This past weekend, I got to visit San Francisco with my dad for a short trip to the West Coast. Considering that I’ve never been to the West Coast before and that he’s been working out in California on a lot of business trips recently, it seemed like a good time as any to visit and spend a weekend there. While it wasn’t as exotic as traveling to a foreign country, visiting San Francisco and California for the first time was still exciting.
Surprisingly, flying over to San Fran during the government shutdown wasn’t as difficult or as stressful as I expected it to be. I thought that there’d be long lines to get through security and not as many TSA agents working, but with my flight out being in the middle of a Thursday afternoon, there was hardly any wait to get through security, just as many TSA workers as before, and still a strict security check on the way into the airport.
After arriving in San Francisco, my dad and I spent most of the weekend sightseeing and doing all of the typical tourist-y stuff that people do when they visit the city for the first time. We visited Alcatraz Island and did an audio tour; despite the government being shut down and Alcatraz being a national park, they still allowed people to visit the island and take audio tours, but any guided tours & night tours of the island weren’t being given because of the shutdown. Unfortunately, just as we were leaving the island and heading back to San Francisco, we heard that the government was going to be reopened. We assumed that it would still take another day or two for the guided tours and night tours to reopen, so we weren’t too upset at not having a guided or night tour (the night tour would’ve been both spooky and cool to go on)
We visited Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Ghirardelli Square, and the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Coit Tower and the Francis Ford Coppola winery had less tourists than Fisherman’s Wharf (which I found similar to a boardwalk in Ocean City or Wildwood, New Jersey), Lombard Street, and the Golden Gate Bridge, but they were just as amazing to visit. I was surprised by a couple of things, namely:
- It’s extremely windy (and slightly cold) when you’re walking across the Golden Gate Bridge (which is named after the Golden Gate Straight)
- Lombard Street is relatively short (I thought it would’ve been a longer stretch of road)
- The Francis Ford Coppola Winery has all of Francis Ford Coppola’s awards AND the original desk from the first Godfather movie
We also saw a Cirque du Soleil show and a show called Beach Blanket Babylon, one of America’s longest running revues. I’ve seen Cirque du Soleil only once before – one time during my freshman year of college – and I’m still astounded at the sheer talent that the performers have during every single show. Each show is stunning and definitely doesn’t disappoint, so it’s worth seeing if/when you get a chance to see it. The Beach Blanket Babylon show was quite fun to see as well – it’s a comedy show poking fun at pop culture and can get raunchy at some points (just in case you decide to bring you’re kids with you).
All in all, the short but tourism-filled weekend in San Francisco was fun and a much needed break from the cold, bleak weather of Pennsylvania (I’m currently sitting and watching both the snow and outside temperature fall as I cuddle more underneath some warm blankets). Regardless, I’d still like to visit San Francisco again and try to visit some other parts of California and the West Coast when I visit again in the future.
Don’t forget to check out the Travel page if you’re interested in traveling, too! There are some helpful hints and tips there for your future travels.
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As an recent college graduate who studied media studies and anthropology in college, Briana Maddox enjoys learning about different cultures, traditions, holidays, historical figures, experiences, and opinions. With a vested interest in sharing such learning experiences, Briana created Life & Anthropology in the hopes of helping other people gain a better understanding and working knowledge of such topics.