San Francisco with the family

posted on: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This past weekend we went to San Francisco for a quick family vacation. We all came back with sun kissed cheeks, and tummies full of special treats. Everything felt so alive on Saturday, with people buzzing and frolicking in the rare San Francisco sunshine.

We were glad to join the fun.

When planning family vacations, big or small, Christian and I always come up with a schedule. Schedules are good but do you know what's even better? Flexibility. If you're traveling with kids you have got to be flexible otherwise you're begging to be frustrated.

However there is one thing I am not willing to be flexible about and that is accommodations. The last time we were on a family vacation and we didn't have accommodations planned I ended up in a motel room in Puerto Rico with Christian and our friend Hal. This was the typical Latin American Motel room where you pay by the hour and the bed is shaped like a heart and yes, there are mirrors on the ceiling. It makes for a good story but at the time I was furious and so embarrassed as we drove out of our Motel room, the three of us in the car getting stares from the motel staff. Did I mention I was visibly pregnant?

Now that I have kids I'm more than willing to change plans during the day but at night I want to know exactly where I'm going to lay down my head.

I researched family friendly hotels in San Francisco and was quickly smitten with Hotel Del Sol. I mean, how could you not be as soon as you walk in there is lemonade and cookies right there at Enzo level. And DVDs. And a Swimming pool.

Man, my kids were in heaven. And that was the point. We've been wanting to do a little family adventure where the kids could just have a blast. Plus, we've been wanting to tour San Francisco with Gabriel. Hotel Del Sol was perfect for our family and I want to give them a shout out for graciously putting all 5 of us up for a night. We had a great suite with a bedroom and a common room, we were all very comfortable. It's not easy to fit a family of 5 in a single hotel room, but they did it.

And they even gave Baby Maria a cozy crib to sleep in.

In the morning we had a lovely breakfast out in the open courtyard by the pool. There were tons of kids just running around and enjoying breakfast with their families. We really had a lovely stay.

On Friday night we had dinner with a couple of my food blogging friends. If you don't already have a food blog can I suggest you get one this instant? The community is so great. Normally we hang out on Twitter but being able to sit down in the same room, share a meal, and communicate in more than 140 characters is even better.

Ben from You Fed a Baby Chili? took us to the awesome Pizza Nostra, a great family friendly place you need to hit up if you're in San Francisco. Enzo and Esme, Ben's daughter, are now buddies. After dinner we went across the street so Enzo could introduce his new friend to an Açaí bowl, his favorite dessert.

By the way that pretty lady in the back is Erin. She is Ben's wife. She is a professional photographer. Of couse I only found out about this after we were back in Santa Cruz, otherwise I would of shamelessly asked her to take a family picture of us right there and then. We would of just needed to use a hundred paper towels to clean off Baby Maria's face. No biggie.

The lovely Kimmie from Full Circle also joined in on the fun. Not only was she awesome about letting baby Maria kiss her with Açaí all over her face, but she also brought us cotton candy cupcakes because she knew we were going off sugar for a month and what better way to say good bye to sugar than eating a cotton candy cupcake? And yes they tasted just like cotton candy, I kid you not.

On Saturday, after our breakfast at Hotel del Sol, we decided to explore the town. Like all big cities it can get expensive really fast if you decide to hit up all the tourist attractions. And like every big city there are tons of free things to do -- all the time.

Walking over the Golden Gate bridge is free.
Going to Lands End and Lincoln Park is free.
Golden Gate park is free and oh so beautiful.

We picked up some burritos, had a picnic,  and watched ballet. Yes we did. Oh how I love ballet. Did you know I danced ballet for years? Years! Till this day ballet is the definition of beauty in my dictionary. And how marvelous it was to watch these talented dancers perform at the park. For free.

So even though tourists attractions can seem prohibitive if you're a family on a budget don't let that discourage you from traveling. If you do a little research you'll find budget friendly activities to do together. And at the end of the day, because San Francisco is so awesomely eclectic you can always find something fun to eat.


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