Andy and Sun’s Day of Fun: Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and Fisherman’s Wharf

The highlights:

  • Biking by the beach in the Presidio
  • Gorgeous view of the bay from the top of the Marin Headlands
  • Delicious tacos in Sausalito
  • Playing old arcade favorites on Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Seeing the Palace of Fine Arts lit up at night 

Check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here.

Even though I’ve lived in San Francisco for over 2 years, I had never biked over the Golden Gate Bridge. Now that my friend Sun was visiting, I had the perfect opportunity to check this item off my San Francisco bucket list.

Today’s experience will have us going over the bridge, up into the Marin Headlands, down into Sausalito, back to SF on the ferry, and cruise down Fisherman’s Wharf back to the start. This is definitely the most challenging Days of Fun yet, but I’m ready to take it on.

The route:

GGB route  

The stops:

  1. Katz Bagel breakfast in Dolores Park
  2. Rent bikes at Sports Basement
  3. Heading to the bridge: Crissy FieldThe Warming HutTorpedo Wharf, and Fort Point
  4. Going over the bridge: Golden Gate Bridge PavilionGolden Gate Bridge, and Vista Point
  5. Bike up the Marin Headlands: Hawk Hill and Battery Spencer
  6. Lunch in Sausalito: Sausalito Taco ShopLappert’s Ice Cream
  7. Ride the Blue & Gold Ferry back to San Francisco
  8. Walk down Pier 39: Chowders and Sea Lion Colony
  9. Playing old arcade games at Musée Mécanique
  10. Back to the start: Aquatic Park, Ghirardelli Square, Fort Mason, and Palace of Fine Arts
  11. Dinner at Ramen Izakaya Goku

1. Katz Bagel breakfast in Dolores Park

  • Duration: 30 minutes

I got to the city earlier than I planned so I went to Katz Bagels in the Mission for breakfast. I got a toasted sesame bagel with whitefish salad, onions, capers, and a slice of tomato.

  • Cost: $4.75

The weather this morning was absolutely gorgeous and so I went to the top of Dolores Park to eat my bagel. I didn’t take a picture of the bagel, but I did take a picture of my view for breakfast.

IMG_3942

It was such a nice view that I took a 10 minute meditation break. Meditation is a relatively new habit for me, but it’s great for clearing my head and getting focused in the morning.

2. Rent bikes at Sports Basement

  • Duration: 10 minutes

After breakfast I drove north through the city and into the Presidio. There are lots of places to rent bikes in the city, but I chose the Sports Basement because I leave my car here all day without worrying about parking.  I met up with Sun and we rented bikes for the day. Sports Basement charges $25 for a full day rental, or $15 for 3 hours. I jokingly asked the associate if Sun could rent a children’s bike since she’s a tiny Asian girl. Sun was not amused.

  • Cost: $25 for a bike, a helmet, and a lock

With our bikes ready and helmets on, we’re ready to start the day!

2. Heading to the bridge: Crissy Field, The Warming Hut, Torpedo Wharf, and Fort Point

  • Duration: 40 minutes

Sports Basement is right next to Crissy Field, which is a large field where people picnic, play with their dogs, and enjoy the view of the bay. We rode our bikes on the San Francisco Bay Trail which is right by the beach.

IMG_3943

Since Sun hadn’t had breakfast, we stopped by The Warming Hut for some food. This is one of the few places that sell food near the bridge. And it’s always wise to start the day with a full stomach.

IMG_3944

In hindsight, I probably should have gotten a sandwich here for later. The next food stop wasn’t for another 3 hours, and we had a long trip up the mountains ahead.

IMG_3945

From The Warming Hut we continued along the beach to Fort Point, which is a old military fort at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The fort is only open on Fri, Sat, and Sun from 10-5pm. We just took a few pictures and headed out.

IMG_3947

Now we begin the climb uphill towards the start of the bridge.

3. Going over the bridge: Golden Gate Bridge PavilionGolden Gate Bridge, and Vista Point

  • Duration: 45 minutes

From Fort Point we headed back to the main road and up the hill to the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion. Here you can learn a bit of history about the bridge, and play with a model of the bridge that simulates the effects of the wind on the bridge.

The weather today was amazingly clear and I was excited about the views we were about to see.

IMG_3949

You can bike on either the west or the east side of the bridge. But the east side faces the city and has the better views. San Francisco is already starting to look very small from here.

IMG_3950

Fortunately today was not windy at all and I was quite comfortable in a t-shirt going over the bridge. We also stopped several times to take more pictures of the bay. I do love the new pano feature for the iPhone camera.

IMG_3954

It always amazes me how tall Sutro Tower actually is. You can see it from practically from anywhere in the bay.

IMG_3955

Once over the bridge we went to Vista Point to take more photos. Here we encountered the hordes of Asian tourists and their tour buses. I’m glad I don’t have to be stuck on a bus while traveling in a new city.

IMG_3958

We made sure to take a bathroom break here before starting our climb up the Marin Headlands.

4. Bike up the Marin Headlands: Hawk Hill and Battery Spencer

  • Duration: 2 hours

My friend Jennifer heard that I was going over the bridge and recommended going up to Hawk Hill. It’s one of her favorite spots in the city. I hadn’t heard of Hawk Hill before but it sounded like an interesting adventure. Watch out for the prancing reindeer!

IMG_3959

What do you know! We actually ran into a couple of deers. It looked like a mom with a fawn.

IMG_3960

The ride up to Hawk Hill was super tough! I had to walk my bike at least half the way. Sun was also struggling but she was being a trooper and didn’t complain.

The whole ride/hike took us nearly an hour. But then we were greeted with this amazing view.

IMG_3966

It was incredible how clear of a day it was. San Francisco is rarely ever this clear. It’s probably because of the drought California is dealing with. So enjoy these views while you still can! I do hope the drought ends soon…

IMG_3963

From the top of Hawk Hill you can see the entire Marin Headlands area. Down to the right you can see Rodeo Lagoon and Rodeo Cove.

IMG_3964

Hawk Hill got its name because every autumn tens of thousands of hawks and other large birds fly through this area. This is a very popular spot for bird watchers. They even keep track of the size of the birds they’ve seen here.

IMG_3965

At the very top of Hawk Hill we met a group of bird watchers. They were working as a team to spot specific birds. I felt very much like a muggle walking around them. I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying to each other.

IMG_3968

Going down from Hawk Hill was a lot more fun. There wasn’t much vehicle traffic so I went down the hill as fast as I dared. I probably got up to at least 30 mph at some points. What a thrill!

On the way down we stopped by Battery Spencer, which used to be home to 3 large artillery guns protecting the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

IMG_3971

The views here of the Golden Gate Bridge were spectacular. Doesn’t this look like a postcard? This is one of the most popular places to shoot pics of the bridge.

IMG_3972

At this point I was definitely regretting not bringing a sandwich with me for lunch. So we headed straight into Sausalito towards the taco shop.

5. Lunch in Sausalito: Sausalito Taco ShopLappert’s Ice Cream

  • Duration: 1.5 hours

I learned of Sausalito Taco Shop from my friend Ronny from New York. He and his wife recently biked the bridge and stopped here for lunch.

After 3 hours of riding, I was ready for a drink. I was glad to see michelada on the menu. I learned of this drink while traveling in Mexico, and now it’s one of my favorites. It’s spicy, salty, and sour. I think of it as a poor man’s bloody mary.

IMG_3973

Sun had a taste of my michelada and absolutely hated it. I guess it’s not for everyone. She went with a Sprite instead.

IMG_3974

I ordered the fish, shrimp, and pork tacos. The marinated pork taco was by far the best. The taco shop also makes their own salsas which were pretty solid.

IMG_3975

After lunch we biked around Sausalito checking out the town. We stopped at the ice cream shop for a scoop.

IMG_3977

I went with a scoop of the Date Casablanca. It is made with vanilla ice cream, caramel, and dried dates. Highly recommended.

IMG_3976

After the ice cream we headed to the ferry terminal.

6. Ride the Blue & Gold Ferry back to San Francisco

  • Duration: 30 minutes

There are two ferry companies serving Sausalito, Golden Gate Ferry and Blue & Gold Ferry. The Golden Gate ferry goes to the Ferry Building and the Blue & Gold ferry goes to Fisherman’s Wharf.

We caught the 3:45pm Blue & Gold ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf. The ferry is a great way to see the city and the bridges from the bay. You can even buy drinks on the ferry. It was nice to head back to SF while watching the sun starting to set over the Golden Gate Bridge.

IMG_3981

The ferry goes pretty close to Alcatraz, giving us a nice photo op.

IMG_3982

Views of the city and the bay bridge as we pulled into Fisherman’s Wharf.

IMG_3983

  • Cost: $11

Protip: You can pay for the Blue & Gold ferry using your Clipper card

From Fisherman’s Wharf we headed to pier 39.

7. Walk down Pier 39: Chowders and Sea Lion Colony

  • Duration: 25 minutes

Sun has never had clam chowder before, so we headed down Pier 39 to Chowders for a bowl.

They also serve the clam chowder in a bread bowl, but we were still full from the tacos and this was plenty.

IMG_3986

Next we went to see the sea lions at the Sea Lion Colony. There weren’t many sea lions today. But the few that were there made plenty of noise.

IMG_3988

We continued our bike journey down Fisherman’s Wharf towards an old arcade I had heard a lot about.

8. Playing old arcade games at Musée Mécanique

  • Duration: 20 minutes

Musée Mécanique is an arcade that has all types of classic arcade machines. I’ve always been a big fan of arcades and this place sounded fun.

This greeted us as we walked in. Was this made to entertain or to scare children?

IMG_3989

The arcade has a combination of very old mechanical arcades and old video arcades. I sucked pretty bad at the baseball game to the right.

I can see the inspiration for Rock’em Sock’em Robots

25 cent Skeeball?! Hell yes!

IMG_3993

I had a great time here but Sun was not very interested in old arcades. So we hopped back on our bikes and moved on.

9. Back to Sports Basement: Aquatic Park, Ghirardelli Square, Fort Mason, and Palace of Fine Arts

  • Duration: 1 hour

The sun had set and we were getting tired, so we decided to bike back to Sports Basement. But we would stop by a few places for photos along the way. First stop was Aquatic Park.

Sun’s bike chain fell off around Ghirardelli square. Fortunately I was able to fix it. Otherwise we would have had to walk her bike 2 miles back to Sports Basement. Crisis averted!

IMG_3998

The bike ride back along Marina Boulevard was quite pleasant. The road is completely flat and smooth. We also had some good night time views of the bay. Unfortunately it was too dark for my camera to take photos.

We stopped by the Palace of Fine Arts to take some night time photos. It was fairly empty and quite fun to bike around the lake and through the columns at night.

IMG_3999

We returned our bikes at Sports Basement and concluded our day long bike adventure. Next up was dinner. Sun was in the mood for ramen so we headed back to the Mission.

10. Ramen dinner at Ramen Izakaya Goku

  • Duration: 45 minutes

Ramen Izakaya Goku is one of the newer ramen shops in the city. I like them because they are 1 block away from my old apartment. We started with the takoyaki. I just learned that the bonito flakes on top of the takoyaki is actually made from dried preserved fish. All this time I had thought it was some kind of vegetable.

IMG_4003

I went with the extra spicy tonkatsu ramen with extra chashu pork. The pork was nice and fatty, and the noodles were firm. The broth was a bit milky for my taste, but that didn’t stop me from wolfing it down.

IMG_4004

  • Cost: ~$20 including tip

That concludes Andy and Sun’s day of fun. I headed back to Mountain View with a full belly and a head full of beautiful views. Not a bad way to end the day.

How the day went: 

I thought the day went about as well as I could have hoped. I got to check off a bunch of items on my SF bucket list, and I got some great photos of the bridge and the bay. Hawk Hill was a serious challenge, but we conquered it and it was a great workout.

If I were to do the day over, I would make the following changes:

  • Start the day a little earlier. We didn’t get our bikes till about 11 am. Starting before 10 would have given us more time to hangout in Sausalito.
  • Get a sandwich to go before crossing the bridge. That way we could have had lunch on top of Hawk Hill which would have been nice.
  • Know the ferry schedule ahead of time. We took the 3:45 ferry back to SF. Taking an earlier ferry would have given us more time along Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Get bike lights. We biked the last portion of the day without lights. Lights would have made the ride easier and safer.

Again, here’s a handy map of all the attractions, restaurants, and bars I visited in this post: Map

If you enjoyed this post, please check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

What did you think of this tour? What did I miss? What would you have done differently? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Andy and Sun’s Day of Fun: Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach

The highlights:

  1. Delicious pastries for breakfast in the Inner Sunset
  2. Play like a kid again in Golden Gate Park
  3. Finding out what the $4 toast fad is all about
  4. Watching the gorgeous sunset by the beach
  5. Stuffing our faces with amazing Burmese food

Check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

When a friend comes to visit, I want to make sure they have an amazing time. Mostly because I love showing my friends the places I love, but also because secretly I want to convince all of them to move to San Francisco. And then we will work together to take over the world… This time my friend Sun was in town from LA where she had been staying for the past month. She only had 4 days in SF so we had a lot of ground to cover. Day 1 she spent going to The Mission and the Castro. Day 2 she spent in Chinatown, North Beach, and the Embarcadero. Day 3 I was free, so I decided to take her on an Andy’s Day of Fun, this time to Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach.

The stops:

  1. Starting the day at Arizmendi’s bakery
  2. Checking out old school movies at Le Video
  3. Playing on the swings at Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
  4. Enjoying the free day at the Conservatory of Flowers
  5. Taking in the view from the Hamon Observation Tower 
  6. Walking through history at the Japanese Tea Garden
  7. Speed walking through art at the de Young Museum
  8. Hiking up Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake
  9. Driving by the Bison Paddock
  10. Eating the infamous toast at Trouble Coffee Co.
  11. Climbing the sand dunes at Ocean Beach
  12. Getting up close to the Murphy Windmill
  13. Climbing the rocks at Sutro Baths
  14. Eating tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar

1. Starting the day at Arizmendi’s bakery (Yelp)

  • Duration: 10 mins

Sun was staying at a guesthouse in San Bruno and so I picked her up from the San Bruno BART station and headed towards the Inner Sunset. We had a long day ahead of us and I wanted to start the day with a good breakfast. I chose Arizmendi’s Bakery based on the glowing reviews on Yelp and recommendations from blogs. Fortunately, there wasn’t much of a line at 11am on a Wednesday. IMG_3859 Arizmendi’s Bakery is a cooperative business that is owned and operated by the workers. According to the website “The name Arizmendi is based on José Maria Arizmendiarrieta, a young priest who inspired and helped found the Mondragón Cooperatives in the Basque Country of Spain. Although worker cooperatives have functioned in most parts of the world since the 19th century, the success of the Mondragón Cooperatives has attracted worldwide attention.”

This is what greeted us as we entered. The baked goods are all well labeled with their ingredients. Since it was our first time here, we decided to try several items. I went straight after the pecan roll because, look. We also got a chocolate thing, a lemon poppy seed muffin, and a cheese bread. The pecan roll was by far my favorite.

  • Cost: ~$12 for 4 pastries and a juice

Pastries in hand, we walked down 9th avenue towards the park to check out this video store I read about that had an amazing selection of movies.

2. Checking out old school movies at Le Video (Yelp)

  • Duration: 15 mins

The story is that Le Video used to be a standalone video store, but due to economic pressures they combined with Green Apple Books. The first floor is now the bookstore and the 2nd floor is Le Video. IMG_3858 We walked through the bookstore and headed upstairs to Le Video. IMG_3853 Le Video has a better selection than I had imagined! Most of the titles here are ones you won’t find on Netflix or Amazon Prime. The DVDs are organized into themes, each catering to a specific crowd. I of course went to the Asian section. I took Japanese film during college and was happy to see those directors well represented here. IMG_3854 Le Video also has lots of VHS tapes for rent. But I wondered, who still has a working VCR nowadays? On my way out I browsed through the bookstore and this caught my eye. I know a few people who could use this particular title. IMG_3857 Next we drove into the park at 9th avenue and headed to the Koret Children’s Quarter Playground for some fun.

3. Playing on the swings at Koret Children’s Quarter Playground (Yelp)

  • Duration: 30 mins

Playgrounds are just awesome. Unfortunately, many of San Francisco’s playgrounds are off limits to adults unless you are supervised by children. Fortunately for us, this one didn’t have that rule, or at least we didn’t see it posted anywhere. IMG_3860 The playground looks a little like a children’s fantasy land with swings and slides and lots of things to run around in and play with. We first played on the swings and then went to the slides. IMG_3861 The slides are built with concrete and you need a piece of cardboard to slide down smoothly. Unfortunately we did not bring our own and the ones already there were wet from the previous rain, or dew. Oh well, another day then.

We walked past the carousel and the parking lot to the Lawn Bowling Center where a bunch of rascals were playing their morning games. I had never seen actual lawn bowling played, but it looked like a lot of fun. IMG_3863 Next we headed back to the car and drove towards the Conservatory of Flowers.

Protip: The best parking for the Koret Children’s Quarter playground is between the Lawn Bowling Center and the playground. You can also find parking further down the road towards the tennis courts. 

4. Enjoying the free day at the Conservatory of Flowers (Yelp)

  • Duration: 30 mins

I chose Tuesday for exploring Golden Gate park because on the first Tuesday of each month, several museums in San Francisco are free to enter, including the Conservatory of Flowers, the de Young Museum, and the Legion of Honor. Lucky for us the weather on Tuesday was perfect.

Protip: When parking at the Conservatory of Flowers, park behind the building instead of on JFK Drive. You’ll be closer to the main building and it’s easier to find a spot.  There was even a jazz musician playing the tunnels under the bridge. It was the perfect soundtrack to a beautiful day in the park. Here is Sun taking photos on top of the tunnel. IMG_3867 The Conservatory of Flowers is not huge, but it has lots of interesting plants. I’ve been to many botanical gardens and greenhouses, but some of these plants were completely new to me. IMG_3881IMG_3880IMG_3877IMG_3879IMG_3876IMG_3875 IMG_3872IMG_3871IMG_3870 Moving on! Next stop was the music concourse and the Hamon Observation Tower.

5. Taking in the view from the Hamon Observation Tower 

  • Duration: 20 mins

The music concourse is the area between the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, and the Japanese Tea Garden. You can see the Spreckels Temple of Music in the photo below. IMG_3892 The Hamon Observation Tower is the tall part of the de Young Museum. Unlike the rest of the museum, it is always free to enter. I think the de Young Museum is an odd looking building. If I were a super villain, I’d choose this place as my evil headquarters. You can take the elevator up to the 9th floor to get to the observation room. From here you can get a 360 degree view of San Francisco. However, most of downtown San Francisco is blocked by the hills to the East. The views today were amazing, thanks to the drought we’re having. At this point it was around 12:50 pm, so we left the observation tower to make the 1 pm free walking tour at the Japanese Tea Garden.

6. Walking through history at the Japanese Tea Garden (Yelp)

  • Duration: 55 mins (45 min walking tour)

We got to the Tea Garden just before 1 pm and bought our tickets. We waited just inside the gate for our walking tour to start.

  • Cost: $6 for residents, $8 for non-residents

I found out about the free walking tours of the Japanese Tea Garden from SFcityguides.org. It is a non-profit organization that provides free walking tours for many popular areas of the city including Chinatown, the Presidio, and the Financial district. The tour guides are all volunteers and have been giving tours for many years. This was our guide Leslie. IMG_3895 The tour group had 6 people including us. The others were a middle aged couple from the midwest, and 2 grad school girls studying in SF. Off we go to learn about the history of the garden. IMG_3901 The tea garden was originally created as a “Japanese village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. After the expo, the garden was taken care of by landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara, who expanded it from 1 acre to 5 acres. IMG_3902 However, during WWII, the Hagiwara family was forced into internment camps in Arizona, and their home in the garden was torn down. After the war, the Hagiwara family was not allowed back into the garden, and many of their family treasures were removed. Sadness… After that story, we felt like we needed to visit the tea house for some tea and snacks. IMG_3896 The tea house offers a variety of Japanese snacks and teas. I decided to go with the 10 piece mochi and the Genmaicha tea. Both were great and the tea really helped to warm me up as the temperature started dropping. IMG_3904 Next we headed back to the de Young Museum to take advantage of the free museum entrance.

7. Speed walking through art at the de Young Museum (Yelp)

  • Duration: 30 mins

My big mistake during the planning was that I forgot to plan for lunch. I had thought that we would have a big enough breakfast that would help us last into the afternoon but I was wrong. As a result, I think both of us were a little hangry and weren’t in the best mental state to enjoy the art at the de Young. I am always a big fan of the glass art at the de Young. This is one of my favorites. Mmm…. food…. IMG_1095 We essentially sped through the exhibits in about 30 minutes, and didn’t take many photos. Here’s one of the pieces I hadn’t seen before. IMG_3905 However, I did enjoy a new exhibit at the museum called The Gay Essays. It featured photographs by Anthony Friedkin chronicling the gay communities during the tumultuous years between 1969-1973. It’s on display till early January, so go see it while you still can! Next we drove over the Stow Lake.

8. Hiking up Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake (Yelp)

  • Duration: 25 mins

Stow Lake is one of the many small lakes in Golden Gate Park. I like this area because there are some very scenic spots around the lake for photos. This one below is of Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks. IMG_3725 Views from the edge of the lake:

IMG_3726 IMG_3727 This is one of the two bridges that lead to Strawberry Hill, which is inside the lake. We crossed here and hiked up the path to the top.

IMG_3729 IMG_3730 We climbed up the Western side of the hill and took some photos of the man-made waterfall along the way.

IMG_3731 IMG_3732 At the bottom of the waterfall is the Chinese pavilion where you can relax and watch the birds. IMG_3733 IMG_3734

At this point hunger was really getting to us and I made an executive decision to go for food.

9. Driving by the Bison Paddock (Yelp)

  • Duration: 1 minute

Even though the official name of the area is the Buffalo Paddock, what you will see are actually Bison. We did not actually stop to see the bison. We just drove by slowly and watched them from a distance. But if you were to stop, this is what you would see. Finally, we’re getting food!

10. Eating the infamous toast at Trouble Coffee Co. (Yelp)

  • Duration: 15 mins

San Francisco is a foodie’s heaven. There are countless amazing restaurants, cafes, and food trucks all serving up their unique creations to satisfy the always hungry taste buds of the local residents. As a result, food is a lot like fashion in this city in that what’s popular is always changing, and fads can go in and out of existence in the blink of an eye. Trouble Coffee Company is responsible for one of those fads: very expensive toast.

I’m not sure when it started, but all of a sudden cafes around SF started selling artisan toast, sometimes for more than $4 a slice. The hipsters of SF just couldn’t get enough. Some people thought that this was a sign of the tech elite inflating prices for everyone else, while other people thought it was just good toast.

The story of how the fad started was even featured on This American Life. After hearing the story, I had to try a piece of this toast.

IMG_3906

I have to say that I was not disappointed. The toast was thick and fluffy, and the brown sugar on top gave it a nice little crunch. It also went very well with the young coconut they also sell at the cafe.

Funny part of this is that Sun didn’t know that you could also eat the coconut meat, so she just drank the juice and threw the coconut away!

From Trouble Coffee Co. we could see the beach, and so that’s where we headed to next.

11. Climbing the sand dunes at Ocean Beach (Yelp)

  • Duration: 15 mins

I love going around the city on a weekday, there are just so few people around! I get to have Ocean beach all to myself. We parked the car at the lot at the end of Lincoln Way, and walked to the South to climb the sand dunes.

The sand dunes are actually pretty high, some go as far as 20-30 feet above the beach. There are little alcoves in the dunes that make for good picnic spots because they are shielded from the constant wind on Ocean Beach.

This was my view of the beach from the top of a sand dune.

IMG_3907

It was getting somewhat chilly so we didn’t go to the edge of the water, instead we headed back into the park to see the Murphy Windmill.

12. Getting up close to the Murphy Windmill (Yelp)

  • Duration: 5 mins

The Murphy Windmill was the second windmill to be constructed in Golden Gate Park, and at the time of its construction, it was the largest windmill of its kind. However, years of neglect had left the windmill in poor condition, and it wasn’t until 2001 that the city raised money to repair the windmill. The windmill is now in excellent condition, and perfect for a photo at sunset.

IMG_3908

Besides taking pictures of the windmill, there isn’t much else to do here. At this point we left the park and headed to Sutro Baths to watch the sunset.

13. Watching the sunset at Sutro Baths (Yelp)

  • Duration: 45 mins

Sutro Baths is the ruins of a swimming pool and bath house complex built at the end of the 19th century by former San Francisco mayor Adolph Sutro. The bath house was never profitable, and eventually burned down as the result of arson. Now the site is a park of a national park, and a popular place to hike the Land’s End trail.

IMG_3911

We decided to walk down to the ruins and get close to the water. The area is quite beautiful around sunset. IMG_3912

I wanted to get even closer to the water, so I hopped off the ledge and climbed on the slippery rocks by the water.

IMG_3913

To get a better view of the sunset, we walked up the hill to a viewing spot to the north of the ruins. The view from there was gorgeous.

IMG_3914

The sun is down and we were ready for dinner. Next stop, Burma!

14. Eating tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar (Yelp)

  • Duration: 1 hour

Burma Superstar is one of those places where it seems like everyone I know has been. I mean, the place only has over 5,000 reviews on Yelp. Since it was on my way home, I figured it would be a great way to end the day.

Fortunately the wait wasn’t long since it was only 6:30pm on a Tuesday night.

Of course we had to get the tea leaf salad, which is probably the most popular dish at the restaurant.

IMG_3916

The ingredients are fermented tea leaves, lettuce, fried lentils, fried garlic, peanuts, sunflower seats, tomatoes, jalapenos, and sesame seeds. The waitress came and mixed it for us, making it look like this:

IMG_3917

Compared to the other tea leaf salads I’ve had (2), it was lighter in flavor, but richer in texture. It’s a good way to start our meal.

The next dish is the Nan Gyi Dok, which is a mild coconut chicken rice noodle curry. It is made with Burmese rice noodles with a mild chicken coconut curry sauce, egg, split yellow pea, fried wonton chips, lime leaf, and fried onions.

Before and after mixing:

IMG_3918  IMG_3919The noodles were quite creamy and had a good amount of spice. The wonton chips and fried onions gave it a nice crunch. I would have preferred the noodles to be a little drier, but then it might not be Burmese.

The last dish was a basil chili pork belly.

IMG_3920

Now this had some heat! I liked everything about this dish.

The portions at Burma Superstar were solid and we left feeling completely stuffed. Even though I tend to stay away from restaurants that are TOO popular, I thoroughly enjoyed myself here and I can see coming back here with other visiting friends.

  • Cost: ~$30/person including drinks

That concludes Andy and Sun’s Day of Fun! I dropped Sun at her guesthouse and went home feeling quiet accomplished and exhausted.

How the day went:

I was happy with how the day turned out. Golden Gate Park is such an amazing place with so much to see and to do. I think the challenge with going to the park is figuring out what not to do so you can spend more time at fewer places. I went to some of my favorite spots in the park, but there is so much more to explore and see.

If I were to do the day over, I would make the following changes:

  1. Plan a lunch in the Inner Sunset or Inner Richmond. Both neighborhoods have great lunch options. I would probably go with dim sum or Chinese dumplings in the Inner Richmond.
  2. Skip the de Young Museum. Unless the people you are with REALLY want to go, there are just better things to do than spend your time indoors at a museum.
  3. Spend more time at Stow Lake. I really want to rent a boat and go around the lake, but we didn’t have the time nor energy for it today.
  4. Skip the Murphy Windmill. Driving by it slowly should be enough, unless you really want close up pictures of the windmill.

Again, here’s a handy map of all the attractions, restaurants, and bars I visited in this post: Map

If you enjoyed this post, please check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

What did you think of this tour? What did I miss? What would you have done differently? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.