Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to hop on a plane and go somewhere for the day? I've always been curious, and living in California, there were some great viable options. After seeing some friends take a road trip to San Francisco, I took the liberty of finding some cheap tickets to San Francisco. It had to be a city that has great public transportation, and a nearby airport. San Francisco fit the bill perfectly.
Once I booked my $106 round-trip ticket, I was able to
con convince a few other friends to join me on this little adventure. My next challenge was figuring out what we were going to do there for the day. Since our returning flight was at 7pm, it really didn't leave us a lot of time to spend in the city. I wanted to see parts of San Francisco that I've never seen before, and when all my research was said and done, we decided on the following itinerary:
1) Sutro Baths and camera obscura (both in the Land's End area)
2) Baker Beach to get a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge - because you can't go to San Francisco without a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge!
3) The Castro district for lunch and to get a picture of the Castro Theatre
4) The painted ladies a.k.a. the "Full House" shot
5) The Peak Design flagship store (even though I didn't really need to buy anything)
6) City Hall (this was a bonus, because we originally were going to end it at the Castro District)
One thing I didn't take into consideration was how EARLY we'd have to get up in order to be at the airport on time. This day started off on a bad foot because our flight was already slated to be delayed by an hour (which meant an hour less in the city). I was pretty bummed, and already mentally took things off our already short list. Since the email from Spirit (yes, I know, I only have myself to blame) said that we should still arrive early enough according to the original departure time, this is what it looked like when we got close to LAX. (Side note: If you ever have to look for parking at LAX, Quick Park LAX has covered parking and allows parking for less than two days. Other parking lots wouldn't let me book anything less than two days).
I made a mental note of the view from Quick Park LAX. You can get a great iconic shot of LAX with the right lens from the structure.
This was the first of many dogs we would see. San Francisco is such a dog-friendly city, which I loved.
And we're off! The flight is about an hour. I found myself really liking the idea of a short flight. I'll be doing more research to find interesting places that are accessible by a 1-3 hour flight.
In case you're wondering - yes, the 20L Everyday Backpack fits Spirit's personal item requirement, and yes, it fits perfectly under the seat. Oh, and no, you don't get any drink service (unless you pay).
We flew into Oakland to minimize the possibility of a delay due to weather. OAK is such a cute little airport that is so easy to get in and out of.
We used a combination of the BART, busses, and Ubers/Lyfts to get around.
The first Uber we took was to Sutro Baths. I didn't think it'd take so long. However, when you factor in how SLOW this driver was going, and how BAD the elevator music was in his car, then yeah, I understand why it took so long (or at least felt like it!)
I loved this area. Even though there were clearly other tourists around, it was nowhere near as crazy as Pier 39 would be.
If you ever decide to visit Sutro Baths, I highly suggest googling its history or watching a few Youtube videos. It's such a cool place with an interesting history.
Love these trees!
We were treated to beautiful weather. People talk about the constant sunshine in SoCal, but honestly, I prefer the clouds and unpredictability of the bay area weather.
To the left of Sutro Baths is the Cliff House. I wish we had more time to explore there.
I kept imagining what that water in the pools would be like if you fell in. I imagine it's pretty gross.
I really wanted a different vantage point of the giant camera, but there was a chain link blocking my access to this vantage point. I bet if I went inside the Cliff House, I'd be able to get the shot I wanted. We had to limit our time at each spot though, unfortunately.
Next stop was Baker Beach! I really liked that an Uber driver can drop you off right next to the beach. If we had taken a bus, it would've taken us extra time to walk down towards the beach. FYI, if you are unaware, the closer you get to the Golden Gate Bridge, the more you'll realize you've walked into a nude beach. Just warning ya. 😏
It was mid-afternoon when we got to the Castro District. We were all really hungry, but couldn't go somewhere that would take too long.
After walking up and down the street, we settled for pizza. I don't remember the name of this place, or else I'd warn you to not eat there. The pizza was salty, and not very good.
My friend Laurie picked up some cookies from this place, and they were really good.
Next stop, the painted ladies. This was a short bus ride from the Castro district.
There were SO many people at Alamo Square Park enjoying the great weather. I had to cut them out of this picture LOL.
A short walk down the street from Alamo Square Park, and we found ourselves at the Peak Design Flagship store. I just kinda wanted to see it, and say I was there.
It was strange to look at all the bags and know I own or have owned all of them (except the messenger bag). I ended up walking out with an arca plate (to keep as a backup for my capture clip).
On my next trip, I'm coming back to this area. They had a lot of stores I wanted to check out, but there just wasn't time.
A short walk from Peak Design is City Hall. I was bummed we couldn't go inside since it was Saturday. Believe it or not, I've never been inside, but I've seen the beautiful photos of the inside. One day, I'll come back during the week!
This couple was having their photos taken outside, and I couldn't help but steal a shot of them. I've always thought it'd be so cool to shoot a couple in the city at the various iconic landmarks. Hit me up if you are that couple!😉
By the time we were done at City Hall, we made our way back to the airport. We thought we had time to spare since we were alerted that the return flight was delayed. So as we were all seated at Chili's eating our food, one of us (luckily) heard this announcement for our flight to board. We asked for our checks and I took my food to go. Man, Spirit Airlines sure does know how to damper someone's mood and time!
Back at LAX! I really enjoyed this day trip, but I won't lie. It was a lot of planning to make sure we stayed on schedule. It also made me aware of the time constantly, because missing our flight would've been a bad thing. Because of this, I was never able to fully relax. However, I did get to see a few places that were new to me, and I always enjoy a good photo walk. Speaking of walking, I was pretty sore for two days from all the hills. I was glad to be back in the land of flat ground at the end of the day.
Some things I learned from doing this:
1) Try to book a flight that returns as late as possible. It just wasn't available on Spirit at the time of our booking. A late return gives you more time to explore.
2) Wear comfortable shoes. Luckily, I did this!
3) Bring a few snacks in your bag. When you're on the go, sometimes it's tough to find a convenient place to get a snack. We found a little market on our way to City Hall, and let's just say I enjoyed that Cadbury bar once I got home. 😉