Travel Thursdays – Falling In Love With San Francisco
I 'm fortunate enough to work at a college where employees have spring break off as well. Living in Florida, it's nice to be able to escape the sunshine state when everyone else visits. Having friends in Los Angeles and Napa, I planned a nice little break from the Florida congestion. My 10 day trip to California started off in Los Angeles (Travel Thursdays - Los Angeles Calls, We Listen. ), then to Napa (look for a blog later in April) and then to San Francisco.
After visiting friends in Napa, it was time for me to head to San Francisco for a quick, but fun-filled weekend. I had been to San Francisco about 7 times before and have enjoyed my visits, but never fell in love with the city. My opinion was that it's a good place to visit, but I wouldn't hurry back. Would that change with this trip?
Our first stop in SF wasn’t even to check into our hotel, but to catch the 2:40 boat to Alcatraz. It's wise to purchase tickets weeks ahead of time for the tours do sell out, as I had found out on several of my previous trips. Since I had waited for my 8th trip to go to the prison, I decided to make my friend join me on the Behind The Scenes tour which combined A) special places in the prison otherwise unseen and B) the audio tour C) unique talks and D) the boat ride back to shore at night. It was a little over $80.00, but well worth the price. Our tour guide was about 5 foot negative 3 and full of information. She had actually interviewed some of the prisoners after they had left Alcatraz. We were able to see the garden area and spend a good amount of time in solitary confinement (even in the dark). It was well wort the money to learn all that we did, especially the personal stories of the prisoners, the escape attempts, and the Native American occupation in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The boat ride back from Alcatraz to the shore was one of the highlights I was looking for and it didn’t let me down.
Catching a ride back into the Castro area we reached our second stop, our room at Beck’s Motor Lodge. There’s no glamour here, its not a fancy B&B/hotel, but it has been redone from head to toe in the last few years. There is convenience, free parking, and great simple clean rooms. The pricing wasn’t bad either. We could have spent a little more on a room elsewhere, but with its positioning right on Market Street, just blocks from everything, it was hard to pass up. I would definitely stay here again.
I’m going to stop here for a second and say find a place for dinner. With the amount of drinking that may and will happen, you’re going to need some food in that belly. One slice of alligator pizza will not cut it. It was damn good, like a spicy sausage, but I needed more than that.
We started off at Midnight Sun, pretty fun and packed video bar with a couple of delicious go-go dancers and bartenders that served up a wonderful 2-4-1 happy hour. It’s hard to find a bar in Florida that carries Hornitos tequila so I was very happy when it didn't seem to be a problem in San Francisco.
Lone Star Saloon was our next haunt to purchase bevies at. Get a cupcake while you are here, but be warned, the gummy bears are pretty toxic. Head out to the back area for some great eye candy, fresh air, and some bumping and grinding as you move around the packed courtyard. Just stay away from the guy complaining all night about seeing his ex out and about. We saw him at Midnight Sun, chatted with him at Lone Star, and then again at our next stop, Hole in the wall.
I had to be reminded a couple of times as to what Hole in the Wall was (I had been a drinking just a little and I could still taste those gummy bears!), but once my friend said it’s the place with the stuff all over the ceiling, I remembered being there and watching a cute guy playing pool. It was eclectic and another fun bar.
We were going to end the night at the Eagle. I was preparing myself for an Eagle adventure, but I prepared wrong. That night, there were video games and projectors everywhere. With my phone dead and me just finishing a fight with my friend (yes, I said we were drinking and we’re both Aries) the stimulation of all those games was great. It looks like the Gaymer night in San Francisco is a traveling idea since it will be at The Lookout tomorrow. It was AMAZING! I want this to happen in Wilton Manors.
March is here!!
Join us for the latest Castro gaming extravaganza, featuring some great video game titles on Lookout's big screens, and return of some projected ones in the second bar, plus lots of Jenga!
(Don't forget to RSVP on our Facebook event page.)
BRINGING BACK JUST DANCE! Plus other great titles -- let us know if you want any of them: Street Fighter 5 is coming back at you!! Also we've got Super Smash Bros 4 Wii U, Ultra Street Fighter 4, and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. We also have other titles we never touch but can get going if you ask! Lots of Wii U stuff - Mario Kart, the Super Mario Series etc. Classic NES is joining the party too with 150 games to choose from! MAME Arcade classics too!
Saturday had us trying to recover from all the “everything” we drank. One of the great cures was the skillet breakfast served at Harvey’s (500 Castro and 18th). We ate it slow, hoping it would soak up anything left in our system, and then went back to the hotel to rest. I actually sat on the “patio” at Becks’s, did some blogging, and watched the street cars and boys go by.
After the rest, we took off for Mission Dolores Park. I could have stayed there all day watching the boys enjoy the views of the city. This is a must must must. Bring a blanket, some drinks, a cheese platter, whatever you want, but spend some time here relaxing and taking it all in.
We then decided to do some shopping and walking around town and trying on a variety of clothes, buying a couple while having fun with others.
Working up an appetite, we stopped into Hi Tops sports bar and restaurant and enjoyed the local fare. We recommend the fried chicken sandwich and the nachos with pulled pork. After that, we simply crossed the street and prepared for the night out.
Coco Peru was our dessert and she didn’t disappoint. Her show at Oasis was one of her bests, but they all truly are. I did want to throttle the drunk girls that truly did not understand the concept of listening and mirrored her “yas queen” piece to the T, which is not a compliment if you have seen her show. But drunk girls in a gay bar, I digress.
Coco, I apologize for not staying after and I would have loved to have finally met your husband. Please forgive me. I will see you again and you know that. You're amazing.
Hopping into our paid chariot, we shot across to Midnight Sun for a birthday party and to look at the go-go boys again. From there, we went to the 440 where I screwed the night up and met a hot Irish rugby player and things got NSFW. I sent my friends back to Beck’s and met up with them in the morning.
I never really loved San Francisco. As stated, I had been 7 times before and was satisfied with my vacations there, but then again, I could have been content staying at home. This trip was what I had needed. I needed to get away from Florida, from the spring breakers, from the heat, and enjoy just being there in San Francisco. With Alcatraz and Coco as my only plans, the rest just fell together and made me appreciate SF in a new way.
There will be a 9th visit and I am thinking soon. Thanks for your hospitality once again San Francisco, but this time, you made me a fan.