I haven’t visited San Francisco since I was a little child and it has been on my list for the past two decades. So, to say that I was excited to go in this trip with my long-time college buddy Chris, would be an understatement.
After landing at SFO, San Francisco’s International Airport, we immediately grabbed a cab and took off to our hotel, the Hotel Tropica, which is located on the main Valencia St. corridor. Our hotel was painted a warm and bright yellow, not to mention the many vibrant colors within it: golden browns, cozy yellows, hot oranges, vivid greens, blood reds, rich blues and warm pinks. Arriving to this hotel was like arriving to a place that was made to feel like a happy home. Their view of San Francisco from their roof was absolutely breathtaking and it gave us some perspective for the walking tour we were going to embark on. Staying at this hotel ended up being a really fun thing to do in San Francisco.
Chris and I both knew that we only had Saturday to explore by foot in this trip and that we wanted to pack in as much as we possibly could, regardless of the necessity to sleep. Since San Francisco is the second most densely populated city in the country, it was clear to us that we needed to use our Kamino walking tours app, especially considering the fact we did not choose to rent a car for Saturday. Sunday was already dedicated to us renting a car and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, hitting some other stops along the coast, and finally seeing a spring season practice at AT&T Stadium, where the San Francisco Giants play.
Ritual Coffee Roasters
After browsing through several San Francisco walking tours, we decided on their ‘Experience the Mission like a Local’ tour. This tour encompassed 10 stops along a route that spanned a distance of 3.2 miles, which is basically all we are prepared to walk anyhow. That was a joke if you couldn’t tell! First stop on this San Francisco free walking tour is the Ritual Coffee Roasters. This coffee shop has been around for quite some time and this location, which is off of 1026 Valencia St., is their oldest at 10 years.
Their coffee bean roaster was really unique to look at and learn about. Their combination of old and new technology was highly impressive, especially considering their roaster was “old school” and the computer-integrated technology they had hooked-up to it was state-of-the-art. Now, after learning how their operation worked, we ordered a cup of coffee. I ordered one of their mocha lattes and Chris had to have a triple-espresso before we continued our free walking tour of San Francisco.
The Tartine Bakery
Jolting out of the coffee shop and heading on to the next stop in this San Francisco walking tour was all the more energetic. The Tartine Bakery, which was located on 600 Guerrero St., could be sniffed from several blocks away. The aromas of freshly-baked pastries, croissants, puddings and sweets drug us there by our nostrils. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the help from our free walking tours app.
Chris and I were both so hungry, we ordered a total of five items to eat off of their rather large menu: a morning bun, a ham and cheese croissant, bread pudding, a frangipane tart and a lemon tart. We literally raged through all of this food and devoured every last bite. There is a good reason why this bakery has the stellar reputation it has and why it’s a stop on this wonderful San Francisco walking tour.
After consuming so much caffeine from Ritual Coasters and then taking-in so much sugar from our breakfast at the lovely Tartine Bakery, we exploded onto the next stop on our San Francisco walking tour.
The Mission San Francisco De Asis
The first thing we found out about the Mission San Francisco De Asis, is that it is also known as the Mission Dolores Parish. It was originally constructed in 1776 and it is San Francisco’s oldest standing building. Walking up to it was like walking up to an everlasting monument built by the hands of God. I know that sounds a little over the top, but so was the feeling Chris and I were both experiencing on this San Francisco walking tour. We swear it wasn’t all of the caffeine and sugar we just absorbed into our blood stream.
By nothing but pure luck and money, we were both able to join a visitor’s tour that typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to sign up for. We both threw the docent a 50 dollar bill and begged her and the group to let us join. We joined halfway through the mission’s walking tour, which was fine, considering the lack of time we had to explore all ten stops on our San Francisco walking tour. The smells and dew within the mission created a historic feeling that can only be described as intrinsically majestic.
Seeing that this was one of the most heartfelt and historically-relevant churches in all of California, we were in complete awe. Finding this mission was only made possible by this specific San Francisco walking tour and our ability to converse with docents… apparently.