During our whirlwind trip to San Francisco over the past two days we did find about 8 hours to explore the area before having to return to the airport for our return trip. While we would have liked to explore the area more, we had limited time to fit this trip in between days of work back in Florida.
Our first stop was at In-n-Out Burger for lunch. For anyone who has not had In-n-Out before, it seemed pretty equal to Steak-n-Shake, except I found it to have a much smaller menu than Steak-n-Shake. Small menu or not, we enjoyed our lunch at an outside table before moving along to our next stop.
From there we ventured further North to It’s-It Ice Cream shop. Their claim to fame since 1928 has been an ice cream sandwich with 2 crispy oatmeal cookies and one of many flavors of ice cream that has all been dipped in dark chocolate to create a shell. Bug chose pumpkin, Pie chose mint, and I chose strawberry. Heather decided to simply sample all three of ours.
Our next stop was the Golden Gate Bridge! We stopped at the visitor center and while they do not have an official Junior Ranger program, one of the rangers was more than willing to lead us around on a guided tour of the artifacts and displays around the visitor center. At the conclusion of our personal tour the kids received Junior Rangers badges, however they were not specific to the Golden Gate Bridge, but rather a generic wooden Junior Ranger badge. We also visited some outdoor displays around the grounds that showed how the bridge is engineered to withstand earthquakes. We finished our visit to the Golden Gate Bridge by driving across it and back.
Our final stop before the airport was at the Fisherman’s Wharf and the piers along the San Francisco bay. There were plenty of shops to explore, including one nautical shop that I really enjoyed. There were eateries with fresh-catch seafood as well as a few tap rooms. We strolled the piers a bit looking at the fishing boats and walked out the Aquatic Park Pier. From the end of the pier we were as close as we could get to Alcatraz without actually taking a boat to the island. If we had had more time we may have ventured out to Alcatraz, but there simply was not enough time this trip. The kids enjoyed some free time running around the grass at the Maritime National Historic Park before heading to dinner.
For dinner we had some very good soup, salad, and sandwiches at Boudin Sourdough Bread Company. The kids opted for pizzas atop sourdough crust. The bread is baked on site, and one can observe the bakery through a 30-foot long observation window. We also found it neat to watch baskets of fresh bread cruise along a track affixed to the ceiling on their way to different areas of their building. Along the observation window they had a 7-foot alligator made entirely of sourdough bread.
After dinner it was time to return to the airport and fly back to Florida. It was a quick trip, but a fun one, and once we are settled in San Diego, San Francisco will be within driving distance for future explorations of the area.