LAYOVER: San Francisco

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

So this is an interesting one. If I ever had a “Weekend Getaway” or a Anthony Bourdain-style “Layover” show on Travel channel, this would have been my shining moment. I was in Petaluma for a training/retreat for four days Tuesday through Friday. It was a great retreat but upon landing Tuesday I knew I wanted ice cream. Preferably from Bi-Rite Creamery, an unattainable feat for over seven years of traveling to San Francisco. The transit on Friday had us leaving the hills of Petaluma at 1130am and arriving at SFO around 2pm.

I purposely had an itinerary of getting to the airport (SFO) at 2pm and having half a day in San Francisco and getting back through TSA for a 8:55pm flight back to San Diego.

I previously had looked at blogs on things to do in San Francisco on a layover, and it’s a total bust and not worth anybody’s time. The best advice that I understood from it was pick one neighborhood and stay there for the time being. I picked the Mission District because of a few features, actually just one– ice cream.

In planning this half-day excursion I hyper-focused on one neighborhood: Mission District.

I fucking love ice cream in San Francisco. Mitchell’s is my number one, Bi-Rite a solid second, and Holcomb Sloan is a good third.

Craft beer a solid second.

Lesiure shit a third, because a nice day in Dolores is icing on the cake, but when it’s nice the hipsters don’t play.

So after checking-in my duffel bag I had one mission in my mind– getting ice cream.


So after meeting up with some colleagues we had taken the BART into the Mission & 16th Street station and walked over to priority #1, Bi-Rite Creamery.

There has never been a moment where there was no line at Bi-Rite. I had one time in 2007 where me and couple of homies got in no line. But it wasn’t too bad. I’ve been craving Bi-Rite for way too long. I’ve been getting my SF Ice Cream fix via Mitchells.


So this is where I actually deviated from the plan. The crew that I was with was from the East Coast and definitely wanted to take in some of San Francisco before heading into their red-eye flights back. I, on the other hand, have breathed Karl the Fog multiple times of my life and can seriously just be in one part of the city and kick it.

I made the change and went with the flow and caught an Uber from Mission district to the other side of the city at Inner Sunset. The folks wanted to see Golden Gate Park and specifically the Japanese Tea Garden. (LIKE ITS THE MOST TOURISTY SHIT I’VE EVER DONE IN SF.)


So the UberXL was like $22 and we got to GGP. If I’m around GGP and the Inner Sunset my mindset is already on a Sunset staple, San Tung’s Wings though!

We got through the Japanese Tea Garden which was not as bad nor corny as I expected. If I had more time in SF, I would be able to take in more. It’s peaceful and when the fog rolls in everything feels like a different planet.

So after the photo-ops and taking in the Koi fish, we headed out to explore a little bit. I knew  that the Inner Sunset was home to some great food in SF and I suggested Social Kitchen & Brewery.


Social Kitchen & Brewery is good for happy hour. It’s $1 off their own brews and a $1 off wells. They also have San Diego based beers.

What’s good about Social Kitchen & Brewery is that SAN TUNG IS ONLY TWO BLOCKS AWAY.

San Tung
San Tung Wings, credit:

San Tung has some of the best Chinese chicken wings on the planet. I put them above the almighty Golden Chopsticks salt and pepper wings. It’s not my picture above but I put in one order of dry-wings to take back to San Diego.


At Social Kitchen, the folks who had red-eyes to the East Coast were going to get dinner in the Mission and I knew that I couldn’t make it because I needed to get back to SFO at a decent time to get through TSA.

I hailed a Lyft and got to the airport at 7PM


SFO burger. credit: iblewupyaspot
SFO burger. credit: iblewupyaspot

I got through TSA before a strong rush. From line and through the metal detectors it took less than ten minutes. I grabbed a New Orleans Iced Coffee and a burger to kill time and start on this blog post.


Final thoughts and side notes.

I realized that maybe ~five hours in the Mission is too long for me, but five hours spread across the city is just enough time to get a taste of San Francisco.

I forget how expensive transit is in San Francisco. It’s been a long ass time since I’ve used public transportation in the bay, but these prices are  ridiculous. Then factoring in Ubers and Lyfts makes my wallet sad.

Foursquare. This trip made me a believer in its algorithm. It’s one of the best out there for tips and exploring a city. It tracks the places I check-in and also sees my friends who also checked-in via Swarm.

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