In a prior post, I mentioned that I was visiting Toronto for few weeks. It’s a rather odd stopover since I came from the West Coast, which is closer to my final destination, yet I traveled East. But I’m having a great time. Although it’s been raining, I’ve still been able to explore the nearby neighborhoods. (I’ll go farther out when I’m guaranteed more sunlight.)
First impressions from someone spoiled by coming from the San Francisco Bay Area:
Toronto’s spring feels like San Francisco’s winter.
Public transportation is still reliable even as you venture away from downtown. (I’m guessing this is an East Coast/non-Californian thing altogether. California is definitely a driving state.)
Independent bookstores are harder to find here, but there are a lot of vinyl record stores around.
The roads are flat (and I’m very thankful for this). I have yet to find a place that makes climbing San Francisco’s steep hills feel easy peasy.
So what have I been doing these past weeks?
I’ve been visiting coffee and tea shops. I actually have a pretty long list of coffee and tea shops to visit—I have gone to 13 of my (still growing) list of 28 coffee and tea shops. Because of this list, I’ve been able to visit different neighborhoods, my current favorites being King West and Kensington Market. I’ve also gone to museums: I viewed the Impression in the Age of Industry exhibit at AGO before it ended; and I visited Casa Loma out of curiosity. I’m waiting for the sun to shine more, and then I’ll explore the beaches and visit some wineries.
Oh, and I’ve been reading, too. My sister suggested I read up on Canadian literature, and I’m honestly surprised I hadn’t thought about it sooner. I binge-watched Kim’s Convenience on (thank you, Netflix) some incredibly cold and rainy days, and I’m about halfway through a nonfiction book I committed myself to reading. OK, next week it’s back to the bookstores!
This is the final entry for If you’re going to San Francisco (see Part 1 and Part 2).
I always think it’s such a waste when people don’t see what actually make San Francisco worthwhile: the local spots. San Francisco isn’t just the City by the Bay; it is also a city known for its openness and revolutionary thinking. You can’t put San Francisco in a box. Or you can try.
Day 3: The Neighborhoods
Obviously, San Francisco is home to different kinds of people, and the city has so many neighborhoods with their own sub-cultures. Here are the places I would recommend if you only had a day left in San Francisco.
In Part 1, I pointed out attractions that are usually on people’s checklists. If you noticed the Golden Gate Bridge wasn’t mentioned there, well, good for you. Your visit to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without seeing that beautiful bridge, and I talk about it in this post.
So let’s do this.
Day 2: All of the Views
If you decided to rent a car, this would be the day to use it. If not, you can use public transportation or order an Uber or Lyft because these locations are far out. Make sure to bring a jacket—it gets windy out there.
It turns out I’m not yet done saying goodbye to San Francisco. Partly inspired by recommendation requests from friends who are planning trips with their families this year, I decided to compile a list of attractions to visit in San Francisco. This will be a three-part series, a post for each day someone would be touring San Francisco. (Most people I know are only ever in the city for three to four days, so I figured three was a fair number of days to use.)
Well, San Francisco is a small city, so that’s fine. It’s a 7 x 7 (in miles, because US still uses imperial system of measurement) area, with neighborhoods changing every few blocks. Of course, you’d have to live in the city to truly experience what it has to offer, but I believe this should work for people with jam-packed itineraries.
Day 1: Tourist spots and Steep Hills
As a visitor to San Francisco, don’t shy away from those landmarks you keep seeing in pictures. If you can avoid going on a weekend, that would be great. These spots get crowded, so if you want to limit your photo bombers, it’s best to visit on weekdays. If you have no choice in the matter, well, prepare yourself for people, people, people galore because they will be everywhere.
This move is quite bittersweet. I’ve made great memories in the short amount of time I’ve lived in this neighborhood, but I am also incredibly excited for the future. And so, here is my tribute to NoPa, the awesome neighborhood that I was blessed to call home, at least for a short while.
NoPa, short for North of Panhandle, is in the middle of the city and close to pretty much everything. For the most part, everything is walk-able from this neighborhood. That is until you account for the hills. That said, here are my favorite hill-free, low-incline spots in or near NoPa.