Date: 28th Dec – 2nd Jan
Weather: It was cold at night and t shirt weather in the day. Around 15 Degrees Celcius.
San Francisco in General
We arrived here early morning via Megabus. We were staying near Union Square. The first thing we noticed was the large cage on our hotel door. This area was full of homeless people on the streets, however they never once asked for money. If I had the chance to stay in Fishermans Wharf or Union Square, I would definitely choose Fishermans Wharf. I’m not really sure why people choose Union Square other than price, as there are plenty of bars and restaurants in Fishermans wharf. Union Square is nothing special just lots of shops. The area of Fishermans Wharf is so much nicer and cleaner. No homeless people on the streets. The houses are beautiful and the scenery is great. We walked from Fishermans Wharf to Union Square way and the transition was so strange. Fishermans Wharf has all the views of the Golden Gates Bridge and the winding roads of Lombard Street. ATMS here charge you $3 to draw your cash out.
The Luz Hotel
We stayed at the Luz Hotel. From the Caltrain station to here it cost $10 via taxi. This place was basically a hostel. The staff here cannot do enough for you. They are so friendly. They even offered us to go downstairs to their living quarters to celebrate New Years with them if we had nothing else to do.
The rooms here were small with a sink in them as you have to share a bathroom. To be honest the rooms weren’t the best. I think they have permanent residents upstairs as the guy above us seemed the need to constantly play loud music and TV until 4am in the morning every night! We saw a notice saying that there were long stay residents there too. The walls are way too thin and also they advertise as 24 hour reception however this is not true. There were several times that I went to reception to complain about the noise and no one was there at night.
The reason we booked this was due to it being one of the cheapest hotels with okish reviews…however I say cheap but it was still around £30 per night per person which is the most expensive so far on our trip. We had no option though as we wanted to spend New Year’s Eve here.
We caught a bus from Lambert Street/road (number 19) to get off at Lombard Street. It only cost $2 each, however when coming back we figured we could walk it and it only took 20 mins as it’s just a straight road. When cruising from Union Square way to Lombard Street you see how the shops change from nasty to nice. There’s lots of cool bars along Lombard Street. We got off here and had to walk up a hilly road. WOW the roads here were steep to walk up. We had to walk threw a small park, turn left and then there on the left was the top of Lombard Street. The cars were cueing here to get down it. It was all one way. ZIG ZAG road is the only way I can explain this. We walked down the hill to get to the bottom to get our pics. Looking up was quite a view, seeing all the cars slowly going down the zig zag roads, pressing on their brakes lol. This is deffo worth the trip. We then went to to Fishermans Wharf which was only down the road (5mins away). We just walked towards the Sea.
So we arrived here and basically this place is where all the boats dock. There is a long road that has bars, restaurants and gift shops. We found a Fish n Chip shop owned by someone in Worcester (back home in the UK). She was really nice. Reason we came here to eat was due to us missing proper Fish N Chips from home. To be honest we paid $10 each and she gave us 2 battered fish each which were huge. The chips were ok..very close to home but needed to be abit more soggier lol… however great food all the same.
Walking along the bay area we saw some fisherman boats. They were advertising tickets for New Years. All we knew was that we wanted to see the Fireworks…we didn’t really know where to stand etc so decided to have a look as to what the boats offered. Basically they were offering to take you out for a quick tour around the bay and Golden Gates Bridge and then they would stop to see the fireworks…it was $50 per person which was a bargain. Since we figured this would be a unique experience we had to book them. The guy had a beard and was cool. He took our money, gave us our tickets and off we went. Boarding was at 10pm.
We headed down the pier here where you can look around old ships (for a price of course). We saw Alcatraz from here. We did try and get tickets to go over there, however they were sold out for several days and the only people who had tickets were charging $84 each as they added other tours on top and wouldn’t just to Alcatraz so we decided against it. We did get some cool pics of it thow. We then saw cable carts on the main road. The cue for them was huge so we walked it back to the hotel – stopping in the odd bar along the way. I had my first Boddingtons of the trip here. . boy that Ale tasted good!
New Years Eve
So it was 6pm so Me N Bec decided to head out. Wrapped up warm with gloves, goats, jumpers n all sorts we headed out onto the main road. On the way we stopped at a few bars. There were not many people out n about at this time however you could see balloons ready etc. We had to get food n licker to take on board the boat so managed to find an off license near the harbour at 9pm.
1 x pack of Spicy Doritos and 12 x Budweiser cans and 2 x small bottles of wine later we were ready to board. We turned up to the boat where we climbed down the ladder and gave the bloke our tickets. We met some people from Memphis on the boat, and a guy who used to live in Birmingham working in the Gala casino there (small world). What was unique about this boat was the inflatable snoopy on a bike he had at the top of it (this is partly the reason we chose it over the other boats lol). The boat was cool. It had bathroom, heated area inside and you could walk all around it.
It was 10:30pm and the boats then started to leave the harbour. We cruised towards Golden Gates Bridge . San Francisco looked beautiful at night with the lights. We cruised past Alcatraz Island where we saw the lookout tower etc. It was quite a sight! We finally Golden Gates Bridge where we stopped for a while and drank and admired the views here. It was cold here however my scarf thing around my mouth helped. Bec was cold however the skipper supplied us with blankets so she was wrapped up warm looking like an old granny.
Approaching midnight the rest of the fishing boats gathered around us whilst we stared towards the shore one of the piers. We got out celebration small wines at the ready, did the countdown and then the fireworks were lit. WOW these fireworks were the best I’ve ever seen. They combined huge ones with small weird ones. There were ones I’ve never seen before. The finale was out of this world lighting up the entire pier whilst you had Golden Gates Bridge to the side to you was emotional. We were so lucky to be here to witness this. Watching the fireworks in San Francisco on a fisherman boat next to Golden Gates Bridge is quite unique. I was so happy. Bec loved the fireworks too. We both had our mouths open most the time in amazement. I would deffo do it all over again. We then cruised back to the harbour.
San Francisco is worth the visit for a few days. I don’t think you could stop here longer than that really. Fishermans Wharf had great views of the bridge and Alcatraz. People here are friendly. Although plenty of homeless people, we did walk home 2 nights in a row along the main road which took about 20 mins, and we weren’t bothered once..if anything Becci was complimented once by a homeless guy on her funky outfit. Coming here for New Years I would deffo recommend.