Kaya and I hit the town with our day pass ($22) that got us unlimited rides. I figured if I took three cable cars it would about pay for itself (each trip is $7 one way) and I definitely took more than that 🙂
A few tips for the uninitiated (as I was) riding with a stroller: the cable car is really high up! You have to step up and just in case there wasn’t enough pressure as you carry yourself, your child, your stroller, and diaper bag / backpack, everyone is packed in like sardines and the car stops in the middle of the intersection so you’re literally blocking all ways of traffic. Thankfully there’s a guy that will help you in the back (so head there, not the middle side entrance) and he’ll pull your stroller up and hook it on the side and you’ll get a seat inside with baby. That being said, you need to hustle. I found having my front carrier was helpful (the only other time I wore it was for plane boarding) for keeping baby in place while folding up the stroller, and wearing a backpack I could comfortably use with that as a diaper bag so I could use both hands to scramble up. It was fiiiine, and I’m sure much easier if I had my husband with me (he was in a class the whole weekend).
I took both the main cable car routes (Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde) and the bus route that went along the Wharf and beyond (more on that later) using the F line. While at the Warf I stopped for my morning coffee at Lotus Biscoffs, because they come with cookies, of course and found a spot on a pier where there was space for Kaya to run but only one entrance/exit so I could keep an eye on her.
Pier 39 is the big tourist attraction for people and sea lions alike.
At some point I noticed a touristy shop with cute kid outfits (and adults but I wasn’t going to wear horizontal stripes post baby!) saying “Escaped from Alcatraz”. Since I really enjoyed the Alcatraz tour when I went before and took some great pics of Kaya behind bars, I figured I could splurge.
Then I got on the F line and took it to the end of the line. The funny thing about google maps is you see the solid blue line for the bus portion and the blue dots for the walking portion, and it doesn’t look bad, and then you find out what roads those blue dots are on and yikes! There was one long steep hill through a neighborhood and then another long, not as steep but still a workout, hill through a park(?) to the destination: Randall Museum.
When I got to the top of the hill I needed a break and Kaya was already taking a break (she fell asleep in the stroller). Perfect time for a lunch break! I had packed a sandwich and salad from Trader Joes and enjoyed them with the view while waiting for Kaya to wake up. Once she did (her naps are never long) we went inside the free science museum.
There were animals in a large room, most of them the perfect eye level for a toddler. Kaya especially enjoyed the turtle and the snake. There was a petting area with chickens but the line was a little long and I didn’t know if that would work out if she grabbed some feathers.
There’s other sections to the museum (it’s pretty awesome! I would have loved to check out the earthquake room or computer engineering room but the animals were cool too (we’ll just have to come back when she’s older!) and the toddler play area.
Randall Museum is probably not on the top of most people’s San Fran list but if you have kids it should be! And for us it was perfect.
On the long trip I did have an interesting conversation with a man whose a Canadian Traveler (you might assume by looking at him he was homeless, which he did say he’s slept everywhere you can imagine, but it sounded to be more of a choice that he enjoyed making and was currently staying in a Hostel). He struck up conversation with me because I was reading Kaya a book and said he was glad she would know what books are (versus phones) and also how we could even have a conversation because I was engaged in the world (no headphones and my phone put away, except when checking for navigation). I admitted that I was not always engaged, such as on my work bus commute where I was trying to catch up on emails (when else would I have time?) or even just facebook (so many cute babies and puppies and trips and announcements!). Other than that though I do try to engage with my surroundings, people or nature (though I get lost in thought plenty as well) and especially if I’m with Kaya and am able to pay attention to her and point things out to her, of course! I’ve noticed since having Kaya that’s allowed for more conversations with everyone from all walks of life. Whether it’s someone whose homeless or travelers or grandparents or whoever.
While waiting for Alex to get done with class I took one last cable car ride and, oops, ended up without a way to get back. See, if you take it to the Warf you can squeeze in…if you take it AT the Warf (and there’s no just staying on…) then wow there’s a line up. Since I needed to make it back for meeting up with Alex for dinner I started the uphill walk back to the hotel, pushing the stroller (I’m pretty sure she got heavier even that day). Even MORE steep hills than to Randall Museum!
Eventually I was able to cram into one of the Cable Cars, after already turning into a sweaty mess, so I had time to shower at the hotel before dinner.
We walked through China town and Alex noticed the bakery that’s only open for brief periods at odd times was actually open!
People were lined up and walking out with boxes of goodies. We just bought a couple custard tarts to try but wow they were good.
We ate at an Indian Food restaurant (can’t remember the name and the food was good but the best part were the friendly staff who welcomed Kaya into their kitchen to play) then went for desert at Ghiradelli (great chocolate and ice cream, the two best treats!).
All in all we saw and did a lot in one day and were a bit tuckered out.