Touring San Francisco with my parents

My parents drove all the way from Austin to visit us over Labor Day weekend. It was the first time they got to see our new home, not to mention the first time my mom had been to San Francisco since before I was born. It was also the first time we had anyone stay with us overnight, hence the aforementioned preparations.

Their trip gave us an excuse to be tourists in our own city, which is a role we always enjoy playing. On Saturday we took them on a driving tour that included Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Lands End, and Union Square. Then on Sunday we had lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf, visited the Musée Mécanique, and checked out the old boats at the Hyde Street Pier.

Bow of the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien
Bow of the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien

View of Coit Tower from Fisherman's Wharf
Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill as seen from Fisherman’s Wharf


Extensive rigging on the Balclutha

On Monday, Labor Day, we decided to visit Muir Woods. Normally I try to avoid uber-popular tourist destinations on holiday weekends, but this time we threw caution to the wind, got an early start, and crossed our fingers in hopes that we’d find a place to park. Naturally the lots were full when we arrived, but we found a spot along the road not too far from the entrance.

Sun shining through the redwoods at Muir Woods
Sun shining through the redwoods

Looking up at the redwoods at Muir Woods
Looking up at the redwoods

Glowing circle of redwoods at Muir Woods
Glowing circle of redwoods

I thought for sure I’d been to Muir Woods before, but when we finally set foot in the park (technically it’s a “National Monument”), I realized I had no recollection of the place. So it was a first time for all of us. The trails consisted of several interconnected loops of varying lengths, making them accessible to people of any fitness level/desire. My parents opted for the longest circuit, so we turned off onto the more rugged Hillside Trail, and climbed up among the spectacular coast redwoods.

Brian, Stephanie, Kathleen, and Justin at Muir Woods
Group shot at Muir Woods

We finished our hike about 2 hours later, and decided to take our picnic lunch up to the top of Mt Tam. The drive there did not disappoint, as the Pacific was covered with a dense blanket of fog, while the Bay and most of San Francisco remained visible. It’s one of those surreal qualities of the Golden Gate that has to be seen to be appreciated.

View of San Francisco and the fog from Mt Tamalpais
San Francisco and the fog from Mt Tam