San Francisco in 24 hours

San Francisco should have been my first blog-post about the U.S. cities, because I admire it a lot. I already visited San Francisco more than 5 times, and it never gets old. It's one of the most liberal, laid back and colorful cities you will ever discover in the United States of America. People always ask me, how many days they should plan on spending in SF. Believe it or not, you can experience the most popular parts of San Francisco within a day, if you leave your hotel very early in the morning. Of course, the ideal time for your visit should be around 3 to 4 nights.

Every time I get back to my favorite city in California, I'm mostly traveling with different people, and I have to introduce them to the beautiful city of San Francisco. Below you can see a map, how I start my journey:

  1. {green} Union Square
  2. {blue} North Beach / Coit Tower
  3. {yellow} Bay Area
  4. {orange} Lombard Street
  5. {grey} Alamo Square
  6. {red} Haight-Street
  7. {pink} Castro



I usually try to get a hotel around Union Square, even though it's the less charming part of the city. It's surrounded by the most common shops and shopping malls, that you will find in any other U.S. city. But Union Square is always busy, and mostly very safe at night. There's a big selection of restaurants and bars, and some of those are busy every day, so you don't lose time on finding a right spot to socialise with the locals or other travelers. During my stay in San Francisco, I always get food at The Old Siam Thai, it's cheap, always delicious, and their service is super fast. Try the Thai-Icetea!


If you walk straight up north from Union Square, you will walk all the way through Chinatown, til you reach North Beach, the italian neighbourhood of SF. There's not "that much" to check out in Chinatown, nor in North Beach. But I love having a coffee at the TRIESTE cafe. It's very italian-like, and you can watch the locals getting by and grabbing a coffee. Considering some articles I read online, Francis Ford Coppola wrote much of his screen-play for his masterpiece "Godfather" in that coffee-bar. 

Move up north, and check out the small, but lovely Coit-Tower. You will notice the tower, from too many places all around San Francisco. It's located on the top of a hill. For only a couple of bucks, you can get on top of the tower, to take some beautiful photographs of the city.

"Saint Peter & Paul Church" is located west of the Coit-Tower, the church where Marilyn Monroe, and the legendary baseball player Joe Dimaggio got married. 


Still head up north, til you reach the beautiful bay area of the city. Check out "Pier 39", do some shopping, grab some delicious sea-food, and take some photos of Alcatraz Island. "Pier 39" is a very touristic place, but you will still enjoy it, if it's your first trip to San Francisco. The sea lions, the Fisherman's Wharf sign, the last cablecar stop, ... there's so much "San Francisco" in the bay area, and of course the straigh view on the Golden Gate bridge [if it's not too foggy]. That's usually the place where I have my lunch/brunch. Visiting Alcatraz will cost you lot a of time, and mostly you gotta wait a couple of hours after you bought your tickets. Sometime it's even soldout and you need to get a ticket for a different day.

After filling your stomach with seafood, walk west towards the Aquatic Cove, and from that point it goes uphill again, til you reach the famous curvy Lombard Street. 



If you feel like it's becoming a long day already, or if you wanna save some energy for the evening, get a cab for a couple of bucks, and take a ride to Alamo Square. Everybody will recognize Alamo Square from the Tv-Serie "Fullhouse". Sit back, enjoy the view, and drink a delicious coffee at one of the coffee-places around the square.



From Alamo Square, you're only a couple of blocks away from Haight Street and the beautiful Buenavista Park, however it will take you 30-45 minutes to walk through its green area. Follow Haight Street towards Golden Gate Park, and discover the craziness, the hippies, and the creative shops of Haight Street. Love it, or hate it! I love spending some hours in the local clothing shops, book stores, and of course the holy music store called Amoeba. If you love buying records or CDs, Amoeba is a must! It's the biggest music store I've ever been to.

After Haight Street, it's up to you, if you prefer visiting the Golden Gate Park, and its Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Botanical Garden, or Stow Lake. The second alternative would be the worldfamous gay neighbourhood called CASTRO.  I'd recommend Castro.  Golden Gate Park is just too big, to walk through it. Save the park-tour for a different day, take a bus ride and check out the peaceful and colorful Castro area. Everybody who visited Castro, loved it... trust me. :)


You've made it ! You've seen "a lot" of San Francisco on your first day, but there's still so much to check out in San Francisco. I'd never recommend to visit the city in one single day. It's just too much at a time, and you will not enjoy, nor discover the big heart of the city.

But if you're only having a stop-over in San Fran, i'd recommend following this plan.





Seattle, WA

The first thing that pops up in your head when you hear about Seattle, might be "Nirvana" or the grunge-era. At least that was the case for me, before I visited Seattle, WA.

I didn't know much about the city, til I met my buddy Tony in New Orleans during Mardi-Gras. After a couple of drinks in Nola, we shared contacts, and invited each other to our hometown. That's how i made it to Seattle. After having convinced my girlfriend back then, we decided to do the whole westcoast on one single trip. Seattle was the first city on our journey.

Seattle is a pretty big city, and you definitely need a car to move around. It depends on where you're staying at, it can easily take 1 hour bus ride to make it to the different areas in Seattle.

Well the famous "Space Needle" tower, was all I wanted to see. But i was so wrong! First of all, after our first day, I noticed how big their coffee culture is! The first Starbucks coffee shop, was opened in Seattle in 1971 just nearby the Pike Place Market. In that area, you can find so many different coffee bars, and every single coffee i had in Seattle was just amazing. Since that trip I started enjoying my coffee "black", without any sugar or milk. Tony took me to different coffee drive-ins, and shared his knowledge of coffee roasting. Besides the coffee culture, there's an even bigger beer culture in Seattle! But i can't tell about that, as i'm not a beer drinker.

The food was delicious ! I had the best alaskan salmon, the best oysters, and generally the best sea food in Seattle.  It seemed like fastfood wasn't such a big thing in that city. 

There's so much nature to discover in the state of Washington and around Seattle. Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains are surrounding the city. While talking to the people in Seattle I could notice the importance of nature for them. Tony and his friends knew so many precise stories about the different mountains, lakes, and woods all around Seattle. Most of the houses in the suburbs were built with their local wood. 

But don't get the idea that Seattle would be a lumberjack city. During our stay there was a big block party on Capitol Hill, and so many bands were playing that weekend. As i was told Capitol Hill is the main gay-block of the city. The streets were packed with punk-kids, hipsters, and even older people who were having a good time, and enjoying bands like: Tv on the Radio, Les Savy Fav, Baths,...

BALLARD - was one of my favorite neighbourhoods in the city. You can find so many different shops, from the famous recordstore "Bop Street", to different tattoo parlours, good restaurants, and diy designer shops. 

FREMONT - a less busier area for shopping, but still it's totally worth to check out. You will find lots of street-wear shops, a big wall-painting of Shepard Fairey [OBEY], a statue of Lenin, and of course the Fremont Troll ! If you wanna grab lunch in Fremont, i'd recommend the delicious "Jai Thai" restaurant. 

For a more morbid adventure in Seattle, you can visit the different memorial statues of Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and the graves of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee. Visiting the grave of Bruce Lee was very interesting though. The grave is located at the Lakeview Memorial cemetery. Not only you could still see lots of fans visiting Bruce Lee´s grave with their most respectful behaviour, some were even crying. The Lakeview Memorial is the nicest cemetery i´ve ever visited. From the top of the hill, you have a beautiful scenic view all over the city. 


Sea Rock Inn {Mendocino, CA}

One of the most memorable hotels i've ever stayed at in the USA, was the Sea Rock Inn in Mendocino, California. 

Heard about the Sir Douglas Quintet song "Mendocino" ?  "Please stay here with me in Mendocino, Mendocino, Mendocino, Where life's such a groove". That's exactly what Mendocino feels like. A small village with the all beauty and magic you expect to happen in California.

And the Sea Rock Inn, was just the perfect match to our short stay in Mendocino. You can choose between different cottages or bigger suites. We had a small wooden cottage, just next to the Mendocino coast. As soon as you stepped out of the cottage, you had an amazing panoramic view of the ocean. Perfect for watching the most romantic sunset.

Our room was equipped with a small stove, to heat up the room during colder nights. The location was alright. It tooks us 10-15 minutes walking to reach the city center. Free parking was available as well, just behind our cottage. 

The "Sea Rock Inn" just felt like a total different experience compared to most other californian cities i've been to. Forget about the glamour, the hipsters, and all the bling bling. I'd recommend Mendocino to every couple who wants to have a break from the big city life. Enjoy the nature, the lovely people of Mendocino, and the delicious sea food.

If I  had to go back to Mendocino, the "SEA ROCK INN" would be definitely be the place i'd love to stay at again. The breathtaking view from the porch outside the cottage is all worth it.

Breakfast was delicious as well. The lovely staff took care of everything. And again from the breakfast room, you could enjoy the beautiful scenery around the hotel.

Sea Rock Inn
11101 Lansing Street
Mendocino, CA 95460