Vacation Photos: San Francisco

We just got back from our week-long family vacation to San Francisco. We wanted to take Toby on his own babymoon trip, so he could enjoy tons of center-of-attention time before the new baby turns his world upside down. San Francisco is truly amazing, and we had the best time. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…
We rented a great apartment in the Castro, just a few blocks from Dolores Park’s crazy new playground. The slides are so tall that even I felt a little jittery sitting at the top. As my friend said, “Sometimes your kids are playing and you’re like, Wait, are they going to die? But it’s awesome.”
We couldn’t resist going to Bi-Rite Creamery one sunny afternoon. Toby devoured chocolate in a cone, and my sister and I split this ridiculous combination of salted caramel, rubarb cheesecake, chocolate sauce and spiced pecans, no big deal.
We then walked over to Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids, the fantastic toy store filled with old-school toys, like wooden instruments, puzzles and yo-yos.
One afternoon, Alex took Toby to a Giants game—complete with hot dogs and mustard—and they both came home totally buzzing.
We also headed to the zoo, where our friend hooked us up with a behind-the-scenes tour!!! It was insane: We got to feed lettuce and bananas to a sweet, black-tongued giraffe named Kristen. Of course, true to form, Toby’s favorite part of the experience was the golf cart we got to drive around in.
Another morning, on 8,000 people’s recommendations, we went to the Exploratorium, an enormous warehouse-like museum filled with interactive exhibits. Alex and I got so into it ourselves that we wondered, half-seriously, if we should hire a babysitter and come back on our own. (It would be an awesome place for a grown-up date!) In the photos above, I was seeing which colors affected my moods, Toby was drumming, and Alex was seeing if yawns were truly contagious.
San Francisco has delicious food, needless to say. Here, we hit up Tacolicious for lunch, and Toby ate a croissant the size of his head at Tartine Bakery.
In the evenings, when Toby was asleep, Alex and I secretly snuck off to a couple dinners on our own, and I was thrilled to join my sister and her friends for a screening of Before Midnight. Julie Delpy and the director Richard Linklater did a Q&A!! (The film was much darker than the first two films, but the honest portrait of a marriage was incredibly compelling. I’d give it two thumbs up, if you’re in the mood for a more dramatic film.)
Finally, at the end of the trip, we got this reassurance from a fortune cookie. Thank goodness. This trip was fantastic, and we’re so, so excited to meet the new baby, but it will be nice to have some calmer days ahead. Alex put it in his pocket to bring home:)

Hope you had a great week, and thank you again for your amazing tips! We miss you, San Francisco!! xoxo

P.S. San Francisco apartment tour.

  1. I love San Francisco. I would love to go back one day. It is such an amazing city and has so much to offer on markets. I had no idea it was a foodie city. Will be on that wagon next time.

  2. Awesome! Almost every place you mentioned is where I like to go to on the weekends, too! How fitting that you received a great fortune. Because, FYI: fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco.

  3. Hi Joanna and Cup of Jo fans,

    Me and my boyfriend are going on a trip to San Francisco as well as visiting the rest of California in the summer – your post has made me even more excited, thank you for all your tips / recommendations. I love the idea of a babymoon and that you got to spend quality time with your little dude.

    P.S Joanna your blog is blissful!

    Jess (London, UK) x x

  4. Very happy to hear your liked San Francisco. The Bi-Rite is a Mission institution. Did you happen to go into its sister grocery store? If not, next time.

    Best wishes for the new baby and the family.

  5. Just want to throw it out there that our new baby didn’t turn our 2.5 year old’s world upside down. It was really actually a pretty seamless transition and both little brother and big sister adore each other like nobody’s business. We haven’t had any of the dreaded jealously problems or acting out. Now, we may not be in the norm here and it may help that we had a girl first – but I just wanted to put out the possibility that it might be easier than one thinks. xo

  6. SO fun to see you in my City! You definitely hit some of the best highlights for a family. Isn’t The Mission the best?! and Tilden park, a little guys dream! happy baby moon.

  7. My husband and I had our first date at the Exploratorium! It’s perfect first-date material since it encourages silliness and allows for some random trivia-sharing to happen (my husband was surprised and impressed I knew all the parts of the eye, which I learned back in 5th grade science class!)
    And as others have mentioned, so happy to hear you paid Bi-Rite, Tartine, and Dolores Park a visit (oh and the Castro Theater too! Did you see/hear the organist?!) And as past San Francisco-ers and current East-Bay-ers, yay for the train at Tilden!

  8. This trip looks so fun! Toby is adorable and he will be such a great big brother. I have a 3 1/2 old boy and a 16 month old girl and C just loves his “baby sister”. It really is hard to imagine life without the second now. Their interactions are just so sweet and add so much more to the whole parenthood experience. The little ones just roll with the changes like champs.

  9. So glad you made it to Delores Park & Tartine!

  10. so fun to read this! just visited san fran for the first time this past weekend and was knocked off my socks! such an inspiring beautiful city!

  11. This is so great- it’s brilliant that you’ve done a last you-and-Toby trip before the baby! I’m sure it’ll mean a lot to him :) xx

  12. Looks like you sucessfully rocked his little toddler world! Awesome pics! :)

  13. Super cute! We’re headed out there for the month of July, so I’ll be sure to keep this post on hand when I’m trying to figure out what to do out there. Too bad I didn’t know about that apt… xox Brooke

  14. Looks like so much fun!! I lived there briefly for grad school and loved the area [hated the indecisive weather but loved the people/food]! You’ve gotta stop displacing your anxiety re: the new baby on Toby! His world will be just fine with the new addition [I have 5 siblings, trust me when I say none of us kids’ lives were turned upside down when a new addition came along… even when the second sibling came along…] It’s okay to say that YOUR world is about to get a little crazier and that you needed the babymoon– Toby would’ve been fine either way. By insisting that his world will be flipped upside down [unknowingly saying to him/saying to other adults while he’s around], you kinda just plant that idea in his head, lol. So excited for you and Alex and Toby for the new one! [and for blog posts that follow!] Congrats, again!

  15. I’m from Wyoming and we just went to SF for the first time with the kiddo. We had soooo much fun!!! Traveling with little ones is so much different than traveling alone with the hubby, but opens a whole new world of fun. Plus being a photographer, it’s fun to put us in a different environment to get some amazing shots! We are going to try overseas this fall with him, hoping for an amazing time!

  16. This looks like it was so much fun! I love that you planned an entire trip just for Toby. It looks like he had a blast. Unfortunately, with more children, it gets harder to please everyone on vacation. As one of 6, even choosing a restaurant for lunch could cause a fight. ;)

  17. Les jolies photos… Elles racontent si bien le bien-être qui se dégage de votre petite famille. Adorable!

  18. Oh my goodness. Toby is just so precious. I hope he is looking forward to being a big brother! (From a little sister’s perspective) it’s a great job to have!

  19. I couldn’t believe my good fortune of seeing my favorite blogger at Dolores Park! Thanks for being so cool and saying hi! That was definitely my favorite pit stop on our road-trip up the coast. Those slides were kind of crazy!

  20. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time! xo

  21. A wonderful trip to one of the most beautiful cities! Enjoyed your pictures, Toby eating ice cream is priceless.
    I’m not so sure that the fortune cookie fortune is true. . .life never seems to calm down!!

  22. looks like you had a very good time =D
    both your babymoon vacations with and sans toby are really good ideas! and san franscisco is an awesome destination.
    especially bi-rite creamery…oh yummy! i just had the spiced pecans last week, with ginger and toasted banana. all their flavors are delicious! i couldn’t resist and bought their book =D

  23. You went to all my favorite places! Glad you all had a wonderful trip!!

  24. Looks like a great trip, Jo! Your son is getting so big! (He is so cute!) Glad you enjoyed!

    Liz and Lo


  25. Sounds like a great trip! My boyfriend and I are headed there in 3 weeks as part of our month long road trip! I’m so excited to see California–I’ve never been!

  26. Naw, Tony’s such a littly cutie. Looks like a perfect way to enjoy the last little while that it’s just the three of you.

  27. What an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing all these great photos and how fabulous that you took a babymoon trip with Toby before the new baby. And a rented apartment in the Castro…now THAT is the way to do it on for a vacation! Great idea!

  28. jill, toby’s pajamas are from Polarn O. Pyret, the swedish store. fyi, they have great sales!

  29. and YES alex talks about berkeley (and the giants and the warriors) all the time. his heart is definitely in SF.

  30. jill, that is the sweetest:) thank you so much for your reassurance!

  31. Gosh I miss San Francisco so much. I lived there for 2 years- AUSTIN is forever my home but San Francisco has my heart.
    We are going in Sept- and of course going to a giants game

  32. Looks like so much fun! We really need to go to SF! Good to know the places to take our 3yo too! BTW, I love Toby’s jammies. Can you tell me where they are from? Thanks!

  33. Looks like a lovely trip! A baby moon with your youngest is such a good idea :)

  34. jm says...

    That top picture is beautiful.

  35. Go bears! :) Glad you had a great trip, makes me miss the bay!

  36. I’m so jealous! I had intended on going to the screening of Before Midnight but then exams and a college student’s budget interfered. I’m glad you had such an amazing time in SF! :]

  37. so perfect! love that city!

  38. I’m glad you enjoyed San Francisco and it looks like you all had a blast. We’ve been experiencing great weather as of late (for SF) and glad it came through for you on the week you were here. :)

  39. jm says...

    Glad you had such a great time! Looks like a fantastic baby-moon. I would love to try those slides – and of course, eat ice cream!

  40. i might be wrong, but i actually think that there is a night a week when the exploratorium is open at night for adults. there might even be cocktails involved…or maybe it was a once time thing, or just a summer thing? i swear i saw it advertized at one point. hmmm…

  41. haha things are going to get a lot crazier before they get calmer.

  42. Creepily (in a good way) relevant fortune cookies fortunes are the best!

  43. Looks like such a fun family trip. I hope to visit San Fran someday and now I have some places I really want to visit.

  44. I love the city! Look at how much fun your little one had! So adorable…

    Kate from Clear the Way

  45. SF is the best!! The weather looked nice too! Glad you guys got to try Tacolicious and Tartine! SO GOOD! I’m headed over there this weekend for Bay to Breakers! =)

  46. It looks like yall had a great trip! My fiance and I will be staying at an apartment in the Castro area on our honeymoon in the fall. Any suggestions on restaurants or things to do in that area? Thanks!! :)

  47. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip. San Francisco is high on our list and we’re hoping to be able to do a Paris-San Francisco home swap to get there early next year or in Spring 2014. Will be bookmarking this post to save your recommendations!!

    xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

  48. Looks like you guys had a great time. Plus, I love the belly shots!

    Oh and the picture of the video of the girl yawning made me yawn. And I yawned again just thinking about it while typing.

  49. Such a great trip! I’m sure it’ll be something Toby will remember forever!

  50. What a lovely bunch of pictures. So happy to read that your trip to SF was memorable. I currently live in the Midwest but grew up just East of SF. Thank you for bringing some hometown joy my way.


  51. SOOOO Fun! I have never been to San Fran and I am dying to go! Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  52. This looks so much fun! Toby looks like he had such a blast. You guys are great parents!

  53. Alex went to Cal? I knew that guy seemed super cool for some reason! :) Go Bears!

    • Ditto, Go Bears and I’m glad you made over to the Eastbay during your trip!

  54. Hi Joanna, I totally get how you feel being pregnant and thinking that you’re gonna turn you first-born’s life upside down. Altho you will feel that way no matter what, especially after you only have most of your time doled out to the newborn who is attached at your boob, let me tell you it’s all SOOO worth it. My 3.5 yr-old and just turned 1-yr-old were holding hands during their afternoon wagon ride today! I mean, seriously, this is the stuff you hope for and really does happen, I promise. xoxo

  55. Yep, I definitely need to go to San Fran. Thanks Jo!

  56. Wonderful!! I’m eloping there from London at the end of May and will be travelling there next week. We have never been to the West Coast and so are really looking forward to the adventure of being in a new city for 1 MONTH!!

  57. Thanks for sharing your photos! So funny, my friend works at the zoo, so I’ve gotten private tours before. I don’t feel so special anymore. ;)

    Glad yall had fun!

  58. Looks like you had an amazing time! You now have me hardcore jonesing to go to San Francisco. Thanks for sharing your pictures! I also feature a lot of travel photos on my blog. I’d be honoured if you checked it out.

  59. Loved going to the Exploratorium and Zoo when I was a kid! I’ve only been to the creamery a few times but my cousin works there and brings pints to our family parties thank heavens! ..Next time you go you’ll have to try out the ‘the Mill’ featuring Josey Baker Bread, in-cred-ible :) The Tech Museum in San Jose is also a blast!

  60. I work at the Exploratorium and am glad that you had a great time. We are very proud of our new space!

  61. Toby is such a cutie! I love the photo of him all messy with chocolate ice cream!

  62. Looks fantastic. Glad you had a great time! Seriously love your friends quite about the awesome way the kids so scary stuff!

  63. How perfect is that fortune cookie… and actually, your entire trip. I love the idea that you took a last hurrah as a little family of three. It is such a great change to add a baby, but this must have felt really special. Wishing you all the best. xo

  64. Haha, that giraffe and I have the same name! Looks like a fun trip :)

  65. Great photos, what a lovely & fun trip! SF is top of my list of places I still want to visit.

    You look great :)

  66. After 8,000 people’s recommendation + 1 your visit – I’m definitely visiting Exploratarium on one of the forthcoming weekends!

    Nice to see you guys had a great trip :)

  67. What a fun trip! I’m inspired!