectacular!


After this pit stop, we headed back on the road to begin our trek to LA.  We were all very excited to drive Highway 1, but we should have done a bit more research and figured out our timelines a little bit better.  Since we left later than expected we ended up driving Highway 1 in the pitch black.  This was terrifying!

We’re all able to look back and laugh on the drive now, but at the time it felt painful.  We couldn’t find a hotel if our lives depended on it…or if we were able to track down a motel they were all full.

Despite that glitch, we made it to LA safe and sound.  With only about 24 hours to spend in the city, we decided to quickly check into our hotel then wander the town.  We went to Universal Studios but were all pretty unimpressed by the park.  The line ups were outrageous, the park was way too overcrowded and the rides were few and far between.  I definitely wouldn’t return to this park again.  We stayed at the Roosevelt hotel.  The lobby was gorgeous but our room was horrible.  We opened the blinds to discover we had literally no view from our window.  We did get to see some piping outdoors though.  We requested to be switched from this room and they were unwilling to accommodate our request.  We wouldn’t return to this hotel again.

We were all excited to get on the road to Vegas after our disappointing stop in LA.


We had a blast finishing off the road trip and Vegas was amazing as always.  The city was full of energy and everyone was looking forward to having a good time.  We wandered the strip, played a view slots and enjoyed yard stick drinks at the one bar.


On New Years Eve, we went to Tao where they had snacks being passed around and free drinks until just before midnight.  We also got to enjoy a concert by Miguel at 12:00AM.

Vegas was a wonderful place to ring in the New Year!

Another successful trip for the books! Vegas NYE 13






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