Alcatraz Island

Visit: San Francisco

Location: San Francisco, California
Entrance Fee: About $5 in tolls
Must-see: Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Painted Ladies, Haight-Ashbury, Lombard Street

Painted Ladies, San Francisco
Painted Ladies, home of the Tanners, in San Francisco

This is a nostalgic one, guys. This is the home of our beloved Tanner family from the classic 90s sitcom Full House. Home of Uncle Jessie’s luxurious mane, Danny’s dorky grin, and Kimmy’s annoying but lovable jokes. This is where the Olsen twins, starlets of many more 90s movies to come, got their start. Needless to say, you’ll want to make a stop by the Painted Ladies. These historic homes are featured on the opening credits of our favorite show and make for great #selfies. You’ll find them at the top of Steiner St.

Tie dye shop in Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco
Tie dye shop in Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco

Next, channel your inner hippie and walk a quick 1.5 miles to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. This is where peace, love and tie dye originated. Check out some vintage shops and pick up a record or two at Amoeba Music.

Inside a former inmate cell at Alcatraz Island
Inside a former inmate cell at Alcatraz Island

The must-see of San Francisco, in my opinion though, is Alcatraz Island. For $33, you can reach the island by ferry and tour the island with an audio guide. This might take you anywhere from 2 hours or all day, if you want. Formerly a military fort and now known for its history as a penitentiary for infamous criminals such as Al Capone, this spot feels incredibly eerie. It was once known as the “prison within the prison system” for its high-profile inmates and eventually became a Indian reservation. The rich history of this place makes it worth a visit, not to mention the majestic views of the Golden Gate bridge and the island’s botanical treats. (Note: Just be sure to book at least a few weeks in advance.)

Hot fudge sundae at Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
Enjoy this monster sundae at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco

Once you’ve shed your obligatory tear after realizing what a dream you’re living, you can head to Fisherman’s Wharf and find some clam chowder or fresh fish and chips to regain some energy. For a treat, next go to Ghirardelli Square at the end of the wharf. I suggest splurging a bit on this one. I know that I’m supposed to be providing you all with budget travel advice, but this is worth the splurge. For $12 you can feed yourself for an entire day. That’s a deal, right?

Finally, walk off that monster sundae on the famous hills of San Francisco. These bad boys are no joke, but you’ll need to climb them if you want to see the famous Lombard Street.

Let’s talk lodging, an outrageous $200 expense in San Francisco. Because we were on a budget, we chose to camp about 45 minutes outside of the city at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. For $35/night you’ll dream of the pretty penny you saved by staying among the redwoods instead of downtown.

Despite the city’s higher expenses, it was well worth living the 90s kid dream in the land of Full House.

As always, comment with questions.

Bye, Bye, Bye,

Erica

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