Just got home from our trips to San Francisco and Denver and it feels so good to be home. If I do not see an airplane (..or museum!) for a while, I will be good. My husband had to go to Denver’s science museum for work, but added in San Francisco to bid adieu to an important exhibit he worked on. New Cities? No kids? I AM THERE. ;p
San Francisco. What an amazing city; a new one for me. Though, I drove through only to go over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County on a stop before heading overseas years ago. So, I have never actually stayed or played in San Fran. This trip we stayed at a boutiquey hotel on the cusp of Chinatown; the Triton Hotel, a Kimpton. Which we always love Kimpton’s cause of their quirky colorful interior design. The location was perfect, and San Francisco was amazing. I can only describe it as a hilly version of Boston on steroids mixed with a New Zealand community vibe. The views from all around were just beautiful. Even in the most remote spots, you could look around and find peaks of water at the ends of these massive hills. So picturesque. Wherever we walked, and we walked a ton, it was a buzz with super friendly people, too.
DAY 1 – As soon as we landed, we ate at a local bar spot on Mason that I liked a tremendous amount, the Mikkeller Bar. If you ever go, get the l’il smokies, you won’t regret it! We all had a great time. We all were my husband, two of his colleagues and myself. As soon as we got there, we had to make a mad dash to a cocktail party in Pacific Heights. Holy mega money up in that area! The houses were absolutely spectacular. The woman we were meeting with was a former Lucas Film/Pixar colleague. I believe she worked directly for George Lucas at LF (not as an assistant but in their marketing department or something). She worked with the Museum of Science’s creators 8 years ago on Star Wars, Where Science Meets Imagination. I had only met her briefly then, I think. Who remembers who I met then cause it was a big blur of pregnant brain (me) and super star exhibit designer (my husband) taking pregnant brain everywhere. I remember meeting Anthony Daniels..but I had already had our baby by then! heh. But I digress… What a sweet woman she is, and she hosted us to a nice evening of story telling, champagne, apps, and views around the city I am still reeling over. She had this view of the bay from her roof deck that would make anyone envious! The views spanned from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way over to Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge. Arg! Amazing.
Kick ass way to start off San Fran don’t you think? (see why I had a hard time coming home!?)
DAY 2– The second day in the city we all grabbed breakfast locally then walked through Chinatown. I love most cities’ Chinatown, but HOLY CRAP San Fran’s was so great! We window shopped and saw things only seen in Chinatown ..like an elderly man in a suit writing graffiti. So fantastic. Then we walked through their red light district down to the water to check out the Exploratorium. I had to mention the red light district cause it was hilariously awesome, and if you can walk through you must during the day, too. Or night, if that is your thing.
The Exploratorium recently moved to a pier along the water, and is the talk of the science museum world. We met with one of our colleague’s former interns who worked there. She was super sweet and took us on a tour..and got me in for free! heh. The museum had an industrialized feel with an expansive main hall; it was all a bit chaotic for me with the amount of people inside. We got a private tour of their exhibit’s shop, which was pretty cool. Then we spent the rest of the time to venturing through on our own and walking the dockside. What a view! Holy San Francisco! (my tag line this trip)
Then afterward my husband and I branched off from our group to spend the rest of the afternoon walking the city. HOLY SAN FRANCISCO WALKING! First, we headed toward Pier 39; I think the Exploratorium is Pier 15 or something. We walked through the shops of insanity, then we stumbled upon a nook where a raft of sea lions were hanging out. It was amazing! In the midst of all this city and people there was solace for wildlife. They were so sweet barking all over the place while basking in the sun. I was slightly envious. heh
This whole area is highly trafficked by tourists, which I need to mention was on my list of things to do in San Fran… BE A TOURIST. We had a blast. Then we visited the Musée Mécanique for some old school arcade fun. This place looks shady, and it does have a lot of spooky looking mechanical toys/game, but is so much fun. It is filled with real vintage penny machines, pinball machines, old timey peep shows, and photo booths. There were some so vintage we were afraid to touch them. We spent a while in there just tooling around.
Then we moved onto Fisherman’s Wharf. We ducked off the path to this great fish restaurant, Scoma’s, to enjoy some apps and wine overlooking the water. Right from there we took a walk along the water then headed towards Ghirardelli Marketplace. The marketplace is literally dedicated to the chocolate company that there are two venues where they have chocolates and a sundae shop set up..that were both PACKED! Insanity, but so yummy. After we hit this place up we walked a lot to Lombard Street, the crookedest street. It was fun to see, but one of those things where the hype is better than the reality..know what I mean? But, I am real glad we walked all that way to check it out.
That night we all got back together for dinner at the Tadich Grill. A vintage seafood restaurant that hasn’t lost a beat with food, drinks or service. They do not take reservations! But we got so lucky to score four seats at the bar, which made our night fun. The food was amazing, the waiter we had was awesome, and I left there wanting to go back again. The waiter was the most fun for me though. Super old guy, whom we coined as Roger Sterling’s older brother. He had the New York accent, perfectly coiffed silver hair, that snarky sarcasm, and he had me laughing.. and swooning. haha I am so kidding!
Day 3– This was the big event of the trip. Rent a car, grab our Lucas Film friend and head down to San Jose’s Tech Museum. Why? To walk through Star Wars and say goodbye, as it was the exhibit’s last day. I wrote about it here. Also, here are some more pics aside from the San Jose portion.
I felt so at home in San Francisco, it really was hard for me to let it go.
Day 4– We parted ways with our museum family to hop on a plane for Denver. My first time ever in Colorado. Big bummer is that it was only for one full day. We spent our one night at the Hyatt, which was right in the university area over by the convention center. We scored big time with some nightlife near the university. The best thing about traveling with my husband is that he researches every thing before hand, he knows what I like or I tell him a few details of where we are going, so all I have to do is show up and have fun. He.is.awesome. We walked shopped, dined and drank, and had a blast. We talked a lot of the San Fran part of the trip cause we both had so much fun. 😦
Day 5– We explored the Denver science museum for the Maya Exhibit the morning of our departure, the whole reason for my husband’s trip. He had to work with the designer there as the Boston Museum of Science will be acquiring the exhibit soon. It was huge, and though interesting, I was museumed out at this time. So I spent most of it perusing the exhibit, watching my husband talk, take photos and surveying the whole space for hours. Hours. But it flew, and we got to spend some time going through the rest of the museum together. What a museum, too. It was a great mix of education and Disneyesque learning. What I mean is that they had this huge space to work with to build up the exhibits into an experience rather than just labels and artifacts.
Though our stay in Denver was short, I was left with a great vibe of their downtown and hope to get the chance to go back again. That goes for San Francisco for that matter.
Great trip. 🙂