San Francisco Staycation


I am often guilty of taking tons of photos when I travel elsewhere but totally neglecting my own beautiful surroundings when I’m back in California. The solution? A hearty dose of staycation (vacationing at home!).

My boyfriend Jesse was coming to San Francisco for a business conference, just as he did last year (when we first started hanging out), and so I seized the chance to stay with him downtown and to explore San Francisco anew. The first two days were very rainy, but the city shined through, and it returned to our default sixties-and-sunny by the end of the week.

This was one of the most wonderful gifts, to embrace my inner tourist and gain a new appreciation for this beautiful place I get to call home.

While Jesse went off to the Dreamforce conference, I borrowed a giant black hotel umbrella and marched through the rain to go exploring.

A San Francisco classic–The Powell Street cable car.

I walked around Union Square, an area I usually avoid due to terrible parking and too many tourists. But it was fun to see it from a new perspective.

Beautiful Maiden Lane.

On my to-do list: the only Frank Lloyd Wright building in all of San Francisco. It was a predecessor to Wright’s famous spiral staircase design for the Guggenheim Museum, and you can see the echoes in the design. It’s now the Xanadu Gallery and open to the public.

I stopped by the Apple Store and said hi to my friend Young.

And then it was back up to the hotel, when the rain finally cleared and the skies turned blue.

Excursion two was to San Francisco Chinatown, also not an area where I usually spend much time, but our hotel was just down the street.

We stopped by the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which is a tiny one-room shop where workers fold the little cookie circles around the fortunes all day long. You have to pay 50 cents to take pictures, which I went ahead and did. If you ever want to know more about these American inventions, Jenny 8 Lee’s Fortune Cookie Chronicles is a great, super entertaining read.

And to cap off the day, those gorgeous city views at dusk.

Dinner from the first night was at Commonwealth, a great restaurant in the Mission.

Dinner on the first full day: RN74, a Michael Mina restaurant in SoMa.

Day two began with a walk across Market Street.

We grabbed lunch at Tava Indian Kitchen, which was started by three friends of mine (two of whom we meet for dinner later in this day).

The afternoon excursion: a stroll down San Francisco’s Union Street, packed with boutiques and Victorian houses.

Cars stacked on hills.

Perfect. =)

Dinner at 1601 Bar & Kitchen– one of my new faves, thanks to my friend Jen who introduced us to it when Yifan came to visit last month! It’s French cooking, tapas style, with Sri-Lankan influences.

With Vijay, Jason, and Deanna (and Taz, Anika, and Jesse not pictured).

And for the last night of my downtown hotel stay, we headed up the hill to grab drinks with a view at the San Francisco classic, Top of the Mark.

And that was my taste of touristing in San Francisco. To be continued with a day in Sausalito and more around the Bay. Many thanks to Jesse for inviting me along– I suppose this is one of the silver linings to being in a coast-to-coast long distance relationship!

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Find her on facebook for more daily adventures, and view more of her professional work at