Last weekend we spent the 4th of July celebrating in San Francisco with our family and friends. Our July 4th plans tend to vary a bit from year to year depending on what we feel like doing. When our kids were younger we spent many years in Mexico celebrating the 4th soaking up as much sun as we could……San Francisco bay area summers tend to be on the mild side and sometimes we just crave warm summer nights, which can definitely be found south of the border. Then we went into party mode for several years, hosting small gatherings with family and friends followed by local fireworks, but last year we decided to head to San Francisco to change things up a bit. It was a hit with our pre-teen and teen so we decided to do it again this year by adding a fun bike ride to the mix with friends, who have kids similar in age to ours. We all arrived in San Francisco to cool and foggy conditions around 9:15 am where we all met at our hotel. Once we had our group of nine assembled we were off to Blazing Saddles! I had been wanting to try this bike company for many years and finally decided to give it a try with our group. It’s funny that I’ve done so many bike tours in other cities, but never in my own home town! I’ve watched them bike by us so many times in the past while walking on one of my favorite paths in the city, and their guides always seemed so enthusiastic and fun! Well, I can now tell you that we all had a great ride with Blazing Saddles! I’m glad I finally decided to give this company a try!
We started from Aquatic Park and made our way over to the Marina Blvd path before veering over to the Palace of Fine Arts for a quick history lesson. This is a beautiful place to spend at least an hour walking around or a peaceful place to have a picnic.
Our next stop was the Crissy Field path. I can’t even believe how lucky we are to have this incredibly beautiful path right in our own backyard! Great place to walk your dog, bike, or run with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world!
As you can see from these pictures it was foggy, but actually really nice weather to bike in. I’m not going to lie to you, there were a few hills that we had to bike up in order to get to the GG Bridge. Now of course if we were doing this ride on our own, with our slightly moody teens, they would have complained about going up the hills and probably would have walked their bikes up the hill in agony! But throw in a cute, young tour guide and a few other teens for some competition, and all of a sudden they become wonder woman! The blessing of a cute and enthusiastic guide!
We made it across the bridge and the kids had a ball “Snap Chatting” their friends and taking fun pics of themselves with their selfie stick…..seriously, can I throw that thing away now!?
What is that I see in the distance…….the sun came out on the other side of the bridge and just in time to head down into Sausalito to have lunch on the water! This picture gives you an idea as to how wide the sidewalk is for the ride….quite spacious!
We arrived in Sausalito to warm and sunny conditions and this is when I could have really used some sunscreen……of all things, my hands and wrists got seriously burnt! I guess my hands won’t be in a hand lotion commercial now that they’ve aged about five more years!
Once in Sausalito, this is where the ride concludes, and where you say farewell to your charming guides. The great thing about this ride is that you now to get to take the ferry back to SF where you return your bike, or you can keep your bike until later in the evening! Such a bonus being able to keep your bike for awhile and meander around the city for a bit!
We decided to have lunch at Trident in Sausalito, which has a lovely outdoor space overlooking the bay. A table for the kids and a table for the adults…perfect!
After lunch we boarded the ferry and headed back to the city where the ferry dropped us off at the Ferry Building. A great place to stop in for a light afternoon snack or a quick coffee. If you are looking for a place to have lunch then you must stop by my absolute favorite spot for lunch or dinner, The Slanted Door. I probably have a million Open Table points there…..that is how much I enjoy dining at this phenomenonal Vietnamese restaurant with amazing views of the bay! A must if you haven’t been.
After a quick pit stop at the Ferry Building we were off to check in to our home away from home for the night…..oh, and check our bikes back in at Blazing Saddles. We were out on our bikes for about 5 hours and had a ball. Our home for the night was the lovely, and very conveniently located, Fairmont Heritage Place at Ghiradelli Square. This is typically where we stay when going into the city with our family. We love being close to the Marina District and enjoy the access to Crissy Field from this hotel. Not to mention the proximity to the cable car stop and Buena Vista, which is a must for an Irish coffee night cap! And it is right across from Aquatic Park where we had a front row seat to the fireworks with out ever having to leave the hotel!
Great view of the Bay from the terrace!
Close to the Hyde Street cable car stop
The next morning we left the hotel around 11am and headed over to Chestnut Street in the Marina District……mom and dad wanted coffee and the teens wanted to stop by Brandy Melville. After a quick stop we were off to the Sutro Baths and to Outerlands in the Outer Sunset for brunch. We took El Camino Del Mar along the coast where you have absolutely amazing views of the Pacific and of the Golden Gate Bridge. The day after the 4th was amazingly beautiful with clear blue skies and the kind of day where you just pinch yourself that you live in this amazing place.
The Sutro Baths are a very interesting thing to see if you are driving along the coast and a great place to let the kids run around for a bit, and if you have younger ones, I’m sure they could spend an hour climbing and exploring around. This beautiful area is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and while you’re in the vicinity, you should check out the beautiful Baker Beach to the north or Ocean Beach to the south.
Here are some of the original Sutro Bath ruins.
We really enjoyed our weekend in San Francisco celebrating the 4th and I look forward to doing it again next year! I think the key is getting in to the city early before traffic, and parking your car for the night and just leaving it! Our kids are still talking about how much they enjoyed the bike ride! If you live locally and are looking for a fun excursion I would highly recommend this, or if you have friends in town visiting this would be a fun activity to do with them!
If you are visiting from out of town I would highly recommend doing this activity as you will see so many great sights in San Francisco in a relatively short period of time!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again real soon!