I went to San Francisco over the Christmas holiday because I had a lot of annual leave that I had to use. So why not? The flight was £326 with United Airlines and considering how last minute it was, I felt like it was a reasonable bargain. I took the plunge, and decided to travel to San Francisco, alone.
I’ll document the ins and outs of this trip, where I stayed, what I did, the people, night life and so on.
Where did I stay?
Despite my family’s reservations, I decided to stay in a hostel, yes. USAhostels to be specific. I was apprehensive. I had nine days in San Francisco and I was staying in a hostel. It was bold.
Initially, I’d decided to stay in a hostel because I didn’t want to be isolated in a hotel during my trip. It was my first time, I had reserve funds for a hotel just in case. I wanted this to be an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone by travelling alone and forcing myself to be around other people(in a hostel setting). I seem social in person and talk a lot but if I don’t know you, I will not speak to you. I wanted to change this.
What was it like?
Well, considering it was my first time in a hostel, I was nervous and had a ‘back up’ hotel to run away to if necessary but, in honesty my hostel room was all female and had four beds with an en suite bathroom.
I was in a room by myself for awhile until I was joined by a host of randoms, some from Israel, Korea, Spain etc. A lot of people checked in and out, some I never spoke to at all, I definitely didn’t make friends for life. I did meet some ‘interesting’ characters but I’ll talk about that later. Shoutout to Vanessa from Texas, who I had some amazing conversations with.
I, for one had no idea what I had set myself up for. I thought the people in my hostel would be pretty gross, annoying and slightly uncivilised. I was wrong. I made friends!!! In the picture above, all four of us represented different continents! Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe! How cool right!!
The girls in my room never bothered me but the other guests that I encountered in the common area were just insufferable.
What did I get up to?
This trip was so spontaneous so I had no idea what to do in San Francisco. Luckily there were organised walks, organised bike rides, beer pong, parties and nights out.
As soon as I woke up, my priority was finding food. I came on this trip to eat. I felt out of place for awhile but food made me feel better.
Admittedly San Francisco is expensive. I realised this after day one but it wasn’t going to stop me on my quest for food.
You can’t go to San Francisco without trying Clam Chowder. It is a staple dish. It’s like a seafood soup in bread similar to the picture below and it is delicious. (photo cred: Ryan Basso)
Best/Quirkiest Burger Joint
WesBurger ‘N’ More
This burger was insane. A peanut butter and jelly burger! It had strawberry jam in it. I mean it was out there but I was willing to try it and goodness it was VERY FILLING, you could taste the peanut butter for sure. It was cooked well but I had to travel quite far out to get this burger. On the train journey there were these amazing young people who were dancing/performing and I loved it!!
This by far is the best place for MILKSHAKEEEEEEEEE!
Shout out to Matt Taylor for this place! It was awesome and so old school! I walked in and felt like I was an extra in Grease the film. The staff were dressed as old school waiters too and you can see from the pictures how epic it looked.
They brought out the milkshake and I’m sure Kelis’s song milkshake played in my head. Honestly, this was a moment for me and I loved it. I also bought a top from there which is still one of my favourites.
There was so much to see here! ChinaTown may have been the highlight of my trip. I ate so much food here.
I went on a search for the best Chinese restaurant in the area. There were so many reviews so it was hard to narrow them down to one but eventually I found my beloved.
Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant
I don’t know why I was so hungry but I ordered at least 3 to 4 separate dishes to the point where the staff asked me if I was sure I wanted that much food. The food coma I had was exquisite!
Yosemite National Park
I spent around £100 on a day trip to Yosemite National Park. I like to think I like the great outdoors and I do but in this case I did not take advantage of it.
I took the obligatory selfie (shameless) and I found the nearest bar and chilled until we had to go.
LET ME EXPLAIN! The tour we were on was very awkward. There wasn’t a guided walk or a clear path we were given to follow. We were just told to go, explore and avoid running into bears. I said not today, I’m out here alone and it’s just not worth it. The bar on the other hand was lovely.
Maybe I’ll book a better tour the next time I’m there.
Arguably one of the most infamous prisons in the world ! I had to visit this place and it was very interesting.
The tour is less than £50 and you are taken to the prison on a boat, given headphones and follow a tour about that told you about the scariest prisoners, ones that escaped, the riots as well as the meanest prison guards. Highly recommended as something to do in San Francisco.
Honorary mentions: My darling workaholic Raymond and Koosha, people I will definitely see again!
In all, San Francisco was awesome, fun, freeing, expensive and scary at times but, it was the best trip I could have taken at the time. Traveling alone forces you out of your comfort zone so I’d say go if you have the time and money.