Happy new year! (Albeit I’m not much of a believer of this concept that man created LOL). It’s been a while since I posted anything because we’ve taken some time the last holiday to travel around. I realized I’ve been so deep in my other passion, motorcycling that I had forgotten my other passions and dreams: traveling. I’ve always loved to travel thanks to my parents who had always taken me and my siblings around the globe when we were kids through our teenage years. It was unfortunate that when we all grew up, we sort of ran out of time to continue that passion. It ended up taking a backseat until recently I started to realize that I’ve been telling myself to travel more every year but haven’t done so in the last 15 years. So I decided it’s about time I put my words to action and booked a trip to up north for Christmas and then the following week we were headed to New York for new years.
With these two trips for planned for the winter holidays, there was plenty of lessons learned. Our first trip was to San Francisco! We ended up spending 4 nights and 3 days there for Christmas weekend. I booked a midnight flight that boarded at 11:30PM and got to San Francisco at 1:00AM and an Airbnb room at an apartment because most of San Francisco is a crowded city area rather than spacious suburbs. First and foremost, duly remember to always go to airport early, for Christmas the traffic within LAX was insane! The drive to LAX wasn’t bad at all, rather only took about 30 minutes, but once we got to LAX we sat in traffic for over an hour before we got to our terminal. Good thing we left at 8:00PM, got to LAX at 8:30PM, didn’t get to the terminal until 9:40PM. Plenty of time to spare. 🙂
Although it was utterly unfortunate that our flight got delayed for over an hour because the pilot of our flight was nowhere to be seen (he was flying in from Orlando, Florida and hadn’t landed yet). Finally we departed at 12:30AM (original departure was 11:30PM). Once we landed we found out that San Francisco subways closed at midnight and didn’t restart until 4:00AM, fuck. Lesson two: remember to always check on transportation times before arriving! Don’t assume it’s 24/7! After walking around and riding the AirTrain to around SFO, we decided to take a Lyft to our Airbnb instead. There was no other option.
We arrived at our Airbnb stay and this is where I learned lesson three: Always triple check with your Airbnb host a few days before arrival. I had double checked with the original Airbnb host informing him of our landing time and wanted to make sure that we could check in early/late (depending on how you count night times) when we arrived at 2:00AM before I booked the place. He reassured me that we could and so booked the place, but later I find out that the host wasn’t even home rather he had left everything to his roommate, Matthew, to handle. He hadn’t told Matthew that we were coming in early so we were left with nowhere to sleep Saturday early morning. We ended up walking around for an hour to three different hotels that apologized and told us they were either closed or sold out. By the third one I was absolutely devastated and on the brink of tears, not to mention it was 30 degrees.
VERY luckily we eventually found Kabuki Hotel. We heaved ourselves to the front desk and was thrilled to find out that they still had a room available for walk-ins. For the record, Kabuki Hotel was AMAZING. Check my Yelp for a review of this place as well as photos! The start of our trip was definitely rough. We showered in their amazing hot watered bathroom and knocked out for the night. The next morning our plan was to hit what was supposedly the first dim sum house of America, Hang Ah Dim Sum House in Chinatown! Not before wandering around Japantown first, might I add it was my favorite city in San Fran. The residents were surprisingly mostly immigrant Japanese families from older generations of Japanese grandmothers, grandfathers varying to Japanese millennials. The city was clean and quiet, none of the residences weren’t obnoxious and always used indoor voices. Everybody went about their business quietly. I loved it.
After we checked in at our Airbnb we learned that you can take Lyft Line for half the price fare, although you’d end up sharing a ride with other Lyfters. It’ll make it cheaper to travel around, albeit I still suggest using public transport like the bus for even cheaper transport if budgeting is something you’re worried about. I will leave blog posts about the main popular places that we dined at that way I don’t make this one too long. Lol. After we ate brunch at Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House, we walked around Chinatown and even tried the sister branches of Ten Ren’s Tea Time. Then we made our way to Union Square where the place was decorated with a huge Christmas tree and skating rink. There were a plethora of shoppers there and traffic was INSANE as well. LOL. Thank goodness we walked everywhere when we were there. We ended our Saturday with the Painted Ladies then grabbed dinner at Shabusen and a drink at Boba Guys!
The following Sunday we made it our adventure day, started our morning early by waking up at 7:30AM and leaving the house by 8:00AM. We brunched at a famed place called Mama’s on Washington Square that many people raved about which I will also leave a blog post about the details later on. After we went to Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Lyon Street, Golden Gate Bridge, 16th Ave Tiled Steps, Twin Peaks, and finally ended our Saturday with night time at Union Square and getting dinner at Super Duper Burgers (recommended by our Lyft driver from Los Angeles that lived in SF)!
Christmas day we went to Fisherman’s Warf then scheduled a ferry ride around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. It was super fun getting to see San Fran from the ocean. 🙂 We then headed back to Chinatown to see a friend and grab lunch with him at Hanlin Tea House. We ended our trip in SF with Ghirardelli Square where we got to see them making chocolate and their shop and cafe that had a 2 hour wait line. LOL. I definitely loved seeing the vast variety of chocolate that was sold at the Ghirardelli chocolate shop and how pretty everything was wrapped up!
We were able to see all the sites that we wanted to visit and also got to see friends that lived up there, leaving us plenty of time to get to our flight on Christmas night. Visit our video to checkout all the sites that we went to! 🙂