VMworld 2020 will be returning to San Francisco next year. Back at the Moscone Center starting August 31st through September 3rd. I figured it would still be valid to post a touristy article. Perhaps, some others will be interested in doing activities outside of VMworld. I stayed in San Francisco until Sunday and had a lot of fun.
Thursday was the last day of VMworld. The solutions exchange and many other areas were closed this day. However, there was still a good half day of sessions and such. I didn’t waste any time after VMworld to start sightseeing that same day.
I started off by going to Pier 39. There were many attractions to check out; sea lions, little stores, and restaurants. The main reason I went there was to go to the Aquarium of the Bay. It was nice, but I feel there are better options if you are short on time. The best part was the tunnel with animals surrounding me from the top and sides. The aquarium ticket came with a free ticket to Madame Tussauds, which was nearby.
Friday was one of only full two days for sightseeing so I wanted to maximize what I could do. I started off with the San Francisco Zoo. It was well worth the drive from downtown. The zoo was even less expensive than the aquarium and spent twice as much time at the zoo. The zoo had a very nice African exhibit among many others. The Pacific Ocean was just a few minute walk so I definitely had to check it out being that I am from the east coast.
The Golden Gate Park was up next for Friday afternoon. I wish I had more time and energy to spend there. It’s 3.5 miles wide so a lot of ground to cover. The California Academy of Sciences is within the park and was my favorite attraction. It had everything there; a rain forest, an aquarium, a planetarium, an earthquake simulator, and a natural history museum. I recommend having at least three hours there and to pick up the included planetarium ticket when you first arrive. That way you can choose what time and specific show you want to see. The rain forest and aquarium were absolutely beautiful.
Then I ended the night for dinner in Chinatown. Amazing that it’s the biggest Chinatown in the United States. Fun to walk around there. A lot of interesting foods and stores to check out.
I wanted to cover a lot of ground on Saturday so I rented a car. I first made a quick stop at the painted ladies, which is the iconic houses displayed in the opening credits for Full House. Then I went to Coit Tower for an amazing view of the city. Be prepared to wait for a little while to get to the top of the tower and not much parking on the top of the hill. Lombard Street, the famous winding street, is nearby so a good opportunity to drive down the road. Finally finished this area with lunch at Ghirardelli Square.
A lot of people recommended going to Muir Woods National Monument. It is the closest area to see redwoods. I went over the Golden Bridge to get there and I wasn’t impressed with the bridge. It seemed like a lot of other brdiges to me. Muir Woods was very nice. Amazing to see the huge trees. After going past the visitor center, there were a few looped trails. Boardwalks paved the way for some of it so it was an easy walk. The best advice I can give is to make a parking reservation as far in advance as you can. The reservation is only $8 and there are not many other parking options.
The last stop of the day was at Twin Peaks. It’s the second highest mountain in the city. I call it the lazy man’s hike because there’s a road that drives towards the top. Then there are several places to park and can hike to the summit. A nice view from a different side of the city.
I tried to make the most of my trip from the work side to the personal side. I greatly enjoyed my trip. I recommend everyone to venture deeper into the city next VMworld.
Pier 39 – Sea Lions
Aquarium of the Bay
San Fran Zoo
California Academy of Sciences – Aquarium
California Academy of Sciences – Rain Forest
View from Coit Tower