LOCATION: San Francisco, CA.
This item is part of my Trek America Trip Series.
I had signed up for a Trek America tour of a bunch of places out West. My tour would begin in San Francisco and end in Los Angeles. Even though the tour started in San Francisco, we weren’t actually going to see anything there. Therefore, I decided to go up three days ahead of time and explore the city myself.
The hotel I booked was located in an amazing spot. I had picked the Union Square Plaza hotel in Union Square, which was the middle of everything! While the location was great, my hotel was not. Upon arrival, I noticed the worn down look of the hotel. This was expected because of the cheap price I paid. However, when checking in the rep said he didn’t have a key for me. The rooms used actual keys to get in, like medieval looking keys, and he had misplaced it. He casually said that I could leave the door unlocked until he found one. I then said “no, you can give me a different room and find the key instead.” He agreed and then explained that I would need to move rooms once that happened. Again, I said no. I explained that it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t need to be inconvenienced. Reluctantly, he agreed and sent me to my new room.
I walked up to the third floor where my room was located. The hotel smelled of mildew and oldness. The lights in the hallway flickered as I walked and at any moment, I was waiting for a young girl to walk down the hallway and break in two like in the horror films. My room was even worse. As soon as I walked in, I knew someone had to have been killed in there. It was just the feeling I had. Any time a door opened in the hotel, my door would make a slamming sound and scare me. There was also no AC or heat in the room. The window was broken as well, which left a large hole in between the window and frame. Any cold air on the outside was now in the room. I slept that night in all my clothes, gloves and thermal sleeping bag since it was so cold. I also, was unable to sleep. There was a party going on in the room above mine and all I could hear were people talking and laughing. Around 2AM, a girl began to scream. Her screams were consistent and loud for about an hour. Was she getting murdered too? I stayed bundled in my sleeping bag regardless. Then, around 5AM, I had protesters outside my window chanting “what do we want” and “when we gonna get it?” AGH!
After a sleepless night, I woke early to meet my tour. I was going on a tour of San Francisco, Muir Woods and Sausalito. The tour bus picked me up and we quickly began our tour of San Francisco. The tour took us around Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and up the hilly roads of the city. However, we never once got out of the bus. I was under the impression that we would get out and walk around. We never did though. We were also supposed to get a photo opt of the Golden Gate bridge, but sadly, the fog had the best of the city that day and we couldn’t see anything. The tour then took us to Muir Woods, which you can read about HERE. After Muir Woods, we stopped in a small, but expensive town called Sausalito. I stayed around the park there and ate lunch and enjoyed the sunshine.
After lunch, the tour would take us back to headquarters. The main location was right outside Fisherman’s Wharf. I decided to forgo my ride back to the hotel so I could actually explore the area. Fisherman’s Wharf was huge and lots of great restaurants and bars were in the area. They are famous for their clam chowder served in a bread bowl. I’m not a fan of clam chowder though, so I never tried it. I walked along the bank and was able to see Alcatraz. The island it was on wasn’t too far from the city and looked cool. I didn’t have a desire to go to Alcatraz, however once I got here I heard that the night time tours were amazing and not to be missed. Sadly, the night tours were booked months in advanced. At least I have an excuse to come back though. After passing Alcatraz, I made my way to a pier. From the pier, I was able to see views of the Golden Gate Bridge without any fog. I definitely wanted to be closer though.
Finally after walking around for hours and eating some dinner, I made it back to the hotel. I slept that night until again I was woken at 2AM from women screaming. I was definitely scared in this hotel.
The next morning, I woke early again for my tour to Sonoma and Napa Valley for some wine tasting. You can read about those experiences HERE. While driving to the locations, the driver explained that my hotel had a bar on top of it that was a drag bar. That would explain all the party commotion at late hours. Now I wondered if the 2AM screams were from a woman…or a man. HA!
My stay in the city was great. I was able to see a lot. Next time, I need to travel with someone so I can experience the nightlife and explore even more. I haven’t gotten comfortable yet with walking at night alone or going to bars alone on vacations, and probably won’t ever be comfortable with that.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: San Francisco is a great city! I will be back.
HOW TO DO THIS:
Union Square Plaza Hotel: http://www.usphotel.com/
San Francisco Tours: http://www.allsanfranciscotours.com/