Brandon and I celebrated our five (!!) year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. I’d been itching for a trip to San Francisco so we made the drive down to one of my favorite cities.
We would always spend our anniversary in San Francisco while we were dating and it was really cool to spend a wedding anniversary there too — this time with our little guy!
We embraced a slow pace and stuck to activities we knew wouldn’t overstimulate Isaac. We were able to mostly avoid the crowds and ended up having a really great, truly chill time. Here’s what we did, in case you find yourself heading to San Francisco with a four month old baby!
Obviously, we started the day out with coffee. This was suggested I asked for recommendations on Instagram and I’m so glad it was. It turned out we’d been here before! A couple of years ago, I got Brandon tickets to see Los Lonely Boys at the Independent, which is down the street from The Mill. We stopped in before the show so I could fuel up on caffeine.
This time, we got there towards the end of a morning rush. It was packed and the line was out the door but I managed to snag a table where I could keep the stroller mostly out of the way.
Next time, I would skip the stroller altogether and just wear Isaac. He spent more time out of the stroller than in the stroller while we sipped our lattes.
I’m also dying to try the toast here. I haven’t been hungry either time I’ve visited. Next time, I’m making sure I save room for hipster toast!
If you plan to visit, know that there’s plenty of street parking. It’s metered on the busier streets but not on the more residential ones. We parked in two hour parking and had plenty of time to get coffee, sip it leisurely and walk up to see the Painted Ladies.
ALAMO SQUARE & THE PAINTED LADIES
I could have spent all morning at the Mill but I didn’t want to needlessly hold a table and I wanted to see the Painted Ladies! In all the years growing up, spending days in San Francisco with my parents and siblings, I somehow had never been to see the Ladies!
Alamo Square is less than 10 minutes away from The Mill by foot. We stopped by the car for a few minutes so I could nurse Izzy before walking up the hill to the park.
Alamo Square Park is adorable (and hilly). There’s a dog park area on one side and a playground on the other. We joined the rest of the tourists and took some photos and video of the famous houses, all the while singing the theme song to Full House.
LUNCH AT LEMONADE
We knew we wanted to spend a lot of time in Golden Gate Park so I looked for a restaurant that was relatively close. I’d seen Lemonade earlier this year when we went to Southern California for a friend’s wedding and as a lover of all things lemonade, I was really interested to see if it was any good.
I ordered the backyard barbecue brisket bowl with kale, mashed potatoes and butternut squash and Brandon ordered the mango chicken bowl — both were delicious and so filling! We also had to get our hands on the lemonades! I had the cucumber mint lemonade while Brandon ordered a lemonade/tea fusion that was blood orange lemonade and blue butterfly flower tea.
GOLDEN GATE PARK
Stuffed from lunch, we headed back towards the car…and walked past it. Uphill! It took us two blocks to realize we’d walked too far and we laughed at ourselves for getting so caught up in conversation that neither one of us really noticed we’d walked right past it.
I had big plans for our time in Golden Gate Park but we ended up leisurely walking around. I wanted to get soft serve ice cream from a truck in the park but I was so stuffed from lunch that I couldn’t bring myself to buy something I knew I wouldn’t finish.
There was an event at the Conservatory of Flowers plus a big tennis meet up for the US Open, so when we found parking near the Koret playground, we gladly switched our plan up. We people watched, I nursed Isaac and we tried to rest off the uphill walk. We took zero photos and a little bit of video to document Isaac’s first time at a playground I still remember playing at when I was little.
After a while, we decided to head off to a part of the park we’d never been to before. I always research places to go in San Francisco. It’s such a diverse city that — despite visiting a lot — I still have so much to see. Article after article recommended seeing the bison pen in Golden Gate Park, so we found our way there.
In a word, the bison pen was anticlimactic. There were maybe three bison on this sad patch of land. It was nowhere near as cool as I thought it would be and I honestly didn’t have high hopes for it. Save yourself the trouble and skip the bison patch.
We had a loose plan of ending our day at the beach. Brandon and I always rounded out our dates in the city watching the sunset at Ocean Beach (another favorite spot from my childhood).
After the park, we made a quick pit stop for coffee at Andytown in the Sunset. Isaac was finally napping for more than 10 minutes so we chose to buy him a little time by driving over to Baker Beach instead of Ocean Beach.
We plopped down on our blanket and soaked in the salty air. My camera battery died and I definitely hummed Stupid Cupid to myself because being at Baker Beach reminded me of The Princess Diaries. I walked barefoot in the sand (and back up to the car) and snuggled my little family. It was the perfect way to end our day.
- - -
We weren’t hungry come dinnertime (I’m telling you, the bowls at Lemonade were crazy filling!) so we skipped our plan to get pizza and stopped for Chick-fil-a on our way back to Sacramento. It was a low key day and I think that’s what made it a successful day trip.
TIPS FOR DAY TRIPPING WITH A BABY
1 | take it easy — I love over-planning and trying to fit in as many sights as possible but I knew better than to try to explore all of San Francisco in a day. We made Golden Gate Park our main plan because we knew we could walk around and easily take a rest if Isaac' needed one.
2 | be flexible — I did my best to keep our plans sparse but still managed to miss a handful of places I wanted to visit. Truthfully, even I was tired towards the end of the day, so although I would have loved some soft serve in the park and really wanted to visit General Store, we decided to skip them this time for the sake of our sanity.
3 | time the drive with a nap — while I love long drives, babies tend to dislike them. A way we’ve (mostly) avoided meltdowns in the car is by timing our departures with Isaac’s naps. We interact with him a lot as we get ready to go and he almost always falls asleep before we even make it to the freeway.
What are your favorite spots in San Francisco?
SHOP THIS POST