Ok, so a bit of the title is a lie. We did not actually listen to the Best Song Ever yesterday (aka Best Song Ever by One Direction), but we did do those other things! This was an absolutely great day in San Francisco.
KP and I “slept in”. For the two of us, that means she was up around 8 AM and I was awake by 9:15 and getting ready for the day. Obviously we were exhausted by the craziness of the night before, which KP has recapped for you here.
I had unfortunately dropped the ball and not pre-purchased tickets to tour AT&T Park, so I spent some time attempting to purchase online. A note to Canadian buyers – the online system will not let you purchase due to our alphanumeric postal code. Also, tickets can only be purchased by phone 24 hours in advance. Long story short, once we were ready KP and I headed to the Giants Dugout Store to attempt to purchase tickets that way. We figured if none were available, we would at least take a few pictures outside the park and then continue along the waterfront.
When we arrived at the store, we were excited to learn that tickets were still available – hooray! We were plenty early, so we purchased two tickets and then went to find a coffee shop to hang out at for an hour or so. Coffee shops that were open in this area were hard to come by, but we did stumble upon Town’s End Restaurant and Bakery where we shared a breakfast. It was actually second breakfast as we had hit up first breakfast at our hostel before leaving, but we knew that between the tour and then finding the clam chowder we were craving, we would not be having lunch anytime soon. I would definitely come back here as the food was delicious and the staff very friendly.
Before long, it was time to head back to AT&T Park for our tour. It is a lovely building, even from the outside.
Within minutes of the start of our tour, KP and I had decided that this stadium was the Best Place Ever. For those of you who don’t know, AT&T Park is the baseball stadium that the San Francisco Giants play out of and it sits right on the water in downtown San Francisco. It is one of the most beautiful venues in professional sport. Our guide, Dan, actually turned out to be a pretty important guy. Apparently they were busy and short-staffed that day, so though his usual job is coordinating the operations of the stadium, he was called in to tour us around. Despite his warnings that he does not normally do tours, he was a great guide. He was able to share all sorts of fun facts and definitely brought us almost everywhere we could want to go (except for the Giants Clubhouse – apparently that is not allowed while in season due to privacy concerns and MLB regulations). Here is a picture of Dan, so you have a good picture of him in your head.
Dan started off with a bit of an overview of the stadium and how it came to be. AT&T Park is the only privately owned major sports facility in the US, and it got this way due to the fact that the city was refusing to build a new stadium for the Giants, and the team was looking at relocating because of this. Now, AT&T Park is owned by Giants Enterprises, which is a collection of individuals who came together to fund the building. Dan made the comment that you can never get anything built with the city involved, especially stadiums. Being from Edmonton, I definitely had to agree – our downtown stadium drama has been going on for years! Due to the fact that this venue is privately owned, they actually host a ton of other events throughout the year and have a large staff team taking care of everything to do with the building. Event coordinator at AT&T Park? Hello new dream job!
Dan started the viewing of the facility at the top of the stadium and we worked our way down. Some of the greatest views are definitely from way up in the cheapest seats.
We went through all levels of seating and took photos of the park at far too may angles, as you can see. This sure is a far cry from the Coliseum in Oakland, which KP wrote about here.
We even got to see inside a suite! This one belongs to Tony Bennett. He apparently uses it when he is in town, but it can also be rented out for $7,000 to $12,000 per game. Dan said that this is his favourite suite, though it is the smallest. It looks right over the water as well as the game
We also got to go inside the Visiting Team’s Clubhouse. The room itself was nice, and also included an office for the team’s General Manager, which KP posed inside, as well as a kitchen with an executive chef. Dan pointed out the Atlanta Braves clock on the wall and mentioned that there were many other items throughout the Clubhouse that had all been gifts from other teams in the league over the years.
But the very best part of the entire tour was that we got to go right down onto the field. Dan warned us against stepping on the grass, but we had free reign on the shale and in the dugouts. We took A LOT of pictures.
Dan was very serious about not stepping on the grass, but look, what rebels! Our shadows are on the grass!
After an hour and a half of magical time spent touring the Best Place Ever, we wandered into the Giants store. I really wanted an AT&T Park souvenir, but I didn’t want it to be Giants-related. Why is this so irrational? Sadly, I did not find anything – but I’ll always have the memories.
We next headed toward Fisherman’s Wharf, which was a bit of a trek from the pier we were at. We decided this was finally the time. We had been admiring and discussing the rickshaws that were zipping up and down the waterfront, pulled by men on pedal bikes, and this would be our chance to ride one. This was, if you haven’t guessed it, the Best Thing Ever. I won’t go into detail here, as KP has outlined everything for you in her post Walking is for Chumps. Long story short, we loved it.
Our fabulous rickshaw (or pedicab, as they refer to themselves) driver left us at Pier 39 and we walked the rest of the way to Tarantino’s, a restaurant that Rich had recommended to me as having the best clam chowder in a bread bowl. I just love having a local contact that can point me in the right direction to the best meals and places to visit! I had the clam chowder, of course. KP opted for the calamari steak. Both our meals were perfect, and they came with a lovely view!
Next we walked over to the Musee Mecanique, which was another recommendation of Rich’s. It is a building right on the pier that is free to access. Inside, there are hundreds of antique arcade games that you can play for a nickel, dime, or quarter. We wandered around, spending all the change we had.
After spending all of our money there, we continued our walk through Fisherman’s Wharf to Hyde Street Pier, purchasing a few souvenirs along the way. We found a store with giant candy, which was awesome.
We both sunk our feet into the sand and enjoyed the view of the water when we arrived at the base of Hyde Street.
Next we went up to the Black Point Cafe, which I had stopped in at earlier in our trip, and spent some time drinking coffee and hanging out. This cafe is very trendy and has a great atmosphere inside. It is located right across the street from Ghirardelli Square, mere minutes fro Hyde Street Pier on foot.
Once we were done there, we went back to the hostel – KP is covering the story of our journey home in her post as well. We were both pretty tired by the time we arrived back and spent our evening drinking wine and blogging – or drunk blogging, as we like to call it. We bought this lovely bottle of wine across the street without reading the fine print and noticing that it was “Delicately Bubbled”, so the first sip I had was absolutely magical.
We had an early night due to the fact that we were exhausted and also to the fact that the next morning would be an early one. It was a rough day, going to the Best Place Ever and doing the Best Thing Ever. It can sure suck the energy out of you!