Every year we visit my husband’s family in San Francisco. We’ve already done a lot of the “obvious” tourist attractions and loved them. As great as they are, we don’t want to keep doing them over and over each year. So, we are always on the look out for new things that will make the whole family happy. This year I planned out a bunch of things for our long weekend. Well, we almost stuck to plan!
Our flight was leaving early in the morning so we got ready and woke Leah at the last minute. We kept her in her pajamas and went to the airport. At the last minute we decided not to check any bags and made it through security just fine. Once on board, we encountered a little maintenance issue that delayed us for an hour. Ugh, right? We’re also in the middle of potty training Leah so I was really worried about how we were going to manage. She was wearing a diaper but told me she had to go potty.
The flight attendant was sooo nice, she let us up and go into the first class lavatory. While we were waiting (yes, someone was already in there), she let Leah look into the cockpit and the pilots were very friendly and all their efforts made the delay bearable!
We finally left and arrived to my much hated SFO airport – guess what, it’s still not too family friendly but knowing what we were in for, we navigated it pretty well.
We rented the car and were on our way toward Berkley. We made it to the Cactus Taqueria. It was a cute place and the food was good! We headed to the Lawrence Hall of Science. We picked it for two reasons. We recently purchased a membership to the Philadelphia Please Touch Museum (which is great, more on that later) and included in our membership is admittance to museums throughout the US. The second reason is because it seemed to offer a variety of things for all ages, which is what we need with an 18, 12, and 2 year old.
Late Friday afternoon was a great time to visit — not crowded at all. The views from this site are awesome and worth the trip alone. The exhibits were interesting for all! It had a “well-used” look to it, if you know what I mean but was still fun.
Outside offered a little stream, which the kids could play in — some kids were even wearing rubber boots, which if you’re a local (or want to pack that stuff) is a great idea!! It was getting late so we didn’t make it to the Mocha Art Museum and went right to check in at the hotel, The Residence Inn.
That night, we went to my sister-in-law’s house for a homemade pasta dinner and then a short walk to the BEST ice cream place E V E R, Humphry Slocombe. You must visit this place!
Back to the hotel, a restful night, and then free breakfast. Our West Coast sleep plan for Leah was working (separate article to follow)!
We met the rest of the family at the Junior Zoo in Palo Alto.
We went to lunch at Pluto’s…for all you locals, I know it’s a chain but it was new for us. Also, Nicola (visit her at Twisty Noodle) recommended Philz Coffee House, which is very close…the suggestion came after we went but give it a try (we’re on it next year!).
We went back to the hotel for a quick rest before heading to our niece’s fifth birthday party. It was at one of those gymnastic places (way more professional than our local Little Gym) but my daughter still loved it, especially the trapeze!
That night, dinner at my brother-in-law’s house and then opening birthday presents (what’s more fun than that?).
Although I’ve been to San Francisco a number of times, each time I’ve been disappointed by the weather. It’s always been very chilly and rainy. This time, I’ve finally prepared myself for the not-so-great weather and guess what…it was BEAUTIFUL!!! Sunny and warm (I mean, warm for January!). We went out to Half Moon Beach. The kids took off their shoes, played in the sand, and put their feet in the water. My brother-in-law went surfing and then we had a great lunch at Sam’s Chowder House. The food was good, prices a bit high, but all worth it for the amazing views!
We planned to visit my best friend from high school. What we didn’t realize was she lived in Oakland but it all worked out for the best. My oldest son has a friend who lives there so we dropped him off. Then we stopped by the Mocha Museum that we missed from Friday. Unfortunately, we got there about five minutes before it closed so we really just got to go in and look around. This one might be tough for tourists since it seems very class focused so you’d have to know the schedule and be sure to get there in time (or at least more than five minutes before it closes!).
We then visited my friend and caught up on lots of good times. Somehow our spouses didn’t find our high school stories as funny as we did…go figure!
We checked out of our hotel for the next morning (after our free breakfast…I love it when the hotel has the make-your-own waffles – yum!). We headed to the airport and made it home by 8pm. It’s was a long day but a great end to our annual trip!