The city by the bay – San Francisco (California, USA)

After spending 3 days in San Jose for my clients workshop, stopping in San Francisco before we went back home was what we needed.  When one thinks of the iconic symbols of San Francisco, the following come to mind -The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Cable cars and the houses from Full House (yes I grew in that era) known as the Painted Ladies.

San Francisco is the fourth-most populous city in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose, and the 13th-most populous city in the United States. – source wikipedia

Where we stayed?

Our accommodation was booked at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, we wanted a hotel that was centrally located and could give us access easy to the city’s attractions. The hotel lobby is a constant buzz, when entering for the 1st time, one would think they were entering a busy mall.

The staff were welcoming and after our awful experience at the Hilton Hotel in San Jose, it was truly refreshing to arrive at a hotel and have no issues with our booking. Things worked out so well, I even scored a room upgrade and stayed in the Deluxe Suite. The room was overkill for me, I felt lost but enjoyed the space and the magnificent views of the city.

City views from my room

The room has living/sitting area, equipped with flat-screen TVs, high-speed Internet a mini kitchen with minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom was ok, for the size of the room they could have used the space better and has a bathroom that has a stand-alone shower not inside a bath. I’m not a fan of bath shower with shower curtains.


Hotel facilities and amenities

Spa, fitness centre, business centre, barber shop, hair salon, free Wi-Fi in the lobby, drug store, concierge and valet.


The hotel has a choice of three places to eat:-

  1. Bin 55 restaurant, located in the hotel lobby – offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. Mission Street Pantry also located in the hotel lobby – deli type concept perfect for guests on the go.
  3. The View Lounge, located on the 39th Floor with spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline – offers small bites and signature cocktails.

Overall great location, well run, friendly staff and comfortable stay (thanks to my upgrade)

What we did?

There’s so much to do in San Francisco, so it’s imperative to have an idea of what one wants to see and do. My suggestion is plan in advance, it does make it easier to navigate through all the things that can be done.

We opted to go on the Big Bus tours, but before we got on the tour we had an idea of the key things we wanted to see. What I like about the Big Bus Tour is the flexibility of being able to get on and off at your own pace, while on the bus you also get to learn about the city through their narrated guide and It also allows you to see a lot more sights in a day.

Sadly thou, due to popular demand we missed out on going to Alcatraz Island.

Our drive to Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge



The cable car, an icon of San Francisco

Another highlight of our trip was visiting Sausalito, a small town situated across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. (Another town that reminds me of Knysna in the Western Cape, South Africa) Views from there across the bay toward San Francisco are just amazing.

The town is equipped with restaurant, art galleries, souvenir shops and hotels. A place where I could see myself living. I just like the simpleness of this town. We noticed that there were a lot of tourist cycling. I found out that cycling was popular with tourist, they usually hire a bike, cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, and then down into Sausalito.


Where we ate

Unless I’m travelling with foodies, I tend not to make food a priority and really prefer the simple meal options. The people I was travelling with were also not fussy as to where we ate.

  1. Mission Street Pantry
  • A deli/café in the lobby of San Francisco Marriott Marquis. They have a wide selection from sandwiches to pizzas to salads to pastries and deli items. They are limited from a vegetarian perspective. I had the Chef’s grilled cheese and ham and requested they remove the ham. The grilled cheese sandwich was really good.
  • The coffee is also good, a great break from Starbucks. Always good to try something new.
    • Lobby Level – San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
    • 415-442-6134


  1. Hamburgers, Sausalito 
  • We came to realise that timing is everything with this place. Just as we were ordering our food the line got really long and were told that’s normal. They are known to have the best burgers and worth the wait. It’s a simple no bells and frills shop with very tight space.
  • Unfortunately they don’t have a vegetarian’s burger option so I opted for a vegetarian burrito. The burrito was good and my travel companions loved their burgers.
    • 737 bridgeway hamburgers, Sausalito, San Francisco, CA
      • 415- 332-9471


  1. The View Lounge 
  • They don’t call it the view lounge for no reason, located on the 39th floor of San Francisco Marriott Marquis and offers spectacular views of the city through massive arched windows.
  • The view lounge is more of a cocktail lounge and offers small plates of food for sharing. A great place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
    • 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Downtown)
    • 415-442-6003


San Francisco was really great experience and my travel companions were great.


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