CA: San Francisco, USA

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The Golden Gate Bridge, a beacon of light in the Night Sky.

There’s a lure to San Francisco, one that makes you believe in your dreams no matter how improbable they may seem. Since the city’s early days it has been a haven for pathfinders and Mavericks.

In the late 1840’s San Francisco came to be, almost overnight. In 1949, the city of San Francisco saw its first boom as thousands of young dreamers headed west to embark on the Gold Rush. During this time, San Francisco’s population swelled, and the city quickly became the most populous and important city in the American West.

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If a ball flies into the waters of the Bay. It’s a home run for the score, and a lazy walk for the hitter.

Today, the city is still home to thousands of dreamers hoping to strike gold in the tech rush. The city and the greater Bay Area is home to Uber, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Lyft, Airbnb, Apple, nest, and many more.

My first visit to San Francisco was as a 10-year-old, nearly 20 years ago. I remember my first time in the city vividly, how could I not, when I had the luck of meeting Robin Williams (my favorite actor at the time.) Linguistically, I also remember just how cool I thought I was, referring to the Golden Gate city as San Fran. (Which apparently is just a Canadianism for the city, EVERYONE else refers to the city as SF.)

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Posing, like DJ Tanner – in the opening credits of Full House.

As a 30-year-old, returning to the city, I enjoyed re-visiting memories and sights from my past. Of course, I still had to ride a cable car, and strike my best DJ Tanner (from Full House). It’s funny what you remember as a kid; I remember thinking San Francisco was the BIGGEST city in the world. I couldn’t believe how long it took to drive places.

This time around, I was surprised by how contained the city is. San Francisco itself is referred to by locals as the 7×7. The nickname is earned by the city’s compact milage; San Francisco proper covers only 7 square miles. Making the city perfect for day excursions by foot.

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5 of the 7 painted ladies overlooking Alamo Square.

As a Western Canadian, San Francisco is ridiculously easy to get to. Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver all have daily direct flights. Before heading to SF, be sure to pack some good walking flats, sweaters and a raincoat. To quote Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever saw, was the summer I spent in San Francisco.”

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When in San Francisco: 

  • Stay at the Fairmount San Francisco, This castle on the hill will transport you back in time, as you’re imagination wanders to the golden age of Hollywood and Politics.
  • Take the ferry to Alcatraz, and enjoy a guided tour of the most infamous prison in the United States.
  • Dine at Gracies Madres, a delicious vegan Mexican restaurant.
  • Sweat, get in a Barre Fight at SALT (is the cure) and burn out your core at Avant Barre.
  • Spend some of your hard-earned cash, shopping the boutiques of Hayes Valley.
  • Pose for your necessary SF Instagram shots in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cable Car, Painted Ladies, and Union Square.
  • Buy some peanuts and cracker jacks, as you cheer for the SF Giants at AT&T Park.
  • Dance the night away at The Tonga Room, the tackiest yet coolest tiki bar I have ever been to.
  • Enjoy the people watching, on Market St. (San Francisco has some REAL characters.)
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