Fun in San Francisco: Day 1 part 2 – the Sir Francis Drake & the Hyde St Pier

If you are just joining us, you can read about the first part of our adventure here

We got down to the Hyde St Pier and decided to hit the Blue Mermaid chowder house for some, you guessed it, chowder. It was actually quite good. If you go, be sure to try the crab and corn chowder or the New England clam, my two favourites. A bit spendy, but it is like that everywhere in San Francisco, especially down at the water.
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After lunch we decided to explore the Hyde St. Pier in all it’s glory. There is a national marine heritage museum there, with 4 old ships of different types that you can walk around on, learn about, and explore. There was an old trading ship, a paddle wheeler, a tug boat and a ferry. We got to go below decks on the trader and see the engine room, the cargo holds, the captains quarters, the crews quarters, the galley and where the sailors who processed the fish lived. There were also a few short videos on what life was like aboard.
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They also have a junior ranger program that Q participated in. The park ranger gave him a book with 4 activities that he had to complete while checking out the ships. They ranged from drawing the trade routes of the big sailing ship to picking which national park he wanted to visit next. Once he had completed all of his tasks, he had to take his book back to the park ranger, who checked out his work. Once the ranger had finished checking his book and asking him questions about it, he had Q place his hand on his heart and repeat a Junior Marine park ranger oath after him. It was all very solemn and Q took it VERY seriously. After all that, the park ranger signed and stamped the certificate on the back of his booklet and then presented him with a Junior National Heritage Marine Park Ranger badge, which he has worn proudly on his shirt and hoodie since then. It was actually pretty awesome.
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With that, and a walk up and down some very steep hills to check out the Ghiardelli chocolate shop, it was time to call it a day. We got back in line for the cable car, along with at least a few hundred other people, only to discover that it would likely be at least an hour and fourty five minute wait. Yikes! I would recommend that if you want to take the cable car back to your hotel or Union square, don’t do it at “rush hour” when all the other tourists want to go back too. You will wait for what feels like forever. Instead, walk a few blocks and grab a bus or train back, or a cab, which doesn’t cost that much at all.

We arrived back at the hotel just in time for the start of the complimentary wine hour. Q was really excited about this, as the bellman had mentioned it when we checked in, and noted that there would be games and snacks for the kids. He was a little panicked that we wouldn’t get back in time, and was very sad at the thought of missing it. Thankfully we didn’t, as I think that he might have been insufferable if we had. The hotel provided complimentary red or white wine, alcoholic punch, beer, and what turned out to be an AMAZING non-alcoholic punch. It was sparkling water with vanilla and muddled blackberries, and I probably could have drank the entire pitcher. There was also juice for the kids, plus hula hoops, giant jenga, connect four, and checkers to play. It was a lot of fun, and the hosts were more than willing to play or hoola hoop.
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When we returned back to our room, we discovered a tray had been delivered with a handmade card, a bottle of wine on ice, half a dozen chocolate covered strawberries, a bag of caramel popcorn, and a bag of gummy bears. It was completely unexpected and the awesomest surprise! They really thought of everyone and I was so touched.
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Dinner that night was in Union Square. After a failed attempt at getting into one restaurant, we ended up at the Burger Bar. This is a restaurant owned by celebrity chef Hubert Keller. I don’t eat burgers often, but I do enjoy a good one from time to time, and this place certainly fit the bill. The classic burger with bacon and cheese was great – the meat was nicely seasoned, the burger wasn’t greasy and was cooked as I had requested. Service was quite slow, though, which was disappointing for me. I might eat here again, but I would say that if you like burgers, it’s certainly worth a visit if you are in the area. I would say, though, if you like any of the listed burgers to do that over the build your own version, as I think that one could get pretty pricey pretty quickly. I had the zucchini fries instead of regular ones, and they were quite yummy as well. They also have a kids menu. Q had Mac and cheese with fries (it turned out to be KD but that was perfectly alright by him) and the total bill for all of us wasn’t terrible.

We headed back to the hotel to end off the day and as we were getting ready for bed, a knock on the door came, and another tray was delivered. Kimpton hotels have ( or had, depending on when you read this) a summer “secret password” promotion going on through their social media channels. We’ve been fortunate enough to partake in this fun promo a few times in past years, but I had no idea that it was going on this year. It’s just another cool thing that Kimpton hotels do to make things extra special for their guests. When you check in, or when you find out the password in my case, you tell the front desk agent. They will then surprise you with something, and what it is, is pretty much up to them. In past years we have received free parking, cocktails at the bar or a free breakfast. This year, we got this.
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It’s a tray with a handmade card, plain and lemon sparkling water, zebra popcorn, raisinettes and a free pay-per-view movie of our choosing. (In case you are wondering, we chose X-men First Class). Such a thoughtful gift that all of us could enjoy. All it can say is Kimpton rocks! Such a great way to end the day!

Next up, day 2.

I was not compensated or asked to mention any of the businesses or locations on this trip. I am sharing them with you in hopes that you might find fun places or things to check out on your next trip. All opinions are strictly our own.

Comments

  1. says

    Looks like you guys had a lot of fun on your first day alone! That secret password promo definitely makes me want to stay at a Kimpton Hotel, I wonder how many other hotel brands do that. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip!

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