With part of our booking at the hotel we had breakfast included at the Daily Grill next door to the hotel. You had three different options to choose from, American breakfast, granola or pancakes. We both chose the American breakfast throughout our stay however, we would change it up by changing the options you could have. After feeling extremely full up from breakfast we walked down into Union Square, after discussing the previous night what to do today we had decided to do a bus tour to try and get our bearing and hopefully from doing the tour we could decide on the places we would like to go back to.
There are lots of ticket people for different bus companies in Union Square however, I had done my research back in the room and decided I wanted to go with the Big Bus Tours. We decided we wouldn’t book tickets through the website back at the room and just take our chances with one of the ticket people. Well we managed to get our tickets for $45 for 48 hours with no haggling at all which was cheaper than the website. If I am honest we probably could have got the guy down a bit more but we were happy with the discounted price from the website so we just went with it. We then had to wait in a queue for around 20 minutes for a bus to arrive, seems we picked an extremely busy day. I was also adamant about not getting on a bus unless we could get upstairs so we could see the sights as we were going along. An empty bus finally arrived and we managed to get seats upstairs, they do not hang around long at the stops so we were off as soon as the bus was full.
We decided to sit on the bus for the whole 2 hour loop and see all the sights. We didn’t have a tour guide on the bus but we were given free headphones so you could still listen to the facts of San Francisco as the bus went round, giving you an idea of the nice places and not so nice places around. When the tour reached Pier 39 we decided to jump off and have a nose around, so we didn’t end up staying on the bus for the complete loop but close enough. We walked down Pier 39 looking through the shops, walking all the way to the end to see the sea lions which were putting on a good show for their audience, fighting, sitting on each other and barking very loud.
We walked back down the Pier and decided to stop off at Wipeout Bar and Grill for a drink and some nachos the size of a baby. This was a great spot for people watching, we sat at the bar and spoke to the staff while trying out different cocktails. The Coronarita was a good cocktail here. We then walked back down to the sea lions, I could watch them for hours, Sam just sat on a bench somewhere until I got bored of taking photos of them, he waited a while. We then walked back through a huge candy shop which I can’t remember the name of but it sold every flavour taffy you could imagine. On our way back down Pier 39 we came across the piano stairs which when you stepped on made the piano noises, I did have a childish moment and ran up and down a few steps. We grabbed an ice cream in a homemade waffle cone just opposite the stairs, again I can’t remember the name of the place, my notes seem to have failed me for this day. However, it tasted really nice I think we chose oreo if I remember right and it lasted forever.
We then walked along the promenade, until we came across the big Fisherman’s Wharf sign and the Boudin Bakery. Watching them make the bread in the window was great the different shapes and characters they make are brilliant. We then walked through the bakery, I loved the bread baskets going round above your head transporting the bread around the bakery. We didn’t stop for clam chowder in sourdough bread, as I am not a fan of seafood and we were also so full up from the nachos that we had earlier. The Big Bus Tour main office is also just opposite the Boudin Bakery so we thought we would jump back on the bus continue the last bit of the loop that we didn’t do earlier and head back to the hotel to grab our jackets ready to do the night bus tour.
After grabbing the coats and a quick change into something warmer we jumped back on the bus at Union Square North back to Jefferson Street where the Big Bus Night Tour started. The queue for the night tour was so long, it nearly went the whole length of the street, there was also some unusual characters around this area, we even seen a man walking a goat on a lead, yes a goat. However, the guys at Big Bus were really informative letting you know when the next bus would be arriving and assuring everyone that they would get on a bus. They later told us the bus tours were so busy as two cruise ships were docked for a couple of days.
Anyway we eventually got on a bus and sat near the back where you were a little protected from the winds by the back of the bus. The night tour was brilliant they took you to some good points to see the city lights, Golden Gate Bridge and other attractions. Our tour guide had a great personality and really got everyone on the bus involved. We went over the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island for photos of the city skyline. They give you a warning just before you reach Bay Bridge that it is incredibly windy going over the bridge and they reach speeds of 50mph I think. We thought we would brave it (as you can see from the picture below), well it was like being put through a wind tunnel, I think my cheeks could have even been moving from the wind and I definitely needed a detangle comb by the time we reached Treasure Island. We had around 30 minutes to get off the bus and take some shots of the city skyline and Bay Bridge the tour guides were really helpful and happy to take your picture for you. We then headed back over the bridge to San Francisco where the tour ended back at Fisherman’s Wharf. The Big Bus Company then put on a free shuttle back to Union Square for people staying there. This was great for us, there was no tour guide but it felt like you got a bit of an extended tour.
As we hadn’t had any dinner we were a little hungry so we took the opportunity to go back to the Cheesecake Factory and have cheesecake and a hot drink to warm us up from the night tour. I went for the salted caramel cheesecake and it did not disappoint, we managed to clear the plate. Sorry I took no pictures of it, I was way too excited to eat it when it arrived. After cheesecake and eventually warming up we decided to call it a day and walked back to the hotel, around the homeless people asleep on the floor to plan what we were going to do tomorrow.