After spending a week in Southern California and two days driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Jordan and I rolled into the bay area. We would be spending the weekend with friends who recently moved to this part of California.
Saturday we slept-in and ate donuts from a local shop before venturing to downtown San Jose for the afternoon. It was the perfect amount of time spent out of the house without being overly exhausting.
Sunday we settled into a delicious home cooked breakfast of dutch babies (which I've been meaning to make ever since) and large cups of coffee before hitting the road! Our agenda for the day? The Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown!
I'm glad our first day in San Francisco was spent with friends, as our previous knowledge of the city was slim. Unlike New York City, where many many movies/televisions shows are set, giving you a general knowledge of the city; the layout of SF was still a little foggy for us.
Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge is exhilarating! The bridge is beautiful and majestic. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny which I later learned is uncommon! We drove our cars across the bridge hoping to find a place to park to take pictures. Because it was Sunday, we had to park a little further away than we originally desired, but I still felt like our vantage point gave us a great view. We didn't stay for very long as my pregnant bladder began calling for a bathroom!
We drove back across the Golden Gate Bridge to Crissy Field and its beach for a different view. This is also where our maternity photos were snapped. Crissy Field has a large (free) parking lot and community center and despite it being the weekend, we had no trouble finding parking.
Something about the combination of blue-green water and mountains really elevate The Golden Gate Bridge. If I wasn't pregnant, biking across would have been worth the experience.
^ The infamous Hasselblad camera.
^ THESE KIDS!!
Our grumbling stomaches gently reminded us it was time for lunch. We sought out a dim-sum restaurant, but most of them offered limited or no seating at all. We opted for convenience (i.e seating) over a traditional dim-sum experience. We did enjoy some delicious dumplings though!
Growing up in Chicago, it seemed like anytime my family would visit the city we had to make a stop in Chinatown. My parents live on the Southside so it was extremely accessible with free parking and inexpensive, but delicious food (inexpensive is key with two teenage brothers!). BUT compared to Chicago's Chinatown San Francisco's Chinatown is in a whole other league.
Jordan and I later learned San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest in North America and houses the largest Chinese community outside of Asia! It's also one of the most densely populated urban areas in the country.
Part of the reason why Chinatown remains so closely tied to its culture, is its history of exclusion. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed which prohibited Chinese from immigrating to the United States. And for those who were already here? Essentially, the government forced them to live in close proximity with one another as further family members weren't allowed to immigrate. SF Chinatown started as a government ghetto.
^ An agenda isn't needed when visiting Chinatown. There are unique shops full of interesting trinkets and all the people watching one could desire.
^ Jordan and I purchased a box full of pastries for $10 at Eastern Bakery! So cheap and yet, so delicious. My favorite was this almond roll that resembled a swiss roll -- though obviously not Swiss! You'll even be treated with old photos of President Clinton's visit in the early 90s. HA.