A Teen View From San Francisco Part 1
*This post is done in partnership with Uber
Justin chiming in here today. It isn’t everyday that Nikola and I get a chance to go somewhere just the two of us. When the opportunity comes we try to make the most of it. We recently had a chance to head back up to San Francisco and Nikola and I decided to make it a little day trip together. Rather than me calling the shots I had Nikola point out some of his favorite spots from when we were there, and the nice thing was that being able to use Uber for our skipping around made things so much simpler to not have to worry about parking in the city. So, here is a brief look into some of the best places SF has to offer, especially from the eyes of a teenager.
North Beach/Little Italy
Almost immediately Nikola mentioned to head on over to Little Italy and you see why in just a moment. It was just a quick drive over from the airport and we were right in the middle of the activity of the neighborhood. Fortunately for us it was a nice clear day, a rarity this time of year, so we made the most of it.
Right away our first stop was to head over to Liguria Bakery. While it’s appearance may appear understated, this is actually one of the most popular spots for Italian Focaccia Bread in the whole city. Being family-owned and operated since its opening, Liguria Bakery sells all different varieties of focaccia, everything from mushroom, rosemary, to pizza style. Once you have a piece of one you will know why you want to get there early in the day. We arrived just about 11 am and they already had sold out of most of their varieties.
Nikola loves to read, so, our next stop was to head over to City Lights Booksellers. This is actually one of San Francisco’s most well-known book shops for its ties with history and the Poet’s revolution many years ago. When you go inside you can see clippings from that era where the store was proudly selling books that the government had deemed to be “banned books” at the time. Now you can be treated to wealth of literature and interesting writing, and downstairs is jam-packed with all varieties of children’s and teen literature.
Heading out after checking things out we made sure to stop by Z Cioccolato, a mini heaven of candy! What teenager wouldn’t want to be sure to stop by :), and finally landed at one of Nikola’s favorites for some lunch at Tony’s Napolitana and their Slice House to grab a couple of slices to go.
After a quick recharge from the Pizza we requested an Uber ride to go down the hill to Fisherman’s Wharf. There were a couple of places Nikola wanted to stop by. The first being Musée Mécanique, an arcade of classic and antique-style games. You will never find anything quite like it anywhere. Inside it is filled with all sorts of historical arcade/amusement park games. Try your strength at some of the strength machines, have your fortune told, or even play a little air hockey. They have it all and more to spare. Definitely worth the stop while you are in the area, and with most machines only requiring 1 quarter, a few dollars will get you plenty to have fun with.
Our next stop was to head over to the San Francisco Maritime Museum down at the Hyde St Pier, but first we made sure to grab a little shrimp cocktail from one of the street shops just outside Musée Mécanique. If you are looking for some tasty seafood, this is definitely a must stop section. We have always just purchased our selections from the street-side vendors, but if you want a more robust meal, the restaurants connected to the vendors offer plenty of delicious options. The other fun thing is hearing all the shop vendors calling out to each other saying whose food is best, all part of the fun of the area.
We got over to the Hyde St Pier, and here you can see and explore several historic ships that are maintained and preserved in the harbor. It’s a nice little stop and if you just want to take a look from the outside is completely free. You can also try your hand to see how the ship pulley systems work from some of the side exhibits in the area.
One other quick note, if riding a cable car is on your bucket list when you visit SF, this is definitely the spot to get on, rather than fighting the crowds in Union Square. All the cable cars stop at the end of Hyde street, which is at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, and there usually are much fewer people and shorter lines to get on.
Next on Nikola’s list was to request an uberX to go over to Marina for a few of his favorite stops. The first one being probably one of the best kept secrets in the city, and that is Les Marais Cafe and Bakery. Having been to Europe Nikola still loves coming here for some of the best tasting croissants you ever have. They also make some of the best cappuccinos you’ll find, so it’s a win/win all around. They now have another location over in the Castro district and soon a French-themed market, but I’ll cover those in another guide.
Coffee craving fixed, we made a quick stopover in Lucca’s to pick up one of the best sandwiches you can have made here in the city. Luckily for us the line wasn’t too big. The main event in the area for today though was definitely for the some Ice Cream. Nikola made sure we stopped into Smitten Ice Cream, where the ice cream is made right in front of you, quite literally using liquid nitrogen. It’s crazy to think that founder started just a few years ago selling her creation out of a wagon and it caught on fast. People love coming to get not only some tasty ice cream, but also because it’s probably some of the best ice cream with no added fillers of preservatives. Everything is made fresh right in front of you.
After the ice cream fix we had a little more time to spare before we needed to head back to catch our flight, so we requested another ride to drive a little further down to get to Crissy Fields. The objective: Rock Climbing! We also tried to go over the House of Air, which is filled with all sorts of trampolines for kids and adults, but they had their main portion closed. Still, though we found a cool timeline that shared some of the history of the area, so Nikola thought that was pretty neat as he hadn’t seen it before.
The main event though was to step in for a little rock wall climbing fun at Planet Granite. Being set up inside one of the old military warehouses, there is plenty of room for the many different climbing walls to choose from. Ever since he was a little kid, Nikola always loved finding places to climb, and Planet Granite is one of the funnest places to choose. If you are in the area and looking for some good climbing fun, it’s definitely worth coming a bit out of the way to check it out.
Well, as it always does, the time flew by and it was time to head back to the airport, so we requested our last Uber ride for the day and headed back to catch our flight. It’s really nice that we have the option to ride with Uber, especially when you travel. I still remember the times before when your only option was to either rent a car or grab a cab. This saves so much money and especially time. I still remember standing on corners in New York trying to flag cab after cab.
The other nice thing for Uber from their driver-partner standpoint is that they offer people a nice flexible way to earn money part-time. While riding with Uber I had the chance to talk with several of the driver-partners and one thing that they all shared in common was the flexibility and ease to earn some extra income while they work towards their goals. Many of them were in school working towards their degrees, or some where just starting out their careers and working their way up the corporate ladder. The app makes it easy to tip drivers that I have had a good experience with and give them a good rating, and if I ever have an issue, the Uber 24/7 support team is very responsive. I can handle everything right in the Uber App itself.
I hope you all enjoyed this quick little tour guide, and stay tuned for the next parts to come very soon!