The past few years we’ve put off planning for Fourth Of July and ended up climbing on our roof to watch the fireworks from the ballpark. So this year we were set on having an awesome 4th. Where do you go in the Bay Area for extra special days? San Francisco of course!
You know the saying I left my heart in San Francisco? Well it’s true. The city is always packed with hidden gems and wonders in the shapes of street performers, street art, interesting foodie finds and history.
However parking in SF is usually a disaster and on a holiday? No way. So we opted to take the BART into the city and got off at the stop nearest to the Ferry building.
The Ferry Building is one of my favorite places to peruse when we stop in the city. It’s full of foodie shops, however a bit over priced so I limit my purchases. We first found lunch at The Slanted Door (an awesome little take out Vietnamese style place with lots of veg options).
My mom and I opted to split the fresh tofu spring rolls and the Lemongrass Tofu with rice. They were both absolutely delicious. I loved how the spring rolls had some sautéed seasoned veggies in them that gave them a great flavor. You hardly even needed to dip them in sauce! However the spicy peanut sauce was too good to pass up and was an excellent compliment to the flavors of the roll. The lemongrass tofu was phenomenal as well. The flavors were great, the sauce wasn’t too heavy and it was heavy on the veggies as well which I loved.
(a mushroom shop with over 30 + kinds of mushrooms)
After we left the Ferry Building we headed down the street passing each Pier as we went. I always wondered why it suddenly goes from Pier 19 to Pier 23?
It was a beautiful day in SF and for while I was glad I wore shorts (I would regret that later) but the wind was strong.
(Red white and Blue 🙂 )
We finally arrived at Pier 39 and explored there for awhile, but having been to SF and the Pier about a million times there’s only so long you can spend there. It’s lots of tourist-y shops. I wandered over to where the seals usually are, but no luck they were gone that day. They Love to lounge around the rocks.
Our destination for dinner was The Off The Grid food truck bonanza in Fort Mason Historical Point located just about a half of a Mile from the Pier and so we wandered there watching a few hilarious street magicians on the way. If your ever in Sf stop and watch one of them! Most of them give very creative performances.
When we finally climbed to the top of the steep hill at Fort Mason Center (Sf and its hills…) the view was amazing! We could see Alcatraz clearly and the Golden Gate Bridge with it’s familiar tendrils of fog winding around it’s suspensions. While we caught our breath we looked through their telescopes zooming in on the bridge and the bay, we didn’t spot anything too exciting but still pretty cool views.
Since Off the Grid didn’t start for another hour or so we found a bench to hang out on and watch the crowds in the park while enjoying some homemade Glo Bars. It looked like there were a ton of college students there for the firework show! By that time I was freezing and starting to regret the shorts so I had wrapped my spare jacket around my legs.
When we headed down to Off the Grid I was surprised by just how many food trucks there were! Everything from Cronuts to Gourmet French Food and Bizzare Popsicles.
After looking around my mom and I settled for Indian food as we wanted something hot and warming. I opted for the vegan spinach curry and fresh baked naan.
And it was delicious! The naan was freshly baked and absolutely perfect. The spinach curry was packed with flavor and a subtle spice. It was perfect!
At Off the Grid they did have a few vegan options mainly at the Indian Food Truck: Curry Up Now (points for creative name!) and the tent we ate at. The coffee and donut booth had almond milk to put into your coffee and the popsicle truck was almost all vegan except for two flavors. of course I wish out of the 20 + trucks there were a few more options, but I’ll take what i can get.
They also played great music at the event! Stuff you would actually want to dance too and nothing vulgar or with cringe-worthy lyrics. (Not really my style)
By that time it was getting close to sundown so we headed back to the aquatic center to find seats on the grass to watch the fireworks show.
Since we had about 1 and a half hours until it started I searched for the closest Starbucks in desperate need of something hot too drink. Luckily there was one a few blocks away. So my mom and I left my brother and his girlfriend to guard our spots on the grass and headed off!
BUT when we got to Starbucks the line was out the door so we waited about 25 minutes in the wind and cold to get inside and order. When we got to the counter I was prepared to order a soy latte only to find out they were out of soy milk! Agh! I was super disappointed and settled for hot tea. Balancing all of our drinks we headed back working our way through the crowds. I also managed to pick up an overpriced fleece blanket from a corner shop on the way back 🙂
I also broke out this raw chocolate bar I picked up earlier from the Ferry Building as everyone else enjoyed their baked cookies from Starbucks. I paid $11 for this bar but i’ve been looking for it everywhere and hey when in SF right? It’s delicious by the way!
Finally the show!
They set off over 10,000 fireworks over Pier 39 and it was spectacular! Well worth the day of walking all over and fighting the wind and cold! The fog had set in a little but it only added to the show as the fireworks turned the clouds various colors and the shimmers rained down from the fog. Kind of magical.
Afterwards we were lucky to catch the first extremely crowded bus to the BART station (we passed several bus stops full of people waiting for buses) and made it to the BART station. Only to find they had no restroom and so we had to hurry back up to the street and across to a very shady Taco Bell to use their restroom. Finally once everyone was good to go we hurried back down to the station and caught the train.
We were all exhausted by that time (11 pm) and were glad to be sitting down! However once we got close to our stop we all got off one stop to early and had to wait for the next train( which also happened to be the last one of the night) to finally reach our destination! Needless to say we were all tired and glad to be home finally at 2 am.
Itr was quite an adventure but well worth the exhaustion and cold! It was just so much fun to be with family and experience the city. SF is a magical place.