California Travel Guide: San Francisco and Monterrey


I have been to California three times now and I fall a little more in love each time, particularly with San Francisco. Having traveled to San Francisco for both work and for pleasure, I can say that both experiences were a ton of fun, so make time to see as much of the city as you possibly can, no matter the circumstances. And, if I could live anywhere in the U.S., Monterrey now sits pretty high up on my list after our trip there in May to visit Pebble Beach during the U.S. Open (our 50th Birthday surprise to my Dad!). Below is a look at some of my favorite memories and locations in each area:

Downtown San Francisco:

I love walking this city. The views are stunning, the hills give you the best workout of your life, and there’s an endless supply of delicious restaurants to stop in whenever you are exhausted from said hills (but hey, no calorie guilt!). On my first trip to SF, I was attending the week-long Salesforce Dreamforce conference (worth a Google if you don’t know what either of those two things are lol), for work, and man, let me tell you, what an introduction to the city! Our hotel was directly across from the iconic Nordstrom at the Hilton in Union Square (swoon, y’all), and other incredible shops, so I was in absolute heaven. While staying with my family last summer, we stayed closer to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was an equally amazing time.

Some of my favorite restaurants and shops that we’ve been to so far:

Restaurants: The Codmother Fish & Chips, Sotto Mare, Altalena Vinoteca, Super Duper Burgers, Johnny Foley’s Irish House, Portico Restaurant, Illy Cafe

Shops: Ghiradelli Square *everything*, Patagonia & Nordstrom

Views of the city

Alcatraz: I can’t recommend enough. Seriously. Learned an incredible amount of information and saw some stunning views of the city as well.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium: We lived our best Finding Dory life. The aquarium is perfect for anyone at any age, although there are a lot of kid activities. We loved it so much!

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: Such an underrated park in my opinion. We walked through the park on our way down to Monterrey from San Fran and the surroundings were breathtaking.

Pebble Beach: Ah, the true reason for our trip: the 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. My dad played this course religiously throughout our childhood, and it is genuinely his favorite course in the world. My mom equally loves the resort as well, (her favorite spa EVER). Experiencing the course I have heard about my entire life during a Major with my dad for his birthday is a memory I’ll cherish forever. Also, we saw Tiger freaking Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, and so many more incredible players up close and personal. The course itself is stunning no matter the circumstances, and if you are also passionate about golf, is worth every penny to either play or visit.

Let me know your favorite California spots in the comments below! I’ve also briefly visited Orange, Fullerton and San Diego on a separate work trip, but would love to visit that area much more.

Love y’all,