As is my new custom to take off a week in August, I planned a 10 day trip throughout the Pacific Northwest with my boyfriend beginning in San Francisco.
I know what you are thinking…San Francisco is not in the Pacific Northwest, and you are right. Unfortunately I did not realize this until after the tickets were purchased and I looked on a map and realized that SF was hundreds of miles away from our other destinations – Portland and Seattle. I am from the East Coast and went to a hippie school where we never memorized anything but our feelings, so geography is not my forte.
Luckily this little longitudinal mishap ended up working in our favor when we realized that our trip to San Francisco coincided with Outside Lands, a music, wine and food festival. A bunch of our friends were also coming to town for Outside Lands and so we ended up hanging out in San Francisco during the day, and then in the afternoon making our way over to the festival to catch Foster the People, Ellie Goulding, Phish, The Black Keys, Major Lazer and Arcade Fire among many others.
I am not the biggest music fan (I had never heard a lot of the bands until my friend Angie filled me in) but I had a blast at the festival. My experience was heavily augmented by the food that was available thanks to local businesses that catered the event. I may have missed Girl Talk but I certainly did not miss the porchetta sandwiches, tacos, grilled corn and many other treats available.
Other than the people watching at Outside Lands, which was absolutely bananas, the craziest thing about the experience was leaving the shows every night. 60,000+ people a night were all trying to catch the same 5 cabs in the middle of nowhere. The festival was held in Golden Gate park which I assumed would be right by the Golden Gate bridge. Once again I failed to look at a map and was woefully incorrect about our whereabouts. Golden Gate park was nowhere near the bridge and also very out of the way from our hotel and most transport options.
This snafu led to creative ways home including a limousine filled with Phish fans, a livery cab and a random van that picked up passengers via craigslist (sorry mom). Each journey resulted in many comic adventures that overall added to the bizarre and fun experience that was Outside Lands.
When I was not stuffing my face and bopping to the music at Outside Lands I was exploring San Francisco thanks to some of our local friends.
I went to my first authentic Dim Sum place, hung out in the Mission, Watched Jaws in Dolores Park, Gorged myself at the Ferry building, saw the seals on Pier 39 and even managed to get myself locked inside a late night Korean restaurant.
Overall I had a great time in San Francisco. It helped that we had amazing weather – it was sunny and warm every day – but I really enjoyed the friends, food and general vibe of the city. I wish I could have spent more time exploring but Outside Lands was totally worth it. Thanks to Max, Denise and Morgan who showed us around town, hopefully next time we can spend more time in the city!
A few recommendations if you are in the Bay Area
- Hotel Adagio – our hotel was conveniently located near Union Square but not smack dab in the middle of the tourist mayhem. Cute coffee shops and sushi places were abundant and we were close to public transportation.
- Bar Tartine – charming and delicious brunch. We did not have the patience to wait in line at sister bakery Tartine but it didn’t matter, my french toast was damn good. One friend commented that San Franciscans love to wait in line and this was apparent at almost all the places we attempted to visit. Bi-rite creamery why are you so popular??
- City View restaurant – great Dim Sum place downtown. I sat down famished and we were immediate served little bundles of deliciousness.
I was bummed to leave San Francisco but excited for the rest of our journey to the actual Pacific Northwest.
Stay tuned for dispatches from Portland and Seattle!