I had the most boring happy hour birthday crawl by myself in San Francisco.
I’m a lightweight which makes any type of bar crawl impossible.
On my birthday I found myself in San Francisco alone. I flew out mid-day with Jake meeting me after a work conference later that night.
My grand plan was to wander around the general vicinity of my hotel and happy hour hop.
San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. The rent and property prices are insane. It’s not unusual to see happy hour cocktails go for $12. This is unheard of in the Twin Cities. Despite the high cost of living, there are plenty of more affordable food and beverage options around the city.
Here are a few happy hour specials we found within walking distance of Union Square.
These two meals in San Francisco especially stood out.
North Beach is a neighborhood that’s like a little Italy. It’s located between the Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 area and Chinatown. Where the neighborhoods merge is an intriguing intersection of Asian and Italian restaurants.
As first time visitors, we felt overwhelmed at all of the dining options. We had such limited time that we wanted to make sure we didn’t fall into a tourist trap.
With all of my research, recommendations from people we met along the way, and gut feelings as we walked by a place, we were left to choose our own adventures.
I felt more at ease during our trip to San Francisco than I have on any other trip. Here’s the reason why:
We winged most of it. Our travel plans always revolve around meals. Usually I do a lot of research about restaurants and make a list of must-eats. This is not to say I didn’t compile a list this time; However; I didn’t insist we stick to it this time.
One morning we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s like the Navy Pier of San Francisco. I expected to waltz through quickly, but we ended up having so much fun we shrugged and stayed for a while. Instead of rushing to the next place on my list, we let a couple of them go. It felt good not to race and enjoy being in the moment.
When you tell someone you’re going to San Francisco, they’re probably going to say something like, “Hey, you should go to Fisherman’s Wharf!”
The Li Po Lounge is a mood.
The inside is dimly lit and there is no food. Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine” hummed in the background, followed by Puddle of Mud’s “Blurry.”
The sign advertising the signature Mai Thai listed three types of rum, “Chinese Liquor” and pineapple juice. “Are we supposed to pick one of the rums?” I asked Jake. “No, it includes them all.”
Bourdain featured Li Po Lounge in his San Francisco episode of The Layover. Toasting him in a place that he loved with a drink that he liked felt very important. This Mai Tai here felt more like a quest.
If you asked where I could go if I could go anywhere, anytime between 20 years and two months ago, I would say the giant redwood trees in Northern California.
We finally made it.
There are actually ancient redwood trees growing in many places throughout Northern California. You don’t have to drive the Avenue of the Giants to see them, but it’s a good place to start.