Work travel can take you to some cool locations, but the question of how to actually enjoy those locations is another thing. Site seeing or finding the perfect little happy hour spot beloved by locals isn’t usually in the cards when you don’t get out of the office until after 5:00.
So when you are a desk jockey like me, the most practical way you can get out and explore a new city is through meals.
Bummer. Hahaha, ya right- you know I love food like a fat kid loves cake. I love cake like a fat kid too.
Here’s how we enjoyed San Francisco in less than 2 hours, if you ever find yourself in the city, maybe you can do this too.
A coworker and I were staying about 20 miles outside San Francisco itself, which translated to a 45 minutes drive into the city. We hopped into the car and without much of a plan, drove to the iconic tourist trap Fisherman’s Wharf assuming we would find a restaurant.
I recommend taking The Embarcadero route to the wharf, it is a scenic city drive along the water which takes you past several piers, the Giant’s baseball park and iconic streetcars.
Parking structures were abundant in the wharf area and we found a spot without issue. Expect to pay between $15 and $30. Hop out and start walking. You’ll have a great view of Alcatraz (actually quite foreboding) and the pier with the sea lions is there too. We didn’t see any though.
You’ll come up on Pier 39, which we explored a bit. I would best describe it as the offspring of a renaissance festival that mated with an East Coast boardwalk. You’ve got corndogs, donuts, pretzels, carousals, crab stands, cheesy spray painted tee-shirts AND a psychedelic mirror maze that will provide 5 minutes of fun for $5 dollars.
There is an abundance of street performers and overall the people watching in the area is really awesome. We saw a sign advertising THE BEST sourdough bread in San Francisco. Alright, sold.
We rolled into Boudin’s café and each ordered a sandwich and side salad. I sprung for the ‘bay shrimp salad’ on sourdough. We both liked our food overall, but were in complete agreement that this was the least sourdoughy tasting bread we’ve ever had. Oh well, the meal was still good.
That’s it, end of story. We headed back to the hotel. No Golden Gate bridge, no scenes straight out of Full House. No Uncle Jessie :-(.
But it was fun, I got a tiny taste of what the city has to offer. I’d go back- but I would bring a jacket!!!! It’s cold in San Fran!
Daily Question: How do you make the most of work travel experiences?