Sunday in San Francisco

By Kate Riley June 8, 2009

The Golden Gate Bridge is 35 minutes from my house.  Despite its close proximity, our family only tours the City by the Bay about four or five times a year.  Yesterday was one of those days. 

There is a quote commonly attributed to Mark Twain where he said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”  In truth, Twain never actually said this, but that doesn’t make the context false.  In summer, San Francisco is always foggy and chilly, but during yesterday’s ‘Sunday in the City’, we got lucky with perfect sunny and clear weather. 

Take a tour with me of some favorite spots, gorgeous shops, and amazing architecture. 

Our first stop was a look at the vista up in the Marin Headlands.  This view is the definition of breathtaking.  You can see the entire skyline of downtown San Francisco.  Sailboats and cargo ships drift in and out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and seagulls soar all around, much to the delight of the children. 

family in sf

Our next stop was the Palace of Fine Arts, built in 1915 for an International Exhibition.  We intended on visiting the neighboring Exploratorium, but with such fine weather, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon outdoors. 

fine arts walk

fine arts 1

Wedding parties and models are a common sight here.  And you won’t be able to walk around the path without hearing at least a dozen languages, as this is very a popular tourist destination. 


This architecture is so beautiful to look at, and you can walk right up to it and touch it.  The columns soar several stories high among redwoods and cyprus, all competing for height.  They remind me of standing among the ruins in ancient Rome many years ago, but without the price of a plane ticket. 

fine arts architechture 

The luckiest homeowner on earth lives right here, with his lawn connected to the walking path at the Palace of Fine Arts, and his view of the structure itself.  This home has the most beautiful courtyard and climbing roses.  And notice the whimsical “mailbox”, which is actually a bronze sculpture of a mailbag.  I love that. 

sf fine arts house

fine arts mailbox

These folks also have a view of the Palace.  I can never get enough of San Francisco’s unique architectural homes. 

sf homes 

Here’s a glance at some other favorite homes, situated along the Marina, with front window views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

sf homes 2

sf homes 3 

sf homes 4

sf homes 5

sf homes 6

Last stop was Ghirardelli Square, for some window shopping and sweet treats. There is a fantastic tea shop called Crown & Crumpet that I simply fell in love with. 

crown sign

crown open sign

Inside Crown & Crumpet, you can sit down for any kind of fancy tea, English style.  The interior decor is absolutely fabulous.

crown store

crown goodies

Look at this wonderful wall.  The three panels are simply covered in fabric and “framed” in painted moulding.  I adore the gigantic “Tea Merchant” sign, and the gilded mirror hung in the middle. 

I noticed that every chair’s seat was covered in a different bright fabric.  All of the tables were covered in fresh florals, and topped with glass. 

crown walls 2

I swoon over this pink checkered floor, painted blue buffet, and colorful sofa.

crown sofa and floor

Gorgeous chandelier and chairs too. 

crown chandelier

crown chair

These mugs certainly tempted me:

crown mugs

And this candle was so sweet – it would make wonderful decor for a child’s birthday party.   

crown candle

How wonderful are these signature teacups?  The entire collection, including cups, saucers, teapots and pitchers are available for purchase.  I had to be physically restrained.  

crown teacup

Next door is the elizabeth W signature store.  You may have seen these products in high end boutiques, but the store itself is in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, since all of the products are made in the City. 

Her aromatic signature collection of Room Sprays, Lotions, Candles, Linen and Bath Products is intoxicating.  Some of her unique scents include Tomato, Leaves, and Sweet Tea.  They are all so absolutely lovely.  And she just started featuring some unique aprons as well. 

liz w

liz w lotions

liz w sprays

liz w 2

liz w aprons

No trip to Ghirardelli Square is complete without a morsel of chocolate from Ghirardelli itself.  Today we went with the freshly baked fudge. 


ghiradelli bella

Have you ever visited San Francisco?  If so, what were your favorite stops?  

And stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.  I have the ultimate revamp to feature, and you’re going to love this one.


  1. I love SF – we visited 10 years ago and long to live in Northern California. It was the best holiday ever.

  2. I love SF. It's been about 7 since I last visited, but I'd love to get back sometime soon.

    I've never visited the Palace of Fine Arts but now that I've seen your pictures, it's definitely on my list.


  3. Looks wonderful, I'm just a little country girl here in Arkansas! Heehee…. I would love to visit SF :)

  4. Oh my god, those pink upholstered chairs in Crown & Crumpet are amazing. I want one.. *swoon*!

    I've never been to the west coast… Just up and down the east coast and to some caribbean spots on vacation. Someday we'll get over there. San Fran is on the list after seeing all of this! =)

  5. Great pics! I love those mugs too :) Oh, and there's a little well-known phrase here in Ohio that goes something like, "If-you're-sick-of-the-snow-then-move-to-San-Francisco-because-I-hear-it's-perfect-year-round!"

  6. San Francisco is such a great place to visit. I have been there many times and always had so much fun. You brought back great memories. I'm sure you had a great day. Hugs, Marty

  7. LOVE that tea shop! So cute. Looks like a wonderful day with the family!

  8. You're making me homesick. My hubby and I lived in Alameda for 5 years before we had kids. Before that, we dated there, he had an internship in the financial district and lived in the Sunset District. About a year and a half after Izzy was born, we moved to Phoenix, but love what that city means to our family.

  9. I have never been to SF, but now I really want to go! Loved all of your gorgeous photos. I'm glad that you had such a fabulous day to spend with your family :o)

  10. Oooh, eye candy! :) SF is on my list of places to see–my husband's aunt lives there, so I keep telling him we'd have a free place to stay! :)

  11. Shame on me – I live 30 mins from SF and had not the faintest idea Crown and Crumpet was there. Your photos are jumping out the screen at me, they're so lovely. It's going on my must see (and taste!) list.
    Thanks, lovely posting.

  12. SF is beautiful and some place I would love to visit. Thanks for the lovely tour.

  13. I can not get over the gorgeous blue skies in your pics.
    What a fabulous day you had!

  14. I went there 9 years ago. My favorite place was Alcatraz actually. I love history and while somewhat disturbing, it was really neat to see. I also loved the bridge because I'm an engineer and have a thing for bridges.

  15. Have never been to the West coast but I feel like I had an intimate glimpse with you! Thanks!

  16. I have only been to San Francisco once, but I fell in love with it. I can't wait to go back. In the meantime, I will sit here and drool over these fabulous pictures! Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. That looks like you had a wonderful day out!

    I think I'll visit San Francisco and you can take me out and about!! That tea shop is adorable, I love it!

  18. My husband & I just recently went on our 1st family trip to San Francisco with our 1 year old. We enjoyed staying right in a hotel right in Fisherman's Wharf, which allowed us to walk to all the tourist sites. Anything beyond walking distance was just a simple ride on the cable cars.

    Everyone knows that there's some of the best eats in San Francisco, but two standouts for us were The Stinking Rose on Columbus and The Squat & Gobble on Chestnut (very close to the Palace of Fine Arts, we walked there after our trip to the Exploratorium). If you love garlic, you must eat at The Stinking Rose! Simply delish! The Squat & Gobble is the cutest little cafe & creperie with a lovely courtyard in which you can eat & enjoy a french garden scene. Plus, the nutella crepes a la mode are to die for!

  19. You were already my idol, but now I find out that you are close enough to drive to San Francisco? I'm dying of jealousy.

    We went to San Francisco for our honeymoon and adored it. We didn't wanna come back. It's our favorite place. We loved it all. The trolleys. Golden Gate Bridge. Alcatrez. Golden Gate Park. Little Italy.

    I want to live there. Can I move in with you? Please? ;)

  20. This post brings back happy memories of my trip there in March. My sister and I met up in SF and spent the weekend exploring Muir Woods, the Ferry Building farmer's market and Chinatown. I'm adding the Palace of Fine Arts to my list for my next trip!

  21. PS I love how your photo corners are rounded! Is that a Blogger feature or what that intrinsic to the picture before you posted it?

  22. Your pictures are just so pretty of everything! It looks like you had a fabulous time, I hope to get to San Francisco someday & see it all in person.

  23. Love San Fran! We've been twice in the last 4 years & it is beautiful. Haven't been to your spot there, but I love all the hills & beautiful scenery. Loved the lookout tower, now I can't remember the name of it. And of course, Ghiradelli Square, YES! Great!

  24. I live in San Francisco and am British – how have I never heard of Crown and Crumpet?! I'm definitely paying a visit next weekend. Lovely photos, by the way. My favorite haunt for hanging out, sipping coffee, browsing in boutiques and ogling houses has to be Pacific Heights though – Fillmore Street. Or Sacramento Street for the even classier Presidio Heights. Go to Nest on Fillmore and Clay: you won't want to leave.

  25. Fabulous pictures!!! I love all the bright colors. Ironically my husband's entire family is from San Francisco. We live in So. Cal. The closest I have ever been to San Fran is Pacifica.

  26. I don't know how you got out of there without the crown mugs. I'm such a sucker for a cute mug. What a darling place that Crown and Crumpet.

  27. You are making me homesick! I grew up In Oakland and now find myself moving from TN to AL! With the humid summers of Alabama ahead of me, I'm longing for the chilly San Fran summers! Lovely pictures by the way.

  28. Those teacups! Aye! My sister is going to SF in a few weeks…she WILL be stopping @ The C & C!!! Thx so much for the info!

    m ^..^

  29. okay, first of all i live in oakland and apparently i'm way overdue for a trip to ghiaradelli. that tea shop ROCKS and i had no idea there was an elizbeth w there too (apparently i'm too preoccupied with the ice cream sundaes). also, i can't believe i'm only just discovering your blog! i can't wait to explore some more…

  30. I absolutely fell in love with the Wharf area. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant (I can picture it in my mind) but they must be an institution. The clam chowder is to die for!!! They must have been there for a hundred years! Just kidding ;). My husband just got back from Iraq and this was his “Welcome Home” gift in 2005 from me! I missed him terribly……….anyway, back to San Francisco….Saucilito was also one of our favrite parts. I could look at that architecture all day long in the San Francisco area! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  31. I just discovered your blog-and find myself getting lost in all of your wonderful posts! I’m a California girl (born in SF, raised in San Rafael) who now lives on the east coast. This post made me sooooo homesick! I can’t tell you how many family pics we have of my family in the headlands-it was my dad’s favorite place to take out of town guests for the amazing view. We also used to picnic up there (and at Fort Cronkite)-there were all kinds of bunkers that we used to run around playing crazy made up games. Do they even let people do that anymore? (probably not that safe)

    Thank you for bringing back happy childhood memories!

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)