The plan for our free day in San Francisco was to visit Alcatraz, luckily we booked our tickets in advance. We also had an included walking tour of San Francisco that we could do before our Alcatraz booking. Some of the group decided not to go on this tour, however, three of us did and it was really good. I am so glad I went, we saw lots of things that we wouldn’t have done ourselves.
We arrived in San Francisco and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge on Day 24, read here.
*On May 29th 2019, I travelled with Trek America on their Grand Trek tour for six weeks around the USA. We began in New York, travelling south to the West Coast, then North back to the East Coast. I am not affiliated with Trek America. Read all my Trek America posts here. *
San Francisco Walking Tour
We started the day fairly early, walking to our meeting point where we would meet our guide for the tour. He was surprised there was only three of us from our whole group, however, I think this tour ended up being better than expected because of the small group size. He had a wealth of information about San Francisco and always took time to answer our questions.
We began the tour in union square and then made our way to Dragon’s Gate, which marks the entrance of Chinatown. I love how San Francisco has all of these different districts and it feels like you could be in a different country entirely. San Francisco China Town is one of the oldest and most established in the US.
Tin How Temple
Next stop we visited Tin How Temple, one of the oldest still operating Chinese temples in the USA. If you wish you can have your fortune told, you think of a question that you wish to know the answer to and then follow this process:
Devotees who need advise will use the divinity sticks held in a container. The devotee shakes the container till one of the divinity sticks drop into the floor. This divinity stick has a number and is exchanged for a slip of paper with the corresponding number. The answer or advice to the devotee’s problem can be found in the story or poetry printed on the paper.Chinatownology.com -Tin How Temple
This really shocked me because what she told me was weirdly accurate to the question I had thought of. The experience overall was really good because it was authentic.
We then went to a place where they were making fortune cookies, we even got to sample some. You could have some of them made and/or purchase some there also.
Next, our leader took us to a Dim Sum restaurant. After visiting Ping Pong Dim Sum in London a couple of years ago, I was intrigued to see if Dim Sum in Chinatown was any different. This particular place we went to was so cheap. You can get a BBQ Pork Bun for $1! We also shared some other dumplings with our tour guide. So tasty, this is somewhere I definitely wouldn’t have gone in on my own accord. These experiences made the tour so worthwhile going on!
Hot Chocolate & Truffle in the Italian District
We had a fair few stops on the tour where our leader would tell us information then we would have some time to look around and we could take pictures etc. After Chinatown we took a walk to the Italian District. We stopped by XOX Truffles, if you purchase a hot drink you get a free truffle. Our leader said the hot chocolate was really good and they make it with real chocolate so I went for this. Even though it was a really hot day, the hot chocolate was so delicious.
In order to get to Lombard Street we had to walk up a pretty steep street. Something you just have to do when in San Francisco. It’s hard work – you don’t need a gym membership if you live here haha! Lombard Street was more beautiful than I even expected. Be prepared though, there are tourists everywhere.
We walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf where our leader would be leaving us. He pointed us in the direction of the Alcatraz pier where we needed to go to board. We said thank you and goodbye and took a slow walk over to the pier. San Francisco is a beautiful, diverse city, it has something for everyone. It would be so cool to live here.
If you visit San Francisco, make sure you book your Alcatraz tickets far enough in advance – they sell out quick! For me, this is something that I really wanted to do whilst in San Francisco.
The good thing about this visit was that it is an Audio Tour, which means you can walk around at your own leisure and spend as much time as you like at each area.
An optional activity for the evening was a Sunset Catamaran Cruise. The views were amazing, a really great way to see the city and the golden gate bridge from a different view point. We found that it was breezy so come prepared! They do provide jackets if you don’t have one.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding Trek America or the places we visited 🙂