Tag Archives: Cable Car Museum

San Francisco, Muir Woods, and Napa

That’s right. Three places in one day! #vacationoverachievers

Sunday was our last day in San Francisco. We had read about MyMy Coffee Shop online and were excited to go there for breakfast. We got to MyMy around 9:00 and there was already a long line of people waiting outside, which we all know means that the food has got to be good. Why else would people wait outside in the chilly San Francisco weather for over 30 minutes? We were seated (outside) within 30-45 minutes and soon ordered food. And by food, I mean a breakfast feast including zucchini pancakes, Tex-Mex and Frisco scrambles, lemon crab shrimp cake, and a Florentine version of eggs Benedict.

Sperry, feel free to sponsor our next family vacation. We're ready.

Sperry, feel free to sponsor our next family vacation. We’re ready.

After breakfast, we drove to the neighborhood right next to the Cable Car Museum. We gave each other about an hour to explore the neighborhood before meeting back at our car for our next stop. Chip and I went to the museum with my parents (which was like a toy store for my dad) while Alex and Teresa walked to Chinatown and Grace Cathedral before also checking out the Cable Car Museum. We had originally planned on then riding a cable car to lunch in North Beach but we were still full from breakfast and couldn’t handle another meal just yet. Since we had already ridden a cable car to the farmers market on Saturday, we decided to move on with our day and do a few more touristy sight-seeing before leaving the city.

Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

Dad figuring out the cable car brakes

Dad figuring out the cable car brakes

Neighborhood outside of the Cable Car Museum

Neighborhood outside of the Cable Car Museum

First up was driving down Lombard Street. It was a quick drive from the Cable Car Museum, but getting to actually drive down the street took some work since certain streets around it were closed off. After a few extra left turns, we finally took the steep drive down Lombard, complete with my dad waving his hand outside the window to get in any other tourists’ pictures (including one of mine!). After Lombard Street, we drove to see The Painted Ladies. Chip and I didn’t get to see these homes last time, so I was pretty excited that we were able to visit this neighborhood this time around. Chip was a little less than impressed by the homes and couldn’t even remember that these homes were the backdrop for the opening credits in Full House. How rude. Thankfully, he was impressed by the views the park had to offer.

View from the top of Lombard Street

View from the top of Lombard Street

Look, mom, no hands!

Look, mom, no hands!

The Painted Ladies (one was getting a little work done)

The Painted Ladies (one was getting a little work done)

Chip pretending to be amazed by the Painted Ladies

Chip pretending to be amazed by the Painted Ladies

All of us!

All of us!

City view

City view

Once we left the park, we set out to leave San Francisco and head to the Muir Woods. When my mom and I had started planning this trip back in the early spring, we thought it would be a lot of fun to drive up to the National Redwood Forest… until we looked at a map and saw it was five and a half hours away from San Francisco and we were aiming to be in Napa later Sunday evening for the rest of our vacation. Maybe another time, Redwoods. After reading one of my travel books, we decided to go to Muir Woods instead, which also has redwoods and walking trails, and is just a little over an hour away from Napa.

We hit some traffic on our way out of San Francisco to get on the Golden Gate Bridge, but we eventually made our way out to a lookout point and got some pictures with the iconic bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

City view

City view

Last time my parents were in San Francisco was 30 years ago. Can you say Miami Vice?

Last time my parents were in San Francisco was 30 years ago. Can you say Miami Vice?

Mom is missing the hairspray she wore in the 80s, but I'd say they've aged like a fine wine.

Mom is missing the hairspray she wore in the 80s, but I’d say they’ve aged like a fine wine.

The Lopez Family

The Lopez Family

It was just a little windy...

It was just a little windy…

We decided to stop for lunch before going to the Muir Woods so we wouldn’t be starving by the time we got to Napa, so after some quick map app searching, we stopped for lunch in Sausalito and then drove up to Muir Woods.

Muir Woods was a really unique experience. While there were a lot of people and tour groups there, it felt quiet and serene. We were all so blown away by how majestic the redwoods are and how they were so much taller than we could have anticipated. We walked around the trails for about an hour, but you could easily spend at least half a day there. Sorry for the crazy amount of pictures, but Muir Woods was beautiful. And if anyone has photography tips (I struggle with pictures in the shade/different lighting), please send them my way!

Chip humored me for a jumping picture...

Chip humored me for a jumping picture…

Trying to be tall like a tree

Trying to be tall like a tree

With the Muir Woods behind us, we kept driving north into Napa. My mom and I had found another rental home for us and this was one was perfect. It was just a few blocks away from Oxbow Public Market and in a quiet neighborhood. We quickly unload the car and then went to dinner at Zuzu. Out of all of the restaurants on this street, Zuzu was the only one with a wait, so we knew the food was going to be good. We all split a bunch of different tapas as well as some paella before calling it a night. More to come on our time in Napa!

San Francisco: Part Two

Thursday was our first full day in San Francisco. We had planned on having Thursday be our big exploring/walking day and wanted to check out the Financial District, Chinatown, the cable car museum, Russian Hill, and Nob Hill. Probably a little too ambitious in hindsight… this is usually my problem with a lot of things I plan.

We got Thursday started with breakfast at Mama’s after some reviews on Trip Advisor (of course) and some recommendations from our friends Jeff and Megan who went to San Francisco about a year ago. Mama’s was only about a mile and a half away from our hotel, so we thought it would be a lot of fun to walk to breakfast and enjoy the crisp weather, which was such a nice break from the Texas heat. We were so wrong about this being a relaxing walk. Like really really really wrong. It was just about a straight hike to breakfast thanks to those famous San Francisco hills; I’m pretty sure my Google maps app took us on the route that would work our glutes the most. After walking up a bunch of streets and climbing flights of stairs through a park, we eventually got to Mama’s to find a nice long line waiting outside.

Our view of the city while making our way to breakfast

Our view of the city while making our way to breakfast

Line for breakfast

Line for breakfast

Mama's

Mama’s

Put my new duck boots to good use

Put my new duck boots to good use

The view from Mama's

The view from Mama’s

The street to Mama's

The street to Mama’s

Lots of rave reviews

Lots of rave reviews

Waiting outside for breakfast

Waiting outside for breakfast

Thankfully we only had to wait about 25 minutes or so before we finally got in to order some food. In the meantime, we had shed our sweater layers and eventually cooled back down following our morning cardio hike. Once we got inside the restaurant, I ordered the Dungeness Crab Benedict and Chip got a scrambled egg plate. And since this was vacation, we ordered some French Toast to split, too. The food was good, especially that French Toast which turned out to be our favorite part. I liked my Crab Benedict plate, but to be totally honest, I preferred the one I had in Maine at our awesome bed and breakfast.

Just call us the plaid family

Just call us the plaid family

After breakfast, we walked over to Chinatown to take in the sights and sounds. It was pretty crazy and there were lots of tourists around!

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

We then walked to the cable car museum, which was a lot smaller than I had expected, but it was still pretty cool to see the giant cable pulleys that actually operate the cars. Unfortunately, I was starting to feel pretty crummy at this point in the day; I think we had just done too much that morning while I was still getting over that pesky cold, so we went through the museum pretty quickly before leaving to catch a cable car. I had read that the Powell-Hyde cable car had the best views, so we waited around a few blocks away from the museum until that car came by. We paid our $12 and hopped on! The conductor on the cable car saw us with our camera and gave us a great spot on the edge of the car so we could lean out and see the views of the streets as we drove by and even helped point out Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

The cable car pulleys at the museum

The cable car pulleys at the museum

View from the beginning of the ride

View from the beginning of the ride

View from the cable car

View from the cable car

Driving past Lombard Street

Driving past Lombard Street

If you look closely, you can see Alcatraz in the background

If you look closely, you can see Alcatraz in the background

The cable car took us to Fisherman’s Wharf so we spent some time walking around until I had to call it quits for the afternoon. I was pretty frustrated that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had to put a pause on our sightseeing, but I felt drained and clammy and knew some rest was needed. We took a quick cab ride to the hotel where I quickly passed out for three hours. If you know me well, you know I don’t really take naps very often at all and anything over 45 minutes is super long for me. So a three hour deep-sleep nap is pretty crazy. But I thankfully felt so much better when I woke up later in the afternoon!

We took a bus to North Beach where we would be having dinner at Cotogna. Since we didn’t get lunch earlier in the day because of my epic snoozefest, we were hungry and actually showed up at Cotogna a little before our 5:00 reservations and got started on a great dinner there. Cotogna was one of my favorite restaurants during our trip; I loved their take on rustic Italian food and also appreciated their very friendly staff who answered all of our questions about the menu written predominantly in Italian. Also, as a bit of a nerd, I liked how they encouraged people to Instagram pictures of their food with a certain hashtag. Way to know your audience, Cotogna.

Chip and I had a fancy ravioli appetizer and then split a delicious buffalo mozzerella margherita pizza. We finished dinner with a great gelato and then walked back over to Fisherman’s Wharf to explore a bit. We stopped by the Exploratorium gift shop and eventually walked down to Ghiradelli Square where we had some yummy after dinner drinks before calling it a day.

Cotogna

Cotogna

Can't have a great Italian dinner without some wine

Can’t have a great Italian dinner without some wine

Dinner time

Dinner time

We love pizza

We love pizza

Celebrating our two (and a half) year anniversary

Celebrating our two (and a half) year anniversary

Our view from Fisherman's Wharf

Our view from Fisherman’s Wharf

A cool mirror at the Exploratorium

A cool mirror at the Exploratorium

Exploratorium gift shop

Exploratorium gift shop

Having a childhood flashback to time spent at the Gem and Mineral Show

Having a childhood flashback to time spent at the Gem and Mineral Show

Chip really enjoyed the gift shop

Chip really enjoyed the gift shop

Ghiradelli Square

Ghiradelli Square

Chocolate cocktail and mojito to end the day

Chocolate cocktail and mojito to end the day

Stay tuned for our Friday spent in the wine country!