San Francisco

Earlier in January I visited my very good friend Mae in San Jose, CA. It's been five long years since we last met and it was back in the Philippines! So I booked my flight with Delta because the Skymiles I have earned do not expire. San Jose is about an hour south from San Francisco and my first out-of-state travel destination this year. On the night of my arrival, I had dinner with my dear friends Pamela and Mae at the Italian restaurant Maggiano's and visited the upscale shopping and dining complex Santana Row.

San Francisco (SFO) has always been near the top of my bucket list for quite a while now and I finally get to see the Golden Gate Bridge from a different view. You should definitely include this in your itinerary plus the views are crazy beautiful! The picturesque views are near Baker Beach and from the Marin Headlands (everyone knows that!). This means you may need to walk further, trek some hills and quickly find a parking space because there are plenty of tourists in this undoubtedly most photographed landmark in the city. Another thing worth mentioning is that SFO is not really a big city in terms of land area. It is much smaller than Baltimore and very walkable. The weather is cool but not cold. Warm but not hot. So dress comfortably!

Palace of Fine Arts
I would also recommend visiting the Palace of Fine Arts for taking pictures. There are less tourists and more time for selfies. There is a parking lot in the vicinity so you do not have to walk very far. Parking is free on holidays. Otherwise the hourly rates are pretty decent. 

Stopover in Monterey

If you have an extra day or two, you absolutely need to drive through the Pacific Coast Highway at least once in your life. 

Pamela and the giant clam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

It is a scenic route with one of the most beautiful coastlines for miles. Pamela and I drove from San Jose to Monterey for about an hour and a half and stopped for lunch and some sightseeing at the Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. After that we drove further south for a little over an hour towards Big Sur. We were on a mission to find the breathtaking McWay Falls. It took a little more time than I anticipated because there were really no signs along the highway to point you in that direction and you will find that Google Maps is not so useful either because the cellular signal here is almost nonexistent so you just have to find it by doing your research to pinpoint exactly where it is. We found it a few miles south of Bixby Bridge so once you cross that bridge, slow down a little and start looking for that familiar seascape. 

Finally, enjoy the sunset.

McWay Falls along the Pacific Coast Highway

And as always, safe travels!

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